Bellevue Students, Parents, Staff and Families:

In the midst of an extremely disruptive and deadly pandemic, I was deeply saddened and shocked to see the horrific video documenting the senseless death of George Floyd.  The tragic killing of yet another black person by an officer sworn to protect and serve all of us is totally unacceptable.  Such an injustice is not a value that Bellevue School District and its leadership will ever promote or silently condone.

I know that many of our families, including my own, have experienced cruelty and indignity in their communities and schools because of their ethnicity or race.   As a nation, we must all stand and speak out for equity, respect, and justice.  As a school district, we must continue to focus on creating more inclusive learning environments where all students are safe, welcomed, and valued.

Over this past week and weekend, it has also been upsetting to watch concerned Americans exercise their fundamental right to protest only to see the moment hijacked by individuals seeking to wreak havoc or steal.  However, we cannot let the actions of a few—whether they be violent protestors or violent police officers—taint the important message of justice and equality that we must embrace.  In these troubling times, we need to find common ground to unite us against the forces of racism, tyranny, and prejudice.

Bellevue School District values respect, integrity and service. We are committed to creating safe, equitable, inclusive, and respectful learning environments that promote justice for all our students and staff. In this regard, we must have courageous conversations about race and deeply examine, identify, and remove barriers that create systemic inequity in any aspect of our school community.

Now more than ever, our learning community must practice our values of compassion and collaboration as we overcome the challenges of the health crisis and systemic injustice. I encourage you to take time to talk with your students, families, and colleagues about your feelings regarding the tragic death of George Floyd and the unrest in our nation including our own Bellevue community.

To assist in the conversation, all school counselors stand ready to listen, support, and advocate for our children and staff. Please contact your student’s school principal to arrange for assistance from a counselor or call the Mental Health and Counseling Hotline at 425-456-4445.

In addition, the National Association of School Psychologists has helpful resources for talking with students about violence, race, and privilege.  I also want to thank many of our educators and school leaders who are hosting and creating space for students and their colleagues to process their feelings and examine steps we must take to fight against systemic racism and injustice.

Please be assured that the Bellevue School District cares about the needs, desires, and success of each and every one of our students and staff. As we continue to celebrate our differences, similarities, and dreams, I ask all of you to work together to make sure all our students have the support they need to be successful.

In partnership,

Ivan Duran
Superintendent
Bellevue School District