Dear BC family:
There is no question we are living through difficult times – disease, division and a society that feels fractured. While each of our experiences is unique, I want to reaffirm that the Bethlehem Central School District is a community that stands together in strongly denouncing racism and condemning all instances of hate crimes, hate speech, stereotyping or comments rooted in prejudice.
Our commitment to being an anti-racist school district is especially important to reaffirm now as our diverse community grapples with a heartbreaking surge in hate crimes and xenophobic rhetoric against Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islanders across the country. Any attack on members of our community is an attack on all of us and no hateful act or hurtful targeted language will be tolerated at BC.
The school district is dedicated to providing a safe, supportive educational environment that is free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying. This includes any action targeting an individual’s race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity or expression.
Students and families should be reminded that the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) provides a means of reporting any kind of harassment, threats, intimidation or abuse that could create a hostile environment within the school community or affect a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional and/or physical well-being. Information about DASA at BC can be found here: https://www.bethlehemschools.org/dignity-students-act/
In addition, the district partners with the Bethlehem Police Department to provide a Confidential Tip Line for members of the school community to report dangerous behavior, including self-harm or harm to others, or threatening statements or behavior. The tip line number is 518-439-1503.
Conversations, especially with children, about current events involving race, racial justice and hate-related violence can be difficult. These issues may be front and center for families for the foreseeable future. To help foster these important conversations, there are articles and resources below that may be useful:
Choosing and Using Books to Discuss Race and Ethnicity (American Psychological Association): https://www.apa.org/res/parent-resources/reading
Supporting Kids in Times of Racialized Violence (Embrace Race): https://www.embracerace.org/resources/topic/supporting-kids-through-racialized-violence
Coming Together: Talking to Children About Race and Identity (Sesame Workshop) https://www.sesameworkshop.org/what-we-do/racial-justice
How Parents Can Support Kids Through (and beyond) the Latest Wave of Anti-Asian American Violence (CNN): https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/18/health/parents-support-kids-asian-hate-crime-wellness/index.html
Racial Stress and Self-care: Parent Tip Tool (American Psychological Association): https://www.apa.org/res/parent-resources/racial-stress
At BC, we celebrate one another’s differences and all of the characteristics that are intrinsic to who we are. All of our schools are committed to promoting acceptance, inclusion, and understanding through our curriculum and through student activities and support services. We will continue to work cooperatively with our students, staff and families to further strengthen this commitment.
Bethlehem Central Superintendent