Submitted by Orleans/Niagara BOCES
The 14 local school superintendents of the districts comprising the Orleans/Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services would like to add to the conversation regarding the protests and reform movements that have occurred across the nation over the last several weeks.
These events can be complex when combined and viewed together. However, they are much simpler when separated and looked at individually. Specifically:
•Police brutality, like that committed by a police officer on Mr. George Floyd, was reprehensible, criminal, and should never happen in our country, or anywhere in the world. People are born with the natural right to be free from racism and injustice.
•Peaceful protest and the right to peacefully assemble is not only a constitutional right, but also one of the important rights that separate us from totalitarian states. It is a way for the people of a democracy to say we need change. At the core of this particular protest is the belief that all people in this country have the right to equal treatment, which we consider a universal right.
•The violent acts against citizens and law enforcement, the looting of shops and restaurants already struggling from the pandemic, is wrong and criminal and should not be tolerated nor promoted.
We believe public education is, and has been, a place where tolerance and kindness are learned, practiced and valued. We must continue to make this a part of our regular instruction and look for additional ways to break down barriers that divide us. The challenge is one we accept for all of our students. We look forward to continued engagement with our communities to continually improve the education of the future leaders of society, teach tolerance and mutual respect while seeking equity and equal justice for all, so that the events that led to the protests around the nation never happen again.