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From the desk of Dr. Edward Melnick: January 19. 2012

Incidents of Racist and Anti-Semitic Vandalism and Graffiti in Our Community

Dear North Shore Residents,

We have all been very disheartened by and concerned about the incidents of racist and anti-Semitic vandalism and graffiti that have occurred within our community during the past few weeks. Clearly, this is an issue for our entire community to address, however, I do believe since the schools stand at the very center of our community, those of us at the North Shore Schools must take a very strong and proactive stance.

The very essence of the North Shore Schools, captured in our mission statement, is building a community of learners in which respect for one another is paramount.

Our mission is to nurture and enrich our students’ natural delight in learning and in the powers of mind and body. Each child’s awakening into confident young adulthood requires guided engagement with vital ideas and events of the past to realize fresh possibilities and discoveries for the future.

We aspire to foster in our students those qualities of character consonant with the ideals of a democratic society. We are committed to reaching beyond routine expectations in a learning environment that encourages inquiry and builds its daily practice upon respect for oneself and others.

In addition, the Board’s Equal Opportunity Policy is very clear:

The Board of Education, its officer and employees, shall not discriminate against any student, employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, marital status, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation or disability.

We continue to weave our mission statement into the culture of our schools through teaching about diversity within our everyday curriculum, training our faculty and staff, providing a number of guest speakers and seminars and initiating outreach efforts through our community service program. In addition, programs such as Second Step at the elementary level and E3 at the Middle School serve to provide our students with a program of character education that focuses on building respect for oneself and caring about others.

It is clear, that as a community, we need to take some additional steps together to make sure that all of our residents understand that is the right of every individual to live in this community without fear of discrimination or hatred. To that end, I encourage the parents of all of our students to continue to take an active role in their children’s lives, both in and outside of school.

• Take the time to have family conversations about respecting differences and appreciating the rich cultural fabric of our community.

• Make sure you know who your child is spending time with and that he or she is receiving proper supervision.

• Make sure you have a filter on your home wireless Internet connection to help you monitor the materials and sites your children have access to.

• Make sure you know what is on your child’s Facebook page.

As the adults and role-models within our community we must join together to make sure that our younger residents develop the values, beliefs and habits that will enable them to embrace others as they seek new, creative and innovative methods to address the issues that face us. At the North Shore Schools, we remain ready to join hands with all members of our community in support of our efforts to graduate well-educated, caring and productive members of society.

Sincerely, Dr. Edward Melnick Superintendent of North Shore Schools