Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s Statement on the Atlanta Spa Killings
Below is State Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s statement in response to Tuesday’s shootings at Asian-owned spas in the Atlanta area that killed eight people, most of them of Asian descent.
OLYMPIA — March 17, 2021 — Last night’s attack was senseless, terrifying, and, at its core, a hate crime. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our nation, including our state, has experienced a dramatic increase in crimes targeting Asian Americans. We also continue to see an increase in anti-Semitic as well as anti-immigrant violence and harassment.
These trends are disturbing and, while we want to believe they don’t reflect who we are, they will continue to happen until each of us unequivocally recognizes and denounces the racism and anti-Semitism that drives this violence.
Racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Blackness are ingrained in our society — they are embedded within our institutions, our economy, and even in the way we most often talk about our history as a country and as a state.
We don’t have to accept this! Education, at its best, is the process of transforming injustice to justice, darkness to light, and fear into hope.
Every person living in America should feel safe from discriminatory violence and harassment, and it takes each of us to rebuild our society in that way. At OSPI, we are committed to building our knowledge and leadership for anti-racist policy and implementation across all levels of our K–12 system.
For our schools, this looks like recruiting and retaining more diverse educators and school employees, utilizing social studies and English language arts curricula and materials that are culturally responsive and anti-racist, providing universal access to high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, and building systems that break down barriers and provide comprehensive supports based on individual student needs.
For OSPI, this looks like putting each and every student at the center of our work, making data-driven decisions, leveraging funding streams to make the highest impact where the need is greatest, applying an anti-racist lens to every policy, and doing everything we can to build inclusive school environments that eliminate opportunity gaps.
In our state, every young person has the right to learn, every employee has the right to work, and every family member has the right to engage with our schools free from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin or home country, or other protected class status.
If a student, family member, or school employee in Washington is facing teasing, bullying, harassment, violence, or other discrimination based on their protected class status, they should reach out to their school district’s Civil Rights Coordinator.
For More Information
· For students and families: Discriminatory Harassment and Students’ Rights
· For students, families, and school staff: Complaints and Concerns About Discrimination
· For school districts: Prohibiting Discrimination in Washington Public Schools
· State law protecting public school students from discrimination (Chapter 28A.642 RCW)
· State law protecting against discrimination (Chapter 49.60 RCW)
Anyone who believes a student is experiencing discrimination or discriminatory harassment based on their race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin or home country, or other protected class status may file a formal complaint with their school district or public charter school.
For more information about antidiscrimination protections for students, please contact OSPI’s Office of Equity and Civil Rights at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360–725–6162.