KCKPS Responds to Attacks on Our Democracy

January 7, 2021

Dear Staff,
Many of us watched in disbelief as American citizens stormed the Nation’s Capitol to vandalize and trespass as a way to voice their objection to the presidential election results. Both houses of Congress went into lockdown as protestors breached security and entered the building. The unprecedented event in Washington D.C. has re-ignited conversations about our nation’s stability, the current political climate, racism and discrimination, and the importance of leadership. Many people are left wondering where do we go from here.

The Board of Education, administration, and staff at KCKPS share these concerns as well. We are all human and have feelings. Therefore, we want to ensure that we provide staff, students and their families a safe place to share their feelings and thoughts on how the recent event impacts them. Let it be clear that we, the Board of Education, the Superintendent, and Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, condemn violence, racism, discrimination, and the mob attack on our Nation’s Capitol and our democracy.

KCK is a diverse and hardworking community that understands the importance of working together to achieve positive outcomes. The events that we all watched on television is not who
we are as a nation and surely is not who we are in our local community. As the late Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s (woman’s) sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.”

Our students live in a politically challenged world. So, there is no better time than now to continue to remind our students, parents, and families about the importance of talking to one another and respecting other’s views that are different from our own. As educators, we are responsible for teaching our students how to engage in discussions, whether political or otherwise. Debate teaches critical thinking and research skills and engages students in a way that expands their understanding of the world. We have so many talented students who use these very kinds of skillsets during debate class. Civic education is another subject that provides a positive platform for students to learn about our democratic form of government.

Violence is never the answer to solving issues or disagreements of any kind. Neither is resorting to a comfortable place of silence due to the fear. Together, we can continue to create a safe learning environment and school community where students, teachers and administrators feel comfortable exchanging ideas while engaging in respectful discussions of current events. Societal problems affect more than just the adult population. Students and schools often experience the aftermath of these social and global challenges. The District has a Care Line for anyone who needs support coping with feelings of sadness, anxiety or grief. The Care Line number is 913-954-0219.

Remember, we are not alone and are all linked together in so many ways. So, let’s continue to be present and available for one another as we all collectively support critical dialogue with students and each other.

Randy Lopez
Randy Lopez
President, Board of Education

Dr. Miguel portrait

Dr. Alicia Miguel
Interim Superintendent of Schools

Posted January 8, 2021

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