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Responding to the Acts of Hate in Pittsburgh

October 29th, 2018

The following message was sent from HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano to the full HCPSS community on Monday, October 29, 2018:

This past Saturday, I was horrified to learn of the tragic shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed at least 11 people and wounded several others. Too often, we find ourselves reading headlines and viewing harrowing images of senseless violence and examples of hate across all corners of our nation. While the impact on the immediate victims is monumental, the effects reach people living well beyond the communities in which these acts occur.

As I watched the news in disbelief, I found that my emotions evolved from shock and horror, to anger, and then concern. We no longer live in a world where we can shelter the innocent minds of our children from the events in our world. We are interconnected by technology and no matter how many miles away these events may occur, our children will read the headlines, see the images and be impacted.

Today, my immediate concern is for the welfare of our students, staff members and families of Howard County. I worry that the people in our schools and communities won’t reach out for the supports they need to help them cope. I urge parents and family members to speak with their children about what they may be feeling and encourage them to seek supports at school that are available any time during the school day.

On our website, you will find resources for talking to your child after traumatic events, including an anti-discrimination policy and a policy to ensure safe and supportive schools. Additionally, your school has dedicated staff members and resources available to support your child. Please encourage your child to take advantage of these people to talk about their concerns and help them through a time that could be causing high stress, anxiety and worry.

Our commitment to inclusive communities and equitable access to resources is critical in situations such as this when any number of our 58,000 students across our 77 schools could be suffering and in need of supports.

As a system, we will continue to stand up strongly in defiance of hate and intolerance, as seen in our response to denounce the hateful graffiti found on one of our school campuses. In order to eradicate hateful acts and intolerant language from our schools and community, each and every person must play an active role.

Thank you for all that you do at home to provide for your child so they are ready to thrive academically and socially when they come to school each morning. Please know we are here to support you.