In Cherry Creek Schools, we are a community of all.
We are a community that values our diversity. We are a community that teaches acceptance and denounces hate, in all of its forms.
This week we discovered multiple incidents of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic language scribbled on the walls of one of our high school bathrooms. This display of hate comes at a time where our country continues to grieve in the aftermath of a deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the murder of two black people at a grocery store in Kentucky. It happened as a deadly school shooting in North Carolina took the life of a high school student. Our condolences go out to the families and friends of all the victims.
I am writing to you today to send a clear message to our community: Cherry Creek Schools will not tolerate hateful speech or actions in any of our schools. This is not who we are. This is not what we value. Our greatest responsibility as a school district is to provide safe and welcoming schools where students of every race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual orientation feel valued and supported. We are working with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the hate graffiti and to find and hold accountable the person responsible. We are grateful for all of our law enforcement partners who work with our schools and our security staff every day to keep our students safe.
I am reaching out to community organizations to partner together as we continue our work to maintain school cultures that value diversity and that teach respect for all people. Students and adults in our schools are deeply engaged in this work through the Office of Inclusive Excellence and through programs such as the ADL’s No Place for Hate and our bullying prevention programs. I applaud this work and thank the many thousands of students and adults in our schools who take a stand against hurtful and hateful actions. In the coming weeks, I will invite school leaders, community partners and students to come together for a conversation about how we can work together to combat hate and promote mutual respect in our schools.
I also thank our parents/guardians for your ongoing commitment to keeping our schools safe. If you see or hear about potentially dangerous behavior or anything that could put students at risk, it is critical that you report it through Safe2Tell, our anonymous reporting tool, online or at 1-877-542-7233. Students can also tell a trusted adult in school if they see concerning behavior.
Let us work together to take a stand against hate and to fight for the values that define Cherry Creek Schools: acceptance, care and respect for diversity.
Dr. Scott Siegfried