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Statement in Response to the Death of George Floyd from the Charlottesville School Board and Superintendent

May 31, 2020

Dear staff, families, and students —

As a School Board and Superintendent, we write today in the midst of national strife as we feel outrage and grief over the senseless loss of George Floyd, the latest Black man to have his life taken by a police officer. Let it be clear, racism and the abuse of power diminish our entire nation and threaten the potential of every Black boy or girl, man and woman.

More than reactively condemning these repeated tragedies, we must work to prevent the next one. We are unafraid and prepared to do unprecedented work to push back against hatred, discrimination, and violence until the misalignment of power and force are reigned in. Equity work in our schools and community demands that we look in the mirror and take further actions to ensure justice and better outcomes for Black students, staff, and families.

Without justice, we will not find true peace or civility. We stand with our brothers and sisters in calling for better protections for our neighbors — and ourselves.

Paraphrasing Dr. King, we know that we have too long ignored injustices or we have tolerated them for the sake of tranquility and status quo. Our nation has allowed a culture of death and despair, which in turn provokes riots. Let us no longer postpone true equity; let us listen to the voices that remind us that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And after listening, let us work toward the social justice and progress that will promote our mutual and interdependent prosperity.

Finally, we want to extend care to all who are experiencing anger, heartbreak, fear, and trauma as they process Mr. Floyd’s death, knowing that it could have been or could one day be their own husband, uncle, brother, cousin, son, grandson, or student. We remind you that our schools and our community offer resources for coping. Please see below or visit our website for links and telephone numbers.

Have a good night and take care.

Dr. Atkins, Superintendent
Jennifer McKeever, School Board Chair

Resources:

  • Everyone, especially those in need of urgent care: Region Ten
    Need immediate counseling? If this is an emergency, call 911. Otherwise, you can call Region Ten at any time at 434-972-1800 or 1-866-694-1605 for help or more information.
  • Students: school counselors — send them an email to set up a time.
  • Staff: Employee Assistance Program — visit https://uvafeap.com/
  • Resources for Talking with Children about Race (compiled by Charlottesville City Schools Counselors in August 2017)