October 19, 2020
Dear Mrs. Ferri:
I have reviewed your email communications to me from October 11, 2020, through October 18, 2020. You reference race being at the forefront of our current climate after the murder of George Floyd. However, I organized a group of volunteers to create a Cultural Proficiency and Equity Stakeholder Group in September of 2019. The district has been undertaking Equity work for well over a year since my appointment. The district has never condemned law enforcement in any communication to the community. We have, however, spent time looking at situations from multiple perspectives. The Equity work we are doing in the district is not anti-law enforcement or pushing any political agenda. I have done a plethora of Equity work in the past, so this is not the first time I have heard of Systemic Racism and White Privilege. I will agree with your statement that “There is racism that is against many nationalities and faith…”. At this time, we are using Stamped to look at systemic racism towards Black men and women. As we grow our curriculum, we will incorporate more critical literacy that addresses systemic racism towards other groups that have been marginalized. The point of our ancestors immigrating to the United States facing discrimination is valid. However, the ancestors of Black people were brought here as slaves. As I am sure you know, this led to hundreds of years of slavery through many generations. Any items in Stamped are welcomed to be challenged by the students, and the teacher will provide instruction that allows for non-judgemental open dialogue. You cited district policy 2530, items two and four, specifically. This material in Stamped is the opposing point of view. For item two of the policy, I cite McGraw-Hill referring to African slaves as “immigrants” and “workers” in their textbooks. It is only over the past few years that they have made some adjustments to use more accurate terminology. As for item four in the policy, the accuracy can be debated and discussed in class, considering all literacy can be open for interpretation to some extent. Also, it is well documented that Candice Owens is not an author. Therefore, her work would not be appropriate for an opposing perspective because she is not an author, whereas Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi are both authors. Our instruction will not be focusing on indoctrinating students into a liberal ideology. Stamped is the curriculum material used to provide instruction at this point in the 8th-grade ELA class. If a student does not complete the assignments or participate, no credit will be given.
Respectfully, Joseph Campisi, Ph.D.