OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Earlier this week, Westside Community Schools sent an email to parents, making them aware of an incident in which students posted a reenactment of George Floyd’s death on social media. On Friday, Westside Principal Mike Lucas shared an update on the district's investigation and plans moving forward.
Read Lucas' letter below:
I wanted to follow up with you regarding the re-enactment of the George Floyd death by several high school students that took place at Westside High School earlier this week.
Our high school administration and others found out about the social media post on Tuesday evening. They began their investigation first thing on Wednesday morning and were able to collect several key pieces of information by 10:00 AM that day that helped them determine what steps to take next. We felt it was important to immediately communicate with our community this past Wednesday because this is a very upsetting situation that was highly inappropriate and has hurt many people.
We are unable to share intricate details of the investigation, what training or counseling might be involved moving forward, or what disciplinary measures are being taken but we want to make sure our community knows that we are taking this very seriously and are acting accordingly. We are trying to be an organization that breaks down walls and barriers and creates/maintains an inclusive and team-like culture where everyone feels welcome, safe, and is able to flourish.
Our WE-SIDE initiative (Welcoming Equity Support Inclusion Dignity Everyone) continues to move forward and we are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to have student/school activities, professional development, and community forums during the 2021-22 school year that begins in August.
On August 9th, we are bringing John Krownapple to town to be a keynote speaker for all of our staff. Mr. Krownapple specializes in facilitating professional learning and organizational development focused on social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Since 2007, he has led the development and implementation of one of the first and most comprehensive Cultural Proficiency programs in the United States. John will consult and work with staff from each building throughout all of the next year as well through regularly scheduled professional development segments.
For the 2021-22 school year, we have also solidified a robust partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to have each school building work on age-appropriate activities through the “No Place for Hate” programming. No Place for Hate® is an initiative providing schools and communities with a climate improvement framework for combating bias, bullying and hatred – leading to long-term solutions for creating and maintaining a positive learning environment.
We plan to host several “community forums” in the fall to update our community on the age-appropriate activities our schools will be conducting, how WE-SIDE is moving forward, and how we are measuring the effectiveness of our efforts. We are committed to action and not just words. We are committed to being a place that everyone wants to be. We are committed to ALL of our students and realize we are a “work in progress.”
- Mike Lucas