Dear Granite School District Families,
Over the last week, many parents and employees from across the district have shared their concerns with me regarding the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. I am reminded of holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel’s warning about remaining silent:
“When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy….wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at the moment – become the center of the universe.”
I was born only five years after my mother immigrated to this country, having fled her home twice – once when it was reduced to rubble by bombs and once for political reasons. I was born here in America and served in the United States Army, including a deployment in Europe during Desert Storm. I am fiercely patriotic and a loyal citizen of the United States. My own story is not very different from many people across our great country, including many here in our school district.
Part of my pride in the United States is our fundamental constitutional commitment to provide equal protection to all under the law. It is unlawful and inappropriate for children in schools to be treated differently from other children on the basis of status of any kind. There is no such thing as “our kids” and “their kids” or “those kids.” All kids are “our kids.”
More importantly, I am concerned that any of our students, and in particular at this time, our African American students, have feelings of discomfort or danger. We have made many strides over the years to create a safe learning environment and are committed to providing the services all of our students need to be successful.
I continue to call on all of our employees, teachers, and administrators to let no student feel that they are somehow second class or at risk of losing something because of their race, national origin or any other status. We have a unique opportunity in the history of our nation to be able to listen and offer empathy and understanding to those who unnecessarily suffer. We will provide needed strength and assistance through the power of education and we are committed to be bold and creative in this effort.
I encourage parents, patrons and community members to do likewise.
For any help or assistance with your child’s education, please do not hesitate, even during the summer break, to reach out to your principal directly, or to the district itself at 385-646-5000.
Thanks for your continued help and support.
Dr. Martin W. Bates, Superintendent