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6/3/2020 - Joint Letter from Superintendent of Region 15 and First Selectmen of Southbury and Middlebury

seals of region 15, southbury and middlebury

Over the last week it has been difficult not to be upset and troubled about the recent events surrounding the killing of Mr. George Floyd. Now more than ever, we need to come together as a community and as a nation to support one another, to value all those that lend their talents to our communities, and to make sure we are a place where all people feel safe. It is at this time that we need to recognize and ensure that "all means all." Regardless of where you come from or the color of your skin, we are honored that you have chosen to make your home here.

We are dedicated to making the Middlebury and Southbury communities places where all are welcome and our doors are open to all voices; a successful community does not come from only serving the loudest voices or the voices of the many, but also by serving and valuing the voices of the few. We are committed to making our schools and our communities places where the color of your skin will not lessen the service you receive or the respect you deserve. We continue to work together to ensure that ALL students in our schools have equitable opportunities, are able to participate in experiences, and have a safe place to learn. Should you ever feel that is not the case we implore you to contact us so we can hear your concerns.

We have seen, heard, and maybe even experienced the protests, both peaceful and violent, which are currently occurring across the state and nation. We condemn violence of any kind as that makes our community and nation unsafe. While we understand the frustration and anger, violence cannot be the solution. Together we need to create safe spaces that welcome the dialogue needed for change.

We are living in complicated times and it is difficult to have conversations so charged with emotion and confusion, especially when talking with young people. There are resources that can help guide conversations about injustice, hate, and intolerance on the website below. We encourage you to use the resources to have conversations with those around you, to trust one another and help promote compassion and understanding within our communities. www.region15.org/GlobalCitizenship

While we cannot undo the killings of Mr. Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and countless others, we can stand together and make sure our towns and our schools foster a climate of respect and value. We can continue to create a safe environment for all residents of Middlebury and Southbury through our school and community conversations.

Nelson Mandela said, “It is in our hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” We need to hold one another accountable so that our residents will never suffer such a loss. We need to let our actions locally impact a larger narrative, we need to lead by example, we need to let hope, and community drown the voices of hate and fear. We owe this to our residents and especially to our children.

Thank you,

Joshua Smith
Superintendent of School

Jeff Manville 
First Selectman Southbury

Ed St. John
First Selectman Middlebury