Aspen Board of Education: respect and equality for all |

Aspen Board of Education: respect and equality for all

Aspen Board of Education
Guest Commentary

We are heartbroken over the unnecessary and appalling loss of lives in our country at the hands of police officers charged with protecting our citizens. The recent public outcry in response to such events has created a stirring conversation around race and justice in our country.

All of us in the Aspen School District are reminded that our ongoing work to ensure that all children have a place in the world based on who they are and not the color of their skin, is not nearly as close to fruition as most of us thought. We wholeheartedly decry racism that has led to the deaths of far too many people of color. Economic disparity, health-care inequities, and opportunity gaps unfortunately remain part of our national narrative. The killing of innocent men and women simply has to stop. The priority has to be the people. All the people.

​As we grieve the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor — along with the countless others who have experienced violence due to systemic racism — our hearts are heavy. But there is a ray of hope and optimism as well.

James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” We are inspired by the young people who are facing head-on the social injustices that for far too long have been a part of this country. Peaceful protests are incredibly powerful.

As a school district, we see our role as an important one to help our students to learn and grow as a result of current events in our nation. We also see our district as a place for our students and staff members to feel safe and comfortable in a culture where we stand up for respect and equality for all. The Aspen School District is committed to providing a world-class education for all of our students in a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment. We are committed to ensuring that every student has equal access to the district’s educational programs and activities. We are committed to partnering with numerous community organizations to create and sustain an environment that supports educational excellence for each individual student.

Our students and staff members are experiencing a range of emotions, and every one of those emotions is justified. This is a difficult time for our community and our country. We urge our students to reach out to their counselors or other trusted adults if they are struggling for help and support, and they will be guided towards resources that can help. We encourage our staff to take advantage of the wellness options and support provided by our human resources department. We urge every member of our community to listen to one another, to be kind, and to take care of one another. We value your voice and we value your input.

Katy Frisch, Susan Marolt, Jonathan Nickell, Dwayne Romero and Suzy Zimet are the Aspen School District Board of Education