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Community Message Regarding Anti-Asian Racism - March 17, 2021

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March 17, 2021

 

Dear Orange County Schools Community--

As shared previously, when I first joined the Orange County Schools family, I made a commitment to our school district: we would focus on equity, excellence and access for all students. Our work is essential for creating safe, welcoming, inclusive and supportive environments where all children can reach their full potential. 

Today, part of that commitment is acknowledging and denouncing the targeted and senseless murders of 8 people, most of whom were Asian American women, in Georgia this week. While we don’t yet know the motive, what we do know is that increased and unchecked anti-Asian rhetoric during the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled anti-Asian racism. There has been a sharp rise in attacks on Asian Americans in the United States, particularly elderly people, across the country. This behavior is abhorrent and unacceptable. As a learning community, we cannot stand silently while such tragedies occur.  

Equity and respect are core values of Orange County Schools. We expect all students and staff to embrace these values and celebrate the diversity of our community. Our district will not tolerate any of our students feeling unsafe in their own skin. Every single one of our students deserves a future untainted by the byproducts of racial injustice. Their very diversity is the power and strength of our district and of our community. 

We have to remain vigilant in our commitment to equity, excellence and access--and to a school district where all means ALL. Our schools and our classrooms serve as gathering places for students from all races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities and identities.  Please continue to remind students that if they experience or witness bullying or harassment, they should tell a school staff member or other adult immediately. I remain confident that we can work together to create safe spaces for all students. Below are several helpful resources.

In closing, we must continue taking  steps toward equity every day in order for our students to feel safe and supported.  Thank you for your continued efforts with doing so and with helping to build the world we WANT our children to grow up in, together. 

In service to children,

Monique Felder, Ph.D.

Superintendent