Dear AMS Community,
It has been a tough few weeks for the Albany community. I very much appreciated all of the good input we had from parents, teachers, and students at our community meeting and I will be sharing out the ideas from that as soon as we are done compiling them. I look forward to engaging with you in the important work ahead.
I am writing now because I need you to be aware that we are seeing an uptick of racist and other biased behavior at AMS. There have been a few racist comments between students brought to our attention this week, one incident of a student drawing a swastika in class, and racist graffiti in our bathroom today. For each incident (except the graffiti where we are still trying to identify who did it), we are working with each student and reaching out to each parent.
The first time a student says something racist, they are required to do an education piece related to the comment they made. They engage in reading on the topic and have a guided written reflection that they complete. They additionally have to face the other student and make amends. If it happens again, we take these same actions and the student is also suspended. If it were to continue, it escalates from there. What we are trying to do is to give students the opportunity to learn so that educated and empathetic adults are developed, but at the same time send a clear message that that does not fly here.
I wanted you to be aware of what is happening here. We have been working over the last three years to continue to grow our programs and lessons that help to deepen students knowledge, understanding and empathy around these topics. We have also been working to diversify our teaching staff and hire more teachers of color. We remain committed to addressing hate speech in our school; it has no place here. Clearly much work is still ahead of us.
Know that you are welcome to reach out to talk about your perspective on any of these issues.
Deborah Brill, Principal
Albany Middle School
1259 Brighton Ave.
Albany, CA 94706