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Superintendent Cassellius Message to the BPS Community - January 7, 2021

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January 7, 2021

Dear Boston Public Schools Families:

Yesterday was a sad day in American history. What happened in our nation’s capital was an unquestionable attack on our democratic values. We all watched the horror unfold over the course of the afternoon and prayed for a peaceful outcome. Amidst the violence, four people unnecessarily lost their lives in the violent attack. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and we are thankful to all who risked their lives to protect our leaders and staff in Congress.

It was yet another difficult day in what has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us. As adults, we have been horrified and appalled by multiple violent events and public injustices in recent months and years. Our children are also seeing these images of violence, and are unfortunately witnessing a very divided country and doing so while also carrying the tremendous burden and losses associated with this global pandemic which has turned their lives upside down.

Our educators and staff are committed to cultivating a safe, welcoming, inclusive learning and working environment. I appreciate their work today to comfort and support our students and provide opportunities for them to ask questions, share their thoughts, and express their concerns. I encourage you to have these thoughtful discussions with your children. The National Association of School Psychologists developed a list of tips for teachers, parents, and caregivers for talking to students about violence and any fears they may have. This resource is available in multiple languages, which can be found at the bottom of the webpage.

This isn’t the first time our democracy has been tested. It will emerge even stronger, as it has before. We cannot allow hateful rhetoric and racist ideologies to continue to rip apart the fabric of what makes our country great. Yesterday’s acts of domestic terrorism were meant to seed hate, fear, and distrust into our institutions. We will not let them win. I was heartened to see Congress resume and the nation continue to stand tall, and for all to see across the world that this behavior will not be tolerated, condoned, or minimized. It is not who we aspire to be as Americans and we must live into the values and promises given to all of us, as written in the Constitution, that we all have basic human rights to freedom, justice, and liberty.

We will stand even more united and resolved to not only protect our democracy but to actively work toward a more perfect union. We must create a fairer nation that honors and puts first our shared humanity. We want a country where all are welcome, where differences are celebrated, where culture is honored, and where every child sees their full worth and the value within themselves. Our children deserve nothing less.

Thank you for your continued partnership. Stay safe and healthy.

Brenda Cassellius Signature
Dr. Brenda Cassellius