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Community Statement: Addressing the Tragic Incident in Burlington

Community Statement: Addressing the Tragic Incident in Burlington

Dear ANWSD Community,

Over the weekend three young American men of Palestinian descent were attacked and shot in Burlington. The three men are in the hospital, each of them sustaining injuries. Today we learned that a suspect has been arrested and is in custody as the investigation into what appears to be a hate crime continues. This incident has impacted many individuals in neighboring communities.  We hope you will join us in holding space for these young men and their families, as well as the Palestinian and broader Muslim community across our State who are feeling this fear, pain, and harm intensely. Please know that in ANWSD we firmly denounce any form of hatred and violence, and we know that the path forward as a community is through nonviolence, open dialogue, and empathy.

The current surge of violence, both locally and globally, poses challenges for everyone, especially our youth. If indeed a hate crime, the impact becomes even more poignant, leaving many bewildered, conflicted, and fearful. As a school community, our focus in the days ahead will be on creating spaces for reflection and conversations within our schools, while prioritizing the well-being and safety of our students. School counselors and other student support staff will be available throughout the week for those who wish to engage in dialogue. The Office of Equity will also offer conversation and processing scripts for principals to utilize in our schools. Staff members, we ask that you please also lean on your counselors, your coworkers, or the team at Invest EAP as these events, and the responsibility of â€‹answering questions or even leading discussions, have an impact on you as well.

In the face of an incident possibly fueled by Islamophobia, we aspire to unite as a community. Let us continue to lean on one another and engage in conversations about acceptance and nonviolence. May our interactions come from a place of love, compassion, and empathy for those around us. As a reminder, we have an event planned at VUMHS on December 14th from 5:30-7:00 pm centered around the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  It is our intent to foster open dialogue about instances of hate, bias, and violence, and gain comfort with complex and uncomfortable topics. We hope that you can join us in this important conversation.

In Partnership,

Sheila, Kim, Gabe, and Peter