Dear Whittier Union High School District Community:
In Whittier Union, we believe that demographics must not determine the destiny of our students. We use this mantra to remind ourselves and our students that education is the great equalizer. Regardless of socio-economics, home dynamics, parents' education or profession, race or ethnicity, all of our students have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.
Unfortunately, our students must also go out into a world where all too often their demographics do matter. The recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations have shone a spotlight on these inequalities, especially for our black youth. These demonstrations challenge us to be better. Systemic and societal forces, as well as historical, economic and educational deficits present roadblocks for many of our students. However, we are undeterred.
Every time we witness abuse and death, such as in Minneapolis, we are filled with anger and hurt. Together, we have witnessed what happens when intolerance and racial bias are allowed to fester. As the superintendent of this high school district, I am committed to ensuring our campuses both acknowledge and address these issues.
At Whittier Union, our commitment to equity and diversity is unwavering. We believe these socio-economic factors must be part of the dialogue as we teach our children and prepare them to be our future leaders. We also must acknowledge that at times we as a District and I as a superintendent fall short in reacting to these injustices. We must pride ourselves on knowing our students well and understanding their stories, for it is in their stories that we can gain insight into their experiences and support their success.
As our future leaders, we look to our students, as well as our teachers and staff, to be a part of the change that needs to occur. Whenever anyone in our schools sees or hears acts of racism involving our campuses, we ask that they immediately inform our administration, who are committed to investigating every report. We all need to commit to treating each other with respect and inclusion, scrutinizing attitudes of intolerance, and appreciating and learning from our diversity.
We are grateful to our community for entrusting their children to our hands. We take this responsibility seriously and are committed to earning that trust daily. We are grateful to be part of an organization that promotes equality through education. This is the true ray of hope that provides strength and wisdom to our future generations.
Martin J. Plourde
Published June 16, 2020