The Board of Directors for Highline Public Schools responds to the homicide of George Floyd.
The homicide of George Floyd and subsequent violence across our nation and in our communities have deeply upset all of us serving on the Board of Directors for Highline Public Schools. As we have viewed and heard, Mr. Floyd spent his final moments pleading for his life as an officer held him down and unlawfully pinned him to the ground with his knee. His last words were, “I can’t breathe.”
We are saddened by this loss and deeply disturbed as it continues to reflect the tragic outcomes and impacts of fear, hatred, and systemic and structural racism within institutions. This includes our school district. We have students past and present who have been gasping to breathe in our system, yet oftentimes pinned down and pushed out by beliefs, behaviors, inability, apathy, and blatant avoidance. To echo and underscore Superintendent Enfield’s conviction and commitment, this changes today.
As a board, we have the privilege and responsibility to govern policy, support the superintendent, and hold the system accountable to educate all students. We have an equity policy that explicitly calls us to be an anti-racist organization. We are committed to understanding and delivering on supports that are needed and reviewing/revising measures of accountability.
Today, we lean into the challenge and priority to be an anti-racist institution, understanding that this will be a key lever in eliminating opportunity and achievements gaps. In our district, 77 percent of our students identify as students of color. That is one of the things that makes Highline such a special place; however, we will not celebrate its diversity without fully embracing our desire and responsibility for inclusion, belonging, and justice.
We again acknowledge this current and persistent crisis as a painful reminder of how much more work needs to be done. At the same time, we embrace this opportunity to double our resolve to Our Promise: Every student in Highline Public Schools is known by name, strength and need and graduates prepared for the future they choose.
Lastly, to our Black and African American students and staff: we see you; your life matters; and we support you.
Highline Public Schools Board of Directors
Angelica Alvarez, President
Bernie Dorsey, Vice President
Fa’izah Bradford, Director
Aaron Garcia, Director
Joe Van, Director