Dear Members of our School Communities:
The events of this weekend were tragic beyond words, and as such events always do, they extracted a heavy price. A wonderful young lady was taken from us. Two brave and devoted public servants also lost their lives. Many of our neighbors suffered injuries and trauma, and all of us are sharing in the pain.
One national television reporter asked how Charlottesville will now feel to have its name linked in memory to other cities and towns across our country that have suffered from unspeakable crimes against humanity.
How will we feel and what will we do?
The memory of this weekend’s events should survive as a community that responded forcefully in overcoming the darkest impulses of those who traffic in hatred, intolerance, and brute force.
The message from Charlottesville to our nation must be stronger than ever before—that we are a community that values the safety of every person, the dignity of every resident, the respect of every background, the equality of every opportunity, and the strength of every collaboration that promotes the common good.
As they should be, the values of our communities are found in our public schools. Our schools, after all, are the source of our greatest dreams and aspirations for our children. It is where we learn about the power of ideas, the importance of history, the strength of community, and the right of every child to reach their highest potential.
Our schools are where we make acquaintance with civic responsibility. The work we do in our schools must always bring to life our nation’s most sacred promise—“to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
There is no room in this sacred promise for hatred, racism, violence and intolerance.
The answer to the question from the national media about how Charlottesville will be known is that we will be known as the community that rededicated itself to the promise of America and to those ideals that define our nation’s highest calling.
We will be known as a community whose teachers and staff will continue to do what the best educators always have done—stand tall in modeling these American ideals in their work every day.
Dr. Rosa S. Atkins, Superintendent
Mr. Juandiego R. Wade, Board Chair
Charlottesville City Schools
Dr. Pamela R. Moran, Superintendent
Dr. Katherine L. Acuff, Board Chair
Albemarle County Public Schools