This letter is being translated into Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Somali. The translations will be posted as they are completed.
Dear David Douglas Community,
Last Friday, a senseless act of violent hatred claimed the lives of two men and seriously wounded a third on a MAX train in East Portland. These men did nothing but stand up to defend two young women who were being verbally assaulted in a bigoted attack against their race and religion. The two young women are David Douglas High School students.
The David Douglas School District will be forever grateful to Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Micah Fletcher for shielding our students – complete strangers to them – from this hate-filled assault. Our deepest sympathies and condolences go to the families of Mr. Best and Mr. Namkai-Meche, and our wishes for a speedy recovery go to Mr. Fletcher. Though they did not live in our District, their heroic actions that day will forever remain in our hearts and a part of our David Douglas Scots family.
We are in contact with our two students and their families and are offering all the resources we can to help them through this trauma. They will need time and the love and support of our community to heal. But the trauma is not theirs alone.
This incident, as well as a rising tide of divisive rhetoric about immigration, race and religion, has sent ripples of fear and anxiety through our community. We want our families and their students to know that our schools, our classrooms and hallways and our outdoor places of play are safe for you.
We have zero tolerance for any discriminatory or harassing behavior, both by Board Policy and Resolution. Any such behavior toward anyone in our schools will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately. We have communicated with staff to be extra aware not only of harassing behavior, but of students who are experiencing anxiety or who just want a safe adult to talk to. Our counseling staff has been provided additional resources to better help them help our students.
Our School District is a beautiful, diverse community that has a positive impact and supports our students every day. Our students and staff value and celebrate our diversity and are a true bright spot in our community. Please join me in not allowing this event to define who we are as a community and instead to reassure, support and love our students and your children. Not only can we teach our students about tolerance, but we can also learn from them. I am hopeful that our entire community can learn from our students to come together as one, not in anger or divisiveness, but in compassion and empathy for each other, regardless of our differences.
Together, in all of our wonderful variety, we will Learn, Grow and Thrive.
Ken Richardson, Superintendent
David Douglas School District