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Letter to District 219 Community (6/3/20)

Dear District 219 School Community,

Our country and our community are reeling from the senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other recent events that underscore the ongoing scourge of racism in our nation. We are concerned about the effect this is having on our students, their families, and on our staff members. We are concerned about everyone in our school family, but particularly, the members of our Black community.

As leaders in Niles Township High School District 219:

  • We condemn any form of racism.

  • We condemn any form of hatred.

  • We condemn any form of brutality.

  • We know that Black lives do matter.

We recognize that we are fortunate to be part of a community as diverse as Niles Township, yet at the same time, the recent events clearly call our attention to how our Black community must navigate life in order to succeed, be recognized, or to simply try to feel safe. Unfortunately, what our students see is racism and hatred.

At District 219, we are strongly committed to equity in our district and the painstaking work to eliminate systemic racism in our school system. There is no doubt that we have much work to do and strengthening our commitment as anti-racists is the first of many steps. Our children, families and staff need to be seen, heard and not marginalized. In our country, the Black community is suffering from a long and painful history of racism, oppression and brutality. Our children not only deserve, but have a right to a better future. Our children need to be able to freely live their lives. Our Black children and community do matter to us, and they should not have to live in fear.

Our students have been out of the normal routines of regular school since March 13, 2020. As a result, we have not been able to play an instrumental role in their healing process. They have not been with us so we can hear their voices. We truly miss our students and look forward to when they can be safely back with us.

Moving forward, there is much healing to be done for our students and community. We look forward to working together to support our students, each other, and our community.

Dr. Steven Isoye
Superintendent of Schools

Dr. La Wanna Wells
Director of Equity

Dr. Karen Ritter
Niles West High School Principal

Dr. James Edwards
Niles North High School Principal