From Rick Dooley, Chair, on behalf of the Milton Town School District Board
During the night of June 30, the Black Lives Matter flag at the Milton High School was vandalized. We are all incredibly disappointed, both as Board members as well as community members, that this action was taken.
The flying of the BLM flag was a culmination of a two year effort by Milton students to raise awareness around racial inequity and systemic racism by engaging with other students, faculty, administration and community members on these issues. During that time and continuing today, the Milton Town School District has worked diligently to identify and address bias and inequity in our schools. We have listened to the voices of our students of color as they described their experiences of racism within our schools. We have conducted faculty and staff trainings and student-led workshops in support of creating a safe, inclusive and affirming school community for all. Just two days ago, the Milton Select board and the Milton Town School Board unanimously approved a town resolution, stating that we were striving to “foster a community of racial equity and inclusion.”
The cowardly act of destroying property and removing the BLM flag under cover of darkness is despicable, but it will not derail our efforts to resolving our school and community issues around racial inequity, systemic racism and bias. The person or persons who removed the flag do not represent the vast majority of Milton community members who understand the importance of the work that we are doing. It is imperative that just as the nation is striving to understand and change the role of systemic bias and racism in the suppression of people of color for decades, our community must also engage, discuss, learn and grow.
As white board members, none of us can come close to imagining what it is like to be Black in this predominantly white town; to be the sole student of color in a classroom; to have one’s very humanity threatened by merely demanding to be seen and heard. While we can’t ever fully understand, we can firmly commit to anti-racism, and to continuing that work that was started several years ago. We can and will work to create a school system and community that does not privilege white lives over Black lives.