CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Superintendent of the Champaign School District is speaking out in response to the conflict in Israel and Gaza.
Dr. Shelia Boozer opened an email to parents and staff by saying she and the district are saddened and dismayed by the images coming from the region. The main focus of her email, however, was on the effects the conflict might have on children, and how the school district is committed to an inclusive and supportive environment.
Boozer’s full statement can be read below:
We continue to be saddened and dismayed by the news and images coming out of Israel and the Gaza Strip. These images, while troubling to us all, can be particularly difficult for children and teens to process. It’s likely our students have been following these events or have overheard conversations and are curious about the cause and impacts this war may have both globally and locally.
I want to recognize that not only are our children dealing with world and national conflict but the conflict and violence in our own Champaign community. While I understand that violence is all around us and has become commonplace in politics, culture and religion, we as a community must be careful not to normalize it. Please know our District takes a serious stance against antisemitism, racism, and hateful or hurtful speech or actions in any form. Dr. King said it best in his letter from the Birmingham jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
We will remain steadfast in our commitment of fostering a culture of belonging for all of our students, staff and families regardless of political, religious or cultural ideologies. We all have a right to show up as our authentic selves without the fear of retaliation or ridicule. Please report any experienced or witnessed hateful acts to our school staff.
We have gathered some social and emotional learning resources to support our families with any conversations you choose to have with your children at home. These are linked below.
In addition, School Counselors and Social Workers are always available to our students who may need a little extra help dealing with difficult events. If you believe your child may benefit from this support, please encourage them to speak with one of these staff members.
We are deeply committed to providing a safe space for our students and staff and hope for peaceful resolutions at home and abroad.
As always, thank you for your support.Dr. Shelia Boozer, Superintendent of the Champaign School District