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Letter Supporting Our Students of Color
Letter Supporting Our Students of Color
Gregg Palmer
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Dear Brewer School Community,

 On behalf of the Brewer School Committee, I know we all stand with our students and families of color during this difficult moment in our Nation’s history.

If anyone in the Brewer Schools family feels afraid, alone, or unsafe then please know that we will continue to work on your behalf to make Brewer Schools a safe, welcoming, educational home for each and every student. 

I was with one of our lunch crews the other day distributing meals and thought about how emblematic that effort is. We feed any and all students who want a meal on any day, period. There are no litmus tests before handing out nachos or a sun butter sandwich and milk. That's simple and right and, in its own way, beautiful in its absolute truth. Children sing out the windows of their parents’ vehicles, they run up and ask for a meal and laugh and hop and run away to eat their lunch and in those moments, on that day, I thought this is it, how it should be and it should always be so easy to care about one another and embrace our differences as a single family.

And yet we learn, painfully and tragically, that it is not always so easy. Given the images and discussions flooding the airwaves in recent days how could our students, and especially our students of color, not be affected and confused and scared? In this moment I am reminded of the importance of showing up for those who need us most. 

For this reason the Brewer School Department is indeed committed to showing up, to extending simple acts of concern and inclusion into a space where bravery and hope join hands and wrap their arms around our most precious asset  -- our students.

Everyone has worth in the Brewer School Department, everyone has value. While our stock in trade are the lessons and application of reading and writing, mathematics and science, social studies, the arts and physical education and athletics and health and wellness, it is our students themselves who are the lifeblood of our community. As a critical part of the body, our students of color are precious beings who make us whole. Theirs is a gift we can never fully repay. 

None of us can truly walk in another person’s shoes, so we are also committed to humbly learning about our students’ experience in this world in order to grow in our empathy and improve and serve them better tomorrow and the day after that. The tragic death of George Floyd, the peaceful protests that have followed, the rioting are all part of a nation hemorrhaging pain and crying out for healing that cannot be ignored. Our Brewer students stand as innocents at this frightening crossroads, and they look to us to stand watch on their behalf and to help them find truth and salve and to ask the difficult questions and search for the truths they need in order to begin to heal. Which is exactly what we will do. To this end the Brewer School Department has initiated a committee to open a dialogue around diversity work in our schools. 

 We have to make our students of color proud that we did not lose faith, that we did everything in our power to walk this hard path with them, and that when asked, later on, they know why,  because we recognized them for the precious beings they are and because they are in our circle of care. We vow, in the Brewer School Department, to learn from them and to strive to give them the best possible education and to protect them. We are here together for them. Witches. 

Thank you for joining with us in unity in this important work.

 Sincerely,

Gregg Palmer, Superintendent of Schools

 Providing useful resource links:

embracerace

The Conscious Kid

Talking to Children After Racial Incidents

Supporting Kids of Color in the Wake of Radicalized Violence

What to Say to Kids When the News is Scary

Helping Youth After Community Trauma

How to Explain Racism to Kids