Superintendent’s Message About Providing Safe Haven

Dear Families and Staff:

In challenging times, we must always stay mindful of Alameda Unified School District’s vision: we believe a diverse community of students will be prepared to be responsible citizens if given a rigorous academic program in an inclusive, safe, and secure environment.

I write today to assure you AUSD remains committed to upholding and safeguarding this vision – especially in these charged and uncertain political times.

Both this weekend and last, I received emails from AUSD parents and staff members who are increasingly worried now for the safety and security of Alameda students and families who are foreign-born and immigrants to this nation. I acknowledge these concerns and feel compelled to respond.

In the past month, many California school districts, cities, and other public agencies have committed to values of providing sanctuary and safe haven to all people. AUSD has joined this movement. In response to fears triggered by increases in hate crimes and speech, this month district staff drafted and presented a “Safe Haven Resolution” to AUSD’s  Board of Education. Unanimously approved in a 5-0 vote, the Safe Haven Resolution spells out protections AUSD pledges to uphold for the children and families we serve. This resolution is additionally supported in the City’s recent proclamation claiming our community a “Sanctuary City.” You can find the press release we sent out jointly with the City of Alameda here.

This is not new work for us. Over the last decade, AUSD has worked to promote safety and inclusiveness for all in our schools, including by creating an anti-bullying curriculum, by developing an “Everyone Belongs Here” campaign, and by establishing round tables to support some of our most vulnerable student populations.

I am proud of the steps AUSD has taken over time and in recent weeks to build a foundation of inclusiveness and acceptance towards all. I want you to know we will continue to strengthen and expand that foundation with our community partners. As time goes on, we will also continue to update you on the steps we take and the progress we make to address the understandable concerns that many of our community members are having now.

For now, please know our classrooms and schools are safe, we deeply believe “Everyone Belongs Here,” and we will continue to work to provide a safe haven for all students, families, and staff.

Sincerely,

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools