March 24, 2021
Dear Franklin Community,
Last night, during the School Committee meeting, we observed a moment of silence as a result of the horrific event last Tuesday in Atlanta where eight people lost their lives in a violent mass shooting. Seven of the eight victims were of Asian heritage and were targeted because of their race. The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has been targeted in the last year because of the hateful stereotyping which blames the AAPI community for the Coronavirus. We acknowledge, as well, that this is part of a longer, painful history of discrimination. We extend our support to all AAPI faculty/staff members and families in our community and across the nation.
We remain committed to honoring and protecting the rights and dignity of all members of our community. As leaders of the Franklin Public Schools, we denounce racism and embrace anti-racist actions. We want to make you aware of the following opportunity. On Thursday, March 25, the Asian American Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be holding a virtual town hall on Anti-Asian Racism:
Last June, we wrote, “Franklin Public Schools remains resolute in its enduring commitment to inclusive and equitable schools. Despite our greatest efforts, we are not immune to incidents of hate and bias. The painful incidents we have also experienced in our community are an affront to our core values. We will not tolerate, accept or condone acts or speech that are hateful, racist, anti-semitic, xenophobic, homophobic, or gender-biased.”
Since June, we have established the Franklin Public Schools Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (D, E, I) Committee composed of students, staff, and administrators from the district, totaling nearly sixty members. This committee is addressing our actions, policies, curriculum, instruction, activities, professional development, and other systems to ensure they are without implicit bias and promote equity and respect for all. This year, the Franklin Public Schools staff engaged in a series of professional development workshops focused on cultural proficiency and practical tools on speaking up against bias and addressing acts of bias in the moment.
We are committed to this work in the future. The proposed FY 22 budget includes funding for the D, E, I Committee’s ongoing work, funding to support an Equity Audit to identify areas of growth for our district, and resources and materials for more culturally proficient literature for our school and classroom libraries. Franklin Public Schools is also proud to join invested community members as part of the Franklin Freedom Team, whose mission is to preserve freedom through unity in the community. The team is reactive, proactive, and retroactive in assessing and addressing hate and bias in the Town of Franklin.
We also want to provide faculty/staff and families with additional information. Many thanks to the MSAA/MIAA, who shared the resources below (originally compiled by the Lexington Public Schools).
Sara Ahern, Superintendent of Schools, on behalf of the Franklin Public Schools Leadership Team
|Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern in a recent School Committee meeting|