MRH Message to the Community
MRH’s Letter to the Community Regarding Charlottesville, VA
August 23, 2017
A message to our families from Maplewood Richmond Heights School District Superintendent Karen I. Hall, re: Charlottesville, VA
A cozy, idyllic American town, centered around a progressive and welcoming educational institution. A close-knit fabric of schoolmates, parents and guardians, merchants, civic and faith leaders. An entrenched sense of mutual respect, tolerance, and the basic right of all humans to be treated with dignity.
All of these qualities are hallmarks of the cities of Maplewood and Richmond Heights. But they also might describe Charlottesville, Virginia, which, when it isn’t being marauded by those who reject notions of equality, is not unlike the communities in which we live, and that’s what brings the tragedy too close to home.
For many Americans it was unsettling and heartbreaking to witness the images of inequality fueled by brute and unfettered rage, and the unforgivable loss of life. Many are asking themselves, do we shield ourselves and our children from these stark displays of inhumanity or do we stand up on behalf of the oppressed?
The advent of an exciting new academic year provides the perfect opportunity to remind our families that the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District has a long, proud tradition of proactively confronting some of society’s most vexing moral and political issues.
In February, the MRH Board of Education passed a landmark resolution which declared that:
- We believe all people, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sexual orientation and/or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or any other individual characteristic – deserve to be respected and appreciated.
- We seek to overcome the social, cultural, and educational barriers that members of our diverse population may experience through advocacy, community engagement, and professional development.
- We believe we must directly confront issues of diversity and social justice in order to alleviate the inequitable practices and outcomes these issues spawn.
What’s more, MRH applies its four educational cornerstones to not only mold tomorrow’s leaders, but to shape their development in these formative but often turbulent years.
- Scholarship: promoting academic rigor to develop the problem-solvers of the future.
- Leadership: instilling skills that will last a lifetime, including the ability to influence others with positive messages of fairness and equality.
- Stewardship: demonstrating that we are one human family charged with caring for the world which sustains us.
- Citizenship: ensuring that our students grow into adults with strong senses of social justice and cultural awareness.
Fostering a safe atmosphere and promoting open discussion can not happen without swift and unequivocal action to address injustices head-on. Only through a decisive, focused response will we help our students and staff process these difficult events. On this, the cusp of our new school year, that is one of our primary aims: to act now in readiness for the crises of the future.
The MRH community is known nationally as a shining example of inclusiveness and diversity. Together, with our community partners, we can sew up the wounds of embedded injustice in our own backyard and… just maybe… serve as an example for other great American cities such as Charlottesville, Virginia.
Our very mission says it all: to “inspire and prepare students as leaders, scholars, stewards, and citizens for a diverse and changing world.”
We are thrilled to have our students and staff back in the classrooms. Here’s to the promise of a new year inspired by the quest for social justice and educational equity.
Karen I. Hall
For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.