The Niskayuna Central School District joins so many others across the country in being deeply saddened by the senseless tragedy in the Atlanta area and expressing our solidarity with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. This occurred as Asian Americans have experienced an increase hate crimes, discrimination and violence across the country. We oppose racism and hate in all forms, and we know that this is a difficult time for members of the AAPI community in our district. We stand with you. We join everyone mourning the loss of Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, and Xiaojie Tan as well as the four victims of the shootings in Atlanta whose names have not yet been released. We also want all families and students to know that help and support for students is available at school.
In keeping with the Anti-Racism policy the Board of Education adopted earlier this year, Niskayuna takes a strong stand against systemic and institutional racism. We acknowledge that this has been part of the Asian American experience throughout our country’s history. We are committed to understanding and learning from history and honoring and elevating the voices of all. At the end of this message, you will find a resource from Asian Pacific American Heritage Month that discusses this history as well as the contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our country.
In moments of local and national tragedy and challenge, we are reminded that while our greatest hope is for a more peaceful world, we have the most control over what happens here, in our community. Discrimination, harassment, violence and hate have no place in our schools. We want all families and students to know that if anyone experiences this behavior, there are many safe and confidential ways to report this.
Our school principals are the Dignity for All Students Act coordinators for their buildings and students can always go to them. Students and families may also contact our Chief Equity Officer Latisha J. Barnett at email@example.com or (518) 377-4666, ext. 50741. Reports can also be shared with Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr., at firstname.lastname@example.org or (518) 377-4666, ext. 50706. Additionally, incidences of discrimination and harassment of students can also be reported through this form on our website. We follow-up on every report we receive. The end of this message also contains a link to another resource, “Stop AAPI Hate,” which also discusses reporting incidents and how to respond if you are experiencing or witnessing hate.
In addition, we know that the tragic events in Atlanta may be troubling for any member of the student body and our school social workers and counselors are always here to help. Principals at the middle and high school levels will be sharing this message with students today as well as how to access these resources at school.
Education is all about students, learning and the future. Our anti-racism work and our mission call us to learn from and initiate dialogue about current and historical events in pursuit of a more peaceful and just world. This work continues.