Statement from Orange County Superintendent, Dr. Monique Felder
June 2, 2020
Dear Orange County Schools Community —
When I first joined the Orange County Schools family, I made a commitment to our school district: we would focus on equity, excellence and access for all students. Our work is essential for creating safe, welcoming, inclusive and supportive environments where all children can reach their full potential.
Today, part of that commitment is acknowledging and denouncing the racism and racial injustice we see and experience in our country. These past few weeks, all we’ve had to do is turn on the TV to see yet another story of discrimination and sensless death. We’ve learned George Floyd’s name, Breonna Taylor’s name and Ahmaud Arbery’s name for all the wrong reasons.
As a mom of three and a grandmother of five, as a former teacher and principal, as a black woman myself, I understand how scary this time has been. I understand the anger, the frustration, the pain. And it breaks my heart.
I want to make a promise to you right now. We will not stand silently while such tragedies occur.
It is our job as leaders (we are all leaders regardless of our role) and as a district to acknowledge the hate we’re seeing, to denounce it and to give our students the safe space they need to work through the trauma.
All children, yes — but our work is especially important in supporting our black and brown boys who see these savage acts through a lens of horror, fear and sadness.
Our district will not tolerate our students feeling unsafe in their own skin. Every single one of our students deserves a future untainted by the byproducts of racial injustice. As a school district, it is essential that we help secure this future for our students.
Now, more than ever before, we have to be committed to equity, excellence and access — and to a school district where all means ALL.
So I want to reaffirm our commitment to you. Our schools and our classrooms serve as gathering places for students from all races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities and identities. Their very diversity is the power and strength of our district and of our community. How they learn will determine the future of Orange County, North Carolina, the country and the world. What we do as those entrusted to care for and educate our students matters. And we do not take this responsibility lightly.
I know that by taking steps toward equity every day, we can ensure our students feel safe and supported. We can begin building the world we WANT our children to grow up in, together.
Dr. Monique Felder