Fern Ridge School District Colleagues and Families,
Over the past week we have observed our nation react to the senseless death of George Floyd while in police custody. While this event didn’t take place here locally, it is certainly felt everywhere and by everyone, including our local law enforcement that care about our community. Everyone in the Fern Ridge School District stands with people of color that make up our students, staff, and families. While our thoughts are with our entire community, they are especially with those who are most affected by the recent news and events. While it is impossible for many of us to fully understand what it is like to live in a world where racism exists, and how that manifests itself in the daily experience of the communities that experience it, know that all of us in Fern Ridge stand with you.
As a district, we stand by our mission to “Provide excellence for every student”. In recent years, staff have had extra training on supporting students that have experienced trauma and the implicit biases that we all have. In partnership with some excellent Lane ESD staff, we have started Black Student Unions at both the Middle and High School to afford our black students an opportunity to discuss challenges they are presented with and to problem solve solutions. Having said that, it is clear we must do more. For example, as a rural community it has been difficult to hire staff that look like all of our students. How different and disheartening must it be for our students of color to attend school every day, for 12+ years, yet rarely if ever have an instructor that looks like them? Schools are to be a safe place for all students, and we have both an obligation and a unique opportunity to ensure we graduate students that prioritize kindness and equity in all of their interactions.
I look forward to a future when communications like this are not necessary, as I certainly know I am growing weary of seeing our country torn apart by injustices, just as many of you are.
To our families of color, we stand ready to support you any way that we can. You are invited to talk with us about your experiences within our school system, or the experiences of your children at any time.
Gary E. Carpenter, Jr. Superintendent, FRSD 28J
In stressful times, parents can help children feel safe by openly discussing issues that are impacting them. Below are some links to resources that some may find useful at this time: