Help Students Learn to Act Peacefully Against Racism

Brian McDonald, Ed.D.

By Brian McDonald
PUSD Superintendent

Last week’s death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody shows us that the deep-seated biases that have existed in our country continue. To fix the persistent inequities that are so pervasive in our society, we must face them head-on. As an African American, a father and an educator, my heart hurts for our nation, for all of us who have faced bias, and for Floyd and his family.
The COVID-19 crisis has further exposed the deep divide in our country along racial and socioeconomic lines.
Enough is enough. It is time for us as a community and as a country to make meaningful and impactful change. The solutions rest with us individually and collectively.

As we saw images of peaceful protests and violence over the weekend, my thoughts turned to our students and the questions they may have. It is important that we listen and respond with honesty, and recognize and address their feelings. As a community, we must help them learn, by our own example, to act peacefully against racism and bias by making sustaining changes. Although the school year officially ended for students last week, we have counseling staff available for our students to help them process what is taking place in many communities across the nation. To get help, please contact the Pasadena Unified School District’s Family Hotline at (626) 396-3680 or visit .
We as a community must see the humanity in each other and live out the ideals of our country’s Declaration of Independence that states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
One of the central guiding principles of the PUSD is equity — and the events in the news show the depth of emotion in our communities around this issue. The issues surrounding these events are complex and have deep roots, and we must resolve them.
Our children’s future depends on the actions we take today. We as a school system must do more, through our methods and actions, to ensure that every child and every person, regardless of their race or circumstance, will be lifted up. Then and only then will our society become one that is truly “out of many, one people.”