Dr. Glass’ Commitment to Serve

Just a few moments to talk about and reflect on the message sent out by Dr. Jason Glass and Jeffco Schools in response to the tragedy in Charlottesville.

We are grateful the Dr. Glass’ and the district’s rapid response to what we all watched unfold in Charlottesville. We appreciate the reassurance to our students, parents and families that our schools are and will continue to be a safe place.

“Let me begin by stating, unambiguously, every one of our public schools is a safe place for all children and students in our community. This commitment to serve and welcome all is at the core of public education’s moral purpose.”

Stating strongly and plainly that “acts or expressions which threaten any student’s right to enter one of our schools, to feel safe, and to have the opportunity to learn will not be tolerated”.

Acknowledging we are all connected, and in this age of social media and immediate gratification and sharing of information, as much as we might desire, we will not be able to keep what happened in Charlottesville something our students aren’t aware of and talking about.

“Our schools are not disconnected from our community or the nation. Discussions and feelings about the violence in Charlottesville, VA and the subsequent reactions around the country, will make their way into our schools – whether we are ready for them or not. As we have done when other tragedies present themselves, we will work to ensure we meet the social/emotional needs of students impacted by this event. “

We understand, too, one way to prevent similar events like in Charlottesville is to make sure we use it as an “opportunity to engage students in an authentic and timely learning experience on issues relating to free speech, tolerance, race, leadership, and historical context. “

One of the many reasons our professional educators, the teachers in our classrooms are so very valuable. Their training and professional has prepared them for these difficult discussion.

“We entrust our classroom teachers and building principals to make professional decisions about the age-appropriateness of these discussions…”

We agree and appreciate Dr. Glass’ recommendation that we all take the time to make sure we have talked with our children, and reassured them so they feel safe.

“We encourage you to consider speaking with your family about these matters, considering your own family values and context.”

 

If you have not seen the entire statement, the full text is included below:

Dear Jeffco community, families, and students, 

The events in Charlottesville, VA and what they mean for our country going forward weigh heavily on many of us. The purpose of this memo is to address how Jeffco Public Schools will respond to this event in terms of the operation of our schools – and how we can use this as an authentic learning experience for our students. 

Let me begin by stating, unambiguously, every one of our public schools is a safe place for all children and students in our community. This commitment to serve and welcome all is at the core of public education’s moral purpose. 

As Americans, we value and cherish the right to speak our minds as guaranteed by the First Amendment. At Jeffco Public Schools, we respect the right of any person or group to, peacefully, express their views and opinions.  

However, acts or expressions which threaten any student’s right to enter one of our schools, to feel safe, and to have the opportunity to learn will not be tolerated and will be subject to applicable district bullying/anti-harassment policies and/or state or federal criminal law. 

Our schools are not disconnected from our community or the nation. Discussions and feelings about the violence in Charlottesville, VA and the subsequent reactions around the country, will make their way into our schools – whether we are ready for them or not. As we have done when other tragedies present themselves, we will work to ensure we meet the social/emotional needs of students impacted by this event. 

While this presents challenges, it also brings the opportunity to engage students in an authentic and timely learning experience on issues relating to free speech, tolerance, race, leadership, and historical context. 

District curriculum and instructional staff have prepared resources to support our teachers in deciding how they will engage with students on this event and related topics. We entrust our classroom teachers and building principals to make professional decisions about the age-appropriateness of these discussions, as well as when and where activities related to this learning might take place. Instruction will be within the Board-adopted content standards and curricula, and will follow the usual district processes related to teaching controversial topics and providing alternative learning activities.  

We encourage you to consider speaking with your family about these matters, considering your own family values and context. 

On behalf of all of us at Jeffco Public Schools, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve your family, and to be part of this wonderful community. 

Kind regards,

Jason E. Glass, Ed.D.
Superintendent & Chief Learner