In the wake of George Floyd’s death, New Britain’s Board of Education and Superintendent are vowing to make every effort to make all students feel safe and welcome.
As Connecticut residents rally for change, one week after Floyd’s death they sent out a joint statement acknowledging that they will be taking action.
“We will not be silent or complicit," the statement read. "We acknowledge that although we have one of the most diverse districts in the state, we have work to do in creating more inclusive environments – for our students, faculty and staff, and our community. As a district, we commit to doing our part to foster empathy, kindness, and equity. We will leverage our biggest asset, our district’s cultural and linguistic diversity, to build on the acceptance and appreciation that makes New Britain residents beam with pride."
“We have many people in the community who relate to what’s happening and it’s effecting them in a big way and so we take our responsibility really serious in terms of what our impact is on this community,” said Dr. Violet Jimenez Sims, an elected board of education member who serves as secretary.
New Britain resident Luz Lopez said she’s happy to hear her city’s board of education and consolidated school district is taking a strong stance.
“This man’s death was uncalled for. That was somebody’s son,” said Lopez. “My grandchildren are African American, so yeah, they deserve to have a better future.”
New Britain Board of Education listed actions they’ll be taking in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.
They said they will continue to work to make sure all of the more than 10,000 students in the district can understand each other and become great adults.
“In addition to the normal alignment to standards and things like that, that it is culturally responsive that it teaches the history of all people in this country and marginalized groups. In that way all of our students can see themselves in our curriculum," said Sims
Dr. Sims saidthey’ll also continue to make sure faculty and staff receive anti-bias and other trainings.
“I think it will make a positive impact not just on African Americans, but on all races as Americans as a whole,” said Lopez’s daughter Jasmine.
“We’re a big city, we educate a lot of children and their going to be with us some for up to 14 years, so we know we’re a big part of those formative years,” said Dr. Sims.
New Britain school officials said they pledge to be at the forefront of this social justice work.
"The work of social justice is never done, but we pledge to be at the forefront of this work. We have lofty aspirations of ensuring that our schools are safe and welcoming spaces for all stakeholders, and where every student is engaged, challenged, and affirmed. To all our African American students, faculty, staff, families, and community partners - your life matters," the joint statement concluded.