Note with “All Lives Matter” message found in educator’s mailbox; district calls it an “attack” and “racist”
On Jan. 29, 2021 a staff member of color at Brown Middle School found a note in their mailbox that said “ALM” in large block letters. School officials said the letters stood for “All Lives Matter.” The note was not signed. School officials declared it an “act of hate” targeting their employee.
To be clear, that is a direct attack on a staff member who’s doing terrific work, who supports our antiracism work, and an attack on Black Lives Matter and our whole community in the values we hold dear. — Newton Superintendent, David Fleishman
According to the Newton Patch,
the district notified the police, which alerted the Human Rights Commission at a meeting Feb. 11. Police said after consulting with the District Attorney’s office, they determined this was not technically a crime and the department would not be able to charge the person responsible.
The police department is still working with the school to determine who is responsible.
School principal, Kimberly Lysaght, brought in the district Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to help the staff and school community “heal.” The director, Kathy Lopes, told the Boston Globe that her thinking on antiracism is aligned with the work of bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi.
We have a community where I think a majority of people would say, ‘I’m not racist, and I’m not intentionally, personally causing harm,’” she said. “But to be an antiracist is, ‘How am I actively participating in a structure that causes harm — and unknowingly, sometimes?’ — Kathy Lopes, Director of DEI, Newton Public Schools
The Newton Public Schools’ motto is “Equity and Excellence.”
Their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion web page is here and includes language pulled directly from Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance.) The photo below is pulled directly from district web page.
The district has a “Race and Achievement Leadership Team“—below is the mission statement.
‘All Lives Matter’ Note Sent To Newton Teacher Prompts Alarm Newton Patch, Feb. 22, 2021
Newton schools bring on first director of diversity, equity, and inclusion Boston Globe, Oct. 14, 2020