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Principal's Messages to the Community -- Racism, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion


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June 23, 2020
 
Dear Campolindo Community:
 
As part of Campolindo’s essential work to build an antiracist school culture and ensure that our students are prepared to address race and racism, the school is developing new curriculum for the fall semester. One component of this curricular initiative is the new Introduction to Ethnic Studies course. Many have recommended making this course mandatory and state legislative leaders are considering this option for all public high schools. As an immediate step, Campolindo is looking to expand the number of sophomores, juniors, and seniors taking Ethnic Studies next year; therefore, the school is reopening the registration option for this course. Ethnic Studies is a semester-long course designed for students in grades 10-12. Students in grade 9 will address race and racism in their World History course. You may learn more about Ethnic Studies and how to request it via the following link: Introduction to Ethnic Studies.
 
Ethnic Studies will be an excellent course; however, the addition of this elective course is only one small step toward establishing an educational program that infuses cultural diversity throughout all classes and teaches students about racial identity, racial consciousness, racism, and white privilege. All students and staff will benefit from this type of educational program. More details about Campolindo’s curricular initiatives will come this summer.
 
For resources on fighting racism, I recommend the following website developed and curated by Ellide Smith, Chair of the Campolindo Parents Club Diversity and Inclusion Committee: Tools for Being an Accomplice Against Racism. This website has excellent resources for students and adults.
 
Thank you for your continued support of Campolindo, especially during a time when we must all actively stand against racism and support equity and inclusion.
 
Sincerely,
 John Walker
Principal

 

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June 9, 2020
 
Dear Campolindo Community:
 
The need for more racial equity efforts at Campolindo was apparent before the release of last week’s video of students making racist comments. The school’s initial investigation into the video indicates that it was made several years ago, but this does not diminish the pain and anger it has brought to our community, especially to students, staff and families of color. Since Friday, additional videos have surfaced with students using racial slurs. This behavior is unacceptable and will be addressed. Administrative discipline for racist behavior is essential, but it will not be sufficient to create the type of positive school culture our students deserve. True racial equity work at Campolindo requires a critical examination of the biases we hold and the inequities we tolerate. I am committed to doing this work and I hope that you will partner with me.
 
The Campolindo staff has engaged in extensive equity work over the past four years and the need to expand our efforts has never been more apparent. The school’s website now includes the recent equity work done at Campolindo and more importantly, it highlights additional steps we must take: Equity Work at Campolindo: An Overview of Current Initiatives and a Commitment to Do More.
 
The comments I am receiving via email are extraordinarily valuable and if you recently sent me an email, I thank you. I apologize if my reply to your correspondence is not as timely as this situation warrants. Many have written expressing strong opinions about school consequences for the students in the videos. As a public school administrator, I must adhere to the California Education Code when issuing disciplinary consequences and I am working closely with my AUHSD supervisors to ensure that the students who engaged in racist behavior receive appropriate school consequences. I am also working to ensure that the recent acts of racism serve as a catalyst to help us move forward on the road toward racial equity.
 
I left last week's protests in Moraga and Lafayette with a deeper understanding of how racism is causing pain and division within our community. Seeing Campolindo staff and students take a leading role at the protests also reminded me that we have a strong school community -- a community that is coming together for the cause of racial justice.
 
Our work for racial equity must deepen and I thank you for being engaged. Please look for additional communications from my office and review the recent updates to the school’s webpage: Equity Work at Campolindo: An Overview of Current Initiatives and a Commitment to Do More. I look forward to partnering with you.
 
Sincerely,
John Walker
Principal

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June 5, 2020
 
Dear Campolindo Community:
 
Earlier today, I learned about a social media post that includes several Campolindo High School students using the N-word in a string of racist comments targeting African Americans. The language and comments in the video are sickening. As the Principal of Campolindo, I am both angry and disappointed that any students in my school would use this type of language. I do not know the details regarding when or where the students made the video; however, the language in the video is reprehensible and will not be tolerated. This type of behavior creates a hostile environment for Campolindo students and staff, especially students and staff of color. 
 
This is not the first time Campolindo students have used racist language to target people of color. I need to do more to address this type of racist behavior at Campolindo, as well as address the systemic racism that exists in the school and broader community. In the midst of a national movement to address racism and racially-motivated violence, this social media post highlights the work that still needs to be done. I am committed to this work and will need to partner with you to ensure that Campolindo and our community are equitable, inclusive, and safe for all.
 
Sincerely,
John Walker
Principal