Message to Franklin Families

Franklin families,

Last Friday, a jury in Kenosha, Wisconsin acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of murdering two people and injuring a third during the protests of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man. We are writing today to acknowledge the emotions that are present in our community in response to this unjust verdict. Many of us are feeling hurt, anger and longing for justice. Events like this recall a long list of past injustices, and they are a painful reminder of how far we must still go to make real and lasting change in our world – change that values Black life centers equity and demands social and racial justice.

What we know from prior injustices is that if Kyle Rittenhouse were Black or Brown, he probably would not have even been alive to stand trial, so while we are disappointed by this verdict, we are not at all surprised. As this case illustrates, racism is fundamental to the laws, institutions, structures, and systems of our country. Not being racist is an inadequate response; the Franklin community must choose each day to be actively antiracist in order to create a more beautiful tomorrow.

The words of Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, president of South Seattle College, capture what is possible when school communities like ours take seriously the role of the classroom in creating positive social change:

“I am again reminded how the context of our work matters. What we seek to accomplish through the education of our students can indeed change the world for the better if we are attentive to and intentional about how we approach it.”

Now, we are presented with another opportunity to center the voices and experiences of our students to engender dialogue and cultivate opportunities for deep learning as a vehicle for change, and as Congressman John Lewis reminds us, it is our moral obligation to do so.

The centuries-old fight for racial justice, two years of pandemic living, remote work, and the return to in-person school has left us wiped out. Many of us are tired, overworked, scared, angry, and disconnected. As we await the verdict in the Gregory and Travis McMichael and William Bryan murder trial and continue to hold hope for justice for Ahmaud Arbery, we want to encourage you to talk to your scholar about this and encourage them to reach out to their trusted adult(s) in the Franklin community. Our community has the ability to continue to center love, care, and belonging, along with the support we all need to keep going.

Our administrative and counseling teams are here to support our students in any way we can. Please encourage them to reach out. We are always here.

Franklin High School – Administrative Team