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Unrest in Our Nation's Capital and the Work in Our Schools to Unite
Posted 1/6/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community, 

It’s been an extremely difficult day for our country as the US Capitol was breached by protestors who interrupted Congress's process to certify President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college win. To me, it feels like an unprecedented attack on our American democracy; I am shocked and scared to think about the implications. 

I struggled if I should even write to you. Today’s events reflect a nationwide crisis that is so much bigger than us and our schools. Even still, I cannot quiet the urge to use my own privilege and position of leadership to fully condemn the behavior. Just prior to the election, I shared that we are fortunate to live in a country where we can cast our vote for the people and ideas that best represent us, while also appealing to all of us to work together regardless of the outcome of the election. It is very upsetting to now see the disgraceful disruptions to our cherished democratic process. 

As today’s events unfolded, I couldn’t help but wonder how our students might be feeling. The flowing images of the unrest in our nation’s capital are unsettling and may be frightening for some, regardless of where they may lie on the political spectrum. I want our students to know that our schools are a safe space and a place for support and they should feel comfortable asking questions and expressing their thoughts, concerns or fears. I recognize they often turn to our teachers and staff for guidance during these difficult times. With that in mind, I want to specifically speak to our teachers: I know that today’s events add to your anxiety and to your already more-than-full plates. I have been astonished by your versatility and strength over the past year, and today my admiration for all of you has only grown. 

Below are some resources that may be helpful as we all have conversations over the next few days. I also encourage all of us to take a balanced approach to media consumption and to prioritize your own well being - physically and emotionally. 

I believe this is a moment for our students to reflect and learn from what we are experiencing nationwide. The COVID pandemic has exhausted all of us. It’s also tested the way we choose to cope with adversity - a fundamental skill that we try to instill in our students. When we see adults not able to self regulate at the national level, it reinforces for me how important the work we are doing at our schools is to teach empathy, compassion, social emotional competencies, and yes, losing with grace. 

So while wrestling with the chaos of today, I am comforted by our collective work at SRCS. I firmly believe the community we have built together and the values we hold in high regard as a District - community, equity and joy - reflect the best of who we are as a country. There is real strength in that, and together we will continue our shared work of sending our students out into the world where they will lead a more just and inclusive future.

Sincerely,

Jim Hogeboom
Superintendent