March 26 Letter to Community
Dear Uxbridge High School Community:
Since arriving at UHS a little more than three years ago, Mr. DiMeglio and I have worked tirelessly on behalf of our school and community to steer our staff and students toward higher levels of achievement, both in terms of our academic outcomes and our school’s commitment to core values. To say that we are perfect would be far from the truth, and we have likewise committed to sharing challenges as they arise, even with so many positive things happening every day at UHS.
In that vein, over the past couple of weeks, we have seen the well-being of some of our students compromised as a result of some prejudiced and bigoted comments directed by their peers. I know that racism and bigotry is a part of society, and I am certain that Uxbridge is not immune to that which our society as a whole struggles. Though we have prided ourselves on this school being a safe haven for all students to learn and grow as one community, we must reflect and react when that notion and our core values are challenged, as they have been by this recent series of incidents.
Whether an isolated set of incidents or a symptom of a deeper problem in our school, we simply cannot stand idly by while anyone is made to feel unwelcome or unsafe. We believe that the best way to combat these statements is through education, empathy, and open and direct conversations, not only with those who have been victimized, but also those who fail to see the seriousness of their remarks or believe that they are making statements in jest. Additionally, we hope that you will have these conversations at home, as all of our students must feel as though UHS is their home while at school, regardless of their skin color, national origin, race, or religion.
Addressing recent events will better inform us on how to ensure that this does not happen again in our school community. One area of focus for us is better empowering the students who are passively condoning this sort of behavior by their inaction. Though we do have many at UHS actively engaged in both supporting those who have been maligned and affecting substantive change, there are not enough who are willing to take the necessary step forward to call a wrong a wrong.
In the coming weeks, we will be communicating a number of steps that we are putting in place to better educate our students on acceptance, bias, and our shared commitment to community. We have already met with the staff to remind them of ways to remain vigilant and to alert them as to some of the newer forms of racism which we all must combat.
As we move forward, if your students wish to report anything, know that our administration and counseling staff stand at the ready to assist in a confidential manner. Only by converting students from bystanders to “upstanders” will we be able to move our community forward in a way consistent with our core values.
Feel free to reach out if you have any concerns or questions.
Michael D. Rubin
Uxbridge High School