Speaking Up Against Hate

March 19, 2021

Dear KLSD Community,

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, I spoke to the horrific murders that took place in Atlanta, GA earlier this week. As we know, 8 people were killed, and another person was critically injured. Of the 8 killed, 6 were of Asian descent. While there is debate about the motive of the killer, there is no debate that this event is one of many in the past year that marks a dramatic increase in crimes directed at Asian Americans and people of Asian descent. It’s important that we recognize and confront the fact that many more of our fellow citizens are now living in fear simply because of who they are, because of their ethnicity and their race.

This most recent rise in crime parallels, to some degree, the journey of the pandemic and the narrative around it. In the last year, we were confronted with misinformation about the origins of the coronavirus, unfounded conspiracy theories, and repeated use of offensive racial slurs to label the virus. We are painfully reminded that the language we use can and does breed hate.

As a school district, we are committed to helping our students learn to use language thoughtfully and accurately. We teach them through daily lessons and, importantly, by our modeling.  When we hear or see hurtful language or behavior, we speak up. We stand up for truth rather than misinformation, for compassion and understanding, and, of course, we stand against hate.

We will continue working towards an environment that is welcoming to every person. One in which every student knows they are seen and cared for. One that helps all believe that their potential is great and their future bright.

The Katonah Lewisboro School District condemns in the strongest possible terms all forms of bigotry, discrimination and hatred. Our deepest sympathies go to the families impacted in Georgia this week and to those throughout the country who live in fear. We stand with you.  

Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools