From: Mrs. Ramona Tyson, Superintendent
Date: June 3, 2020
Subject: Superintendent Statement on Race Relations
Dear DeKalb County School District Community,
The safety and well-being of all DeKalb County School District students and employees remains a top priority. I am deeply troubled by the racist comments made by some of our students on social media. We are a diverse school district and celebrate that diversity in every way. These posts do not reflect the culture of DCSD. Racist comments, videos, photos and such will not be tolerated.
This nation finds itself at another crossroad. We have seen in the past weeks, months, years and decades how racism and intolerance have blighted the Black community and other communities of color. The most recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have pierced the hearts of many, all while we do our best to stay well during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our students need to know the history of racism and why, to this day, people are fighting for freedom.
DeKalb County School District is very proud of the diversity in our community. We do not need to lose sight of this important attribute because of the actions of a few. Whether face to face or on social media, there is no place for hate in DCSD. It is completely unacceptable and we hold the line of a zero tolerance of such behavior.
To encourage understanding and acceptance of differences among students and staff, DCSD has implemented programs including My Brother’s Keeper and My Sister’s Keeper, School Counselor and Social Work guidance sessions focused on diversity, positive peer relations and decision making, The Bullying Stops Here—anti-bullying campaign, Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) in schools, high school voting drives and town halls. DCSD has also facilitated external collaborations with the Anti-Defamation League and DeKalb County Government 2020 Census Count Committee. However, I realize that this new normal will require a “deeper dive” than what we have done in the past. This includes a more intentional focus on training, culturally significant programming, and awareness for teachers and staff, as well as educational opportunities for students and open dialogue.
I recommend that you use this challenging time to speak about the seriousness of racist beliefs and hateful language. Please review the student social media guidelines to assist with online etiquette: https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/social-media-guidelines/.
You can also review the DCSD Student Code of Conduct here for more information on practices and school discipline: https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/parents/code-of-student-conduct-review/.
Superintendent Ramona Tyson