I realize as I write this letter that there are no words to adequately describe the great sadness that has overcome our community recently. But more than sadness, our community is full of rage, despair, confusion and fatigue amid the realization that violence against Black and Brown people still occurs both in the shadows and in broad view. And in this, I join you in mourning the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the list of countless others who were slain before them. Together, we decry injustice, oppression, and racism.
As a black male, I know too well that society often prejudges others on their differences. And, now as a father of two young girls, the senseless murders of black people across our country further exacerbates my own concerns for my daughter’s safety and well-being. Other parents share similar hopes that what the most privileged are able to provide their own children becomes the gold standard for all. I get it.
As Superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools district, I am committed to working in solidarity with you to dismantle a culture that allows systemic racism and injustice to flourish. That task is not an easy one, but change is needed and it is needed now. In this tragic and telling moment actions always speak louder than words alone. To guarantee more action, I have asked our school administrators to work with their faculty to outline new initiatives, new programs, and more dialogue so our school district becomes even more of a community of affirmation and a place where we all feel complete and valued. I lean on you—the young people of our school district—to offer your immediate ideas and actions that can help us ask the critical questions and push us to envision a better school district, a better community.
I am so proud of you. Your resolve not to give up but to work hard to bring about the social change that our society desperately needs, and you undoubtedly deserve. I hope each of you continues to support each other and be even committed to better self-care. You are our future and best hope for building a better and just world.
Dr. Charles Foust
Superintendent of Schools
Posted June 2, 2020