ASD Superintendent emails letter to parents addressing race and racism

Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 9:15 PM AKDT
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Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop sent a letter to parents and ASD staff addressing race and racism, discussing how it can affect students.

"Race is a social construct we are taught from birth," Bishop says.

She writes, "Race influences how we live, who our friends are, the quality of our health, the schools we attend, the careers we have, and all too often, how much money we make."

Bishop referenced the killing of George Floyd and the greater meaning of being black in America stating, "as a person on this earth, I must see race. Otherwise, I will be incapable of listening, learning, and leading."

To help with safety in schools, Bishop notes ASD currently utilizes the School Resource Officer (SRO) program.

Bishop says the goal of SRO is to "develop a professional but human connection with both the students and staff, connections which are critical to building a foundation of mutual trust."

She says the role of the SRO on campus is not to police the school hallways, as "our principals do that work as needed,” according to Bishop.

ASD parent Andrea Reynolds spoke out at Tuesday night’s Anchorage School board meeting addressing Bishop’s email.

“Seems like it was a very whitewashed type of statement that she made,” Reynolds said. “She discusses race, but she doesn’t really talk about culture. I want to know why the school board has known that it has been evident so long for black and brown students to not be as adequate as white in their experience, why there hasn’t been something implemented to even that out far before this statement,” Reynolds inquired.

Here is the

that was sent out to parents on Friday, June 14.

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