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Message from the Superintendent, Nov. 2, 2021: Civility Reminder

November 3rd, 2021

The following statement was issued to Howard County Public School System staff, students, families and community by HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano during the Board of Education meeting Nov. 2, 2021. Read the Superintendent’s full remarks online.

Civility Reminder

We have all been under a huge strain for many months, with the heavy weight of a seemingly endless pandemic piled on by a contentious political environment, natural disasters, and periods of social unrest.

Many are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by stress, fear and conflict, and it’s understandable that nerves are frayed. But what is not acceptable is when people release their angst by lashing out at others. It is particularly disturbing that too many have lashed out at a member of the school health team, a teacher, front office staff, bus driver or other staff member to express their indignation or disagreement about our safety protocols or any number of other issues.

I am greatly dismayed that many dedicated staff members have been the target of verbal abuse and angry emails and social media posts from unhappy parents or community members. Disagreement is acceptable and collaboration with parents is essential to the educational process, but I urge everybody to please refrain from vitriolic language and actions towards our hardworking staff. It is demoralizing and counterproductive to our mission of educating and nurturing students.

Please understand, school health staff, teachers, bus drivers and other staff members are exceptionally dedicated individuals doing their best and working their hardest to nurture, educate and protect students during extremely challenging circumstances. Quite simply, they are heroes, and they deserve our gratitude and respect at all times, even when they must carry out a protocol or practice that someone doesn’t agree with.

Since the start of the school year, we’ve observed that many students are needing to relearn acceptable behaviors and appropriate social skills. Please remember, parents and guardians are our children’s first and most important teachers. Your child is always watching and modeling your behavioral cues. Make sure your actions and words reflect the kind of behavior you want your child to learn.