November 11, 2016
Dear HRCSD Community,
We are fortunate to live in a wonderful, supportive and diverse community. In fact, in my three-and-a-half years of living in Hood River, I’ve been struck by your caring, neighborly and giving nature. Our willingness to try to understand one another, to learn from each other, and to honor and celebrate our cultural differences gives me great pride and fulfillment as your school superintendent.
This week’s presidential election has left many of our students and families feeling anxious and afraid. The emotionally charged rhetoric that has characterized the last 18 months of presidential campaigning was incredibly divisive, hurtful and unfortunate.
Whether you are celebrating - or condemning - the outcomes of the election, we must acknowledge that children of all ages don’t always have the skills to cope with stressful situations - especially if the circumstances are perceived to threaten one’s safety, identity or well being.
As a result of the tensions and deep divisions we continue to experience as a nation, we have asked that our professional staff be particularly mindful of students’ feelings right now. Our schools are excellent primarily because they are safe havens for students of all backgrounds to learn and grow. Our teachers and support staff have spent their careers creating the conditions for students to feel valued, capable, and inspired to reach beyond their perceived limits.
Be assured that in the days, weeks and months ahead we will continue to focus on the academic and social growth of our young scholars. I want to take this moment to emphasize that the election outcomes do not change our direction, priorities, mission, or values; in fact, I personally feel more invigorated than ever to ensure our next generations have the knowledge and courage to positively impact the world they will inherit.
Your Hood River County Schools will not waver in maintaining positive, safe, accepting learning environments - places that promote opportunity and learning for each child. We will absolutely intervene on behalf of any of our 4,117 children who is made to feel unsafe or unwelcomed at school. If your student feels overwhelmed or afraid by recent events, please encourage them to talk with a trusted adult at school or at home.
Diversity is one of our community’s many, many strengths. We value all our students and are here to help if you need us.