The following is a statement read by Minisink Valley Board of Education President Joseph Flaherty during the July 30 Board of Education, which was open to the community via Google Meets:
I wanted to take a few minutes before the start of our Board of Education meeting to speak about the recent current events in the media about racism and inequality.
We have received numerous communications asking the district what its opinion has been, on these matters.
As you know, Mr. Monahan issued a special statement on this on June 3. Among his comments were: “Mutual respect, inclusion and acceptance are among the many hallmarks of our school district. Understanding the experiences of others and treating everyone as equals is consistently reinforced in our classrooms. Hateful actions and speech have no place in our society and are never tolerated on our campus. We all have a responsibility to stand up against racism, wherever and whenever we encounter it.”
On June 12, the Orange County School District superintendents issued a joint statement on that as well.
In that statement, these education leaders stressed: “As leaders of your school districts we pledge to work together to continue the conversations on equity, diversity, and inclusion in pursuit of solutions. We will continue to review our practices and procedures to ensure that students in our care have equal access to programs that provide opportunities that allow our children to become the people they dream of becoming. This will include, but will not be limited to all levels of academic programs and special education services.”
The Minisink Valley Board of Education fully supports Mr. Monahan’s statement and the joint statement issued by Mr. Monahan and his colleagues.
To be clear: The Minisink Valley Board of Education stands resolutely against all acts of racism, discrimination, and in solidarity with students, administrators, faculty, staff and families of all races, ethnic origins, religious beliefs and sexual orientations and against the brutal injustices any and all may have suffered. We will continue to confront racism wherever and whenever it exists.
As a reminder, hateful actions and speech have no place in our society and are never tolerated on the Minisink Valley campus. There is zero tolerance for this on our campus.
Our Cultural Diversity Committee, with membership comprised of district students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members is dedicated to providing guidance to the district on this important issue. While it has been difficult to meet in-person during the recent three-month school closure, this board knows this committee’s important work continues. I am inviting this committee to meet with us at a mutually convenient time, so they can share their good work with us.
Please know this board supports Minisink Valley’s commitment to character education, being positive change agents and supportive of the district’s core values that every Minisink Valley student…and their families… matter.