A message from PCPS Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd:
“In the days since the incomprehensible and inexcusable killing of George Floyd, our nation has experienced upheaval and heartbreak, yet I continue to find hope where I always do: in our children.
For the first time in our nation’s history, Americans of all races and ethnicities, ages, religions and socioeconomic statuses are coming together to demand change. We are speaking with one voice, and we are delivering a united message: We will no longer tolerate racism, in any of its many hurtful forms, in our society.
Polk County Public Schools condemns racism, stereotyping, prejudice and social injustice. We are committed to creating learning and working environments that celebrate all ethnicities, races, colors and origins. We strive to ensure students and employees are treated equally and with the respect that all humans deserve. We promote diversity and tolerance, and we intervene swiftly and thoroughly when our students and employees fail to uphold those values.
I am proud of my school district, but the events of recent weeks have shown us all that we must do more. We cannot simply condemn racism, we must take action to stop it.
What can we do as an educational institution? We can teach our children about the atrocities of the past and ready them to lead this country into a new era of true equality.
I have directed staff members in our Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships, Equity and Diversity, and Teaching and Learning departments to work together on an innovative project.
This summer, we will conduct research and interviews with members of our diverse community. We’ll capture their stories and create a new, unique educational resource that we’ll use to teach about local racial issues — and inspire our children to continue striving for equality.
Additionally, staff in our Equity and Diversity department are leading an expansion of our existing diversity and sensitivity training so that our employees can better support and model positive, inclusive behaviors.
I encourage our parents and employees to join us in our efforts. Talk to your children — and to one another — about racism, its damaging effects, and how working together, we can promote inclusivity.
Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream that his four children would one day live in in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I believe we can still make that dream come true — and we’ll do it one heart, one mind, one child at a time, through the power of education.”
Jacqueline M. Byrd
Superintendent, Polk County Public Schools