Skip to main content

Letter from the Superintendent: SRCS Stands United Against Hate

Posted Date: 11/08/23 (12:44 PM)

SRCS Stands United Against Hate
Letter from the Superintendent

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

Next week, schools across our District will participate in “United Against Hate Week.” The movement is guided by a clear message, which SRCS fully aligns with: we reject hate of any kind and believe that building a safer and more equitable world starts by working together. 

I am proud that there are many events and activities planned District-wide. Our elementary and middle schools have a toolkit for the week that school counselors, SRTA leadership and District administrators collaboratively developed. It includes many resources for teachers and staff, as well as recommendations for daily activities, including creating classroom banners; guided book studies with community circles; assemblies; information on how to be an upstander and an ally; a peace project using art; and more. At our high schools, through the leadership of groups like Associated Student Body (ASB), Black Student Unions and the Student Wellness Advisory Committee, there are also several activities planned throughout the week, such as a film screening during advisory, social media outreach; a pledge banner; and more. 

At the same time, we recognize that prioritizing safe and inclusive learning environments for all our students is something that must take place all year, not just one designated week. It is a horrific reality that we have seen a rise of racism, hate speech and hate crimes in our schools, in the greater community throughout our country and in the world. We must condemn and speak out against all acts and forms of racism, hate speech, anti-semitism, prejudice and bigotry. There is no place for racial or homophobic slurs, sexist language, profanity, or anything that demeans or denigrates others in our schools. For example, we have learned that some students are using the N-word, and it must stop. This word is absolutely unacceptable and not tolerated on our campuses. 

We remain committed to providing the best educational experience for all our students. We must also explore and deepen our understanding of societal issues and continue to strive to make SRCS a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students and staff. As a District, we are actively working towards reducing achievement gaps and improving learning outcomes for all students, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, religion, immigration status, family income, sexual orientation or other identities.

Our District and school leadership, teachers, staff and students are working to address issues of racism, bias and discrimination. Some of the steps to engage in meaningful action and conversations about equity and inclusion include:

  • SRCS has a Confidential Racial Incident Reporting Form. The form is to report incidents of racial abuse against students and staff, share information, submit complaints and provide confidential or anonymous feedback to the District regarding experiences on our campuses or within our District. There is also a Sexual Harassment/Assault Form and a Safety Concern Form
  • At the beginning of the school year, our elementary and middle school teachers and staff kicked off a four-part racial equity professional development series to more deeply understand how to become  a school that centers racial equity. Our high school teachers will participate in a modified version of this series this fall and spring. 
  • SRCS is hosting a series of voluntary workshops on racial equity to help parents deepen their own personal knowledge about race and develop the skills to engage with their children, as well as others, in an effective way.
  • Schools have formed affinity groups and clubs for students, such as the Asian Student Union; Black Girls Affinity Group and Black Boys Affinity Group; Black Student Union; Gender Sexuality Alliance; Jesus Club; Jewish Student Union; Latino Student Union; SLAM! (Student Leaders’ Antiracist Movement!); Underrepresented People in STEM Club; and others. 
  • School administrators have visited classrooms or held assemblies to discuss hate language and racial slurs and made it clear that it is not tolerated on our campuses; SRCS’ Board-approved Student Behavior Intervention and Discipline Matrix [EnglishSpanish] is followed when there are violations, and there are restorative/educational projects for students that have used hate speech. 
  • Our classroom and school libraries have incorporated texts written by diverse authors depicting diverse experiences and backgrounds, reflecting the diversity of our District. 
  • Later this fall, we’ll launch the annual YouthTruth surveys, which will help us gain a better understanding of experiences in our schools through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. Experience gaps that are revealed in the survey data directly inform our action planning.   
There is still work to be done. We acknowledge that while we do not have all the answers, we are committed to moving forward. The journey will continue this school year, and importantly, plans and actions will be solidified together as our SRCS community updates and refreshes our strategic plan

Families are part of the solution. We are asking for your help to help reinforce safe, respectful and responsible behaviors at home - and above all, that we must stand against all forms of hate. Below are some resources. 

Thank you for your support and partnership so every member of our community feels safe, valued and respected.

Carmen Diaz Ghysels 

SRCS Resources
  • We have school counselors at all our elementary schools to directly support students; build and strengthen each school’s social-emotional learning program for all students; and facilitate partnerships between community organizations for additional mental health and wellness support. 
  • We have Wellness Centers at our secondary schools; these centers provide a layer of targeted support focusing on prevention, intervention and postvention activities related to student physical health, mental health, reproductive health and substance use/abuse education in developmentally and age-appropriate ways.
  • Family Centers at many of our schools offer many integrated services to students and families, including on-site mental health support.
Additional Resources

San Rafael City Schools  |
310 Nova Albion Way
San Rafael, CA 94903