June 3, 2020
Reynoldsburg City Schools Families and Community,
been very hesitant to make a statement during this time of chaos and despair
because I truly needed to find the right words to speak from my heart and not
from raw emotions. I am sure we can all agree that 2020 has been an incredibly
challenging year thus far. We are battling COVID-19 and, consequently, our
lives have been impacted and altered in myriad ways. Over the course of the
last two weeks, I have felt sadness and anger and have been frustrated by the
images of senseless brutality perpetrated by those who were sworn to protect
and serve the citizens of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Louisville, Kentucky. Over
the course of the past week, I have been discouraged by the civil unrest of
violent rioters pretending to be protesters. I have also been angered by the
mere fact that the protesting is necessary.
am deeply troubled by what has transpired in America and, as a Black man, I
live each day in fear of how this country feels about me, my Black son, and my
Black daughters. I have so many doubts whether the system is designed to
protect my family and me. I wonder why this country that I love does not love
me back. I have to constantly remind myself of my worth and that of people who
look like me. That saddens me greatly.
In concert with those feelings, like you, I am quite confused and perplexed by where we are. I know that many will not understand the motivation of the protesters and will confuse the rioters’ actions with those who are protesting peacefully as is their right granted by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
pain is immense today and I am not OK. I am not comfortable. I am not content
with what we have become and how we view each other. I am angry. I am fearful.
I am suspicious. I am sad. I think about Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna
Taylor in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota, among a litany of other
names and how any of them could have been a relative or close friend, or
perhaps even me.
as Superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools, I feel the immense pressure to
stay strong and to answer questions. I feel the responsibility to speak out and
voice my opinion. I have the urge to take action. I feel the responsibility to
provide perspective for others and to explain the impact of these times to
provide some solace for those who are struggling emotionally. However, to
achieve real and lasting progress, we have to do so together. We are more
similar than we are different.
do not have all the answers and it will take much more than my words and my
actions. We know that blatant discrimination is present in every public entity
of our society and we know that educational systems are not exempt from that
reality. We, as educators, have a moral obligation to dismantle any
discriminatory policies, practices, and protocols that we have adopted.
this country was founded on the ideals of free speech and assembly, we should
express ourselves respectfully and without hate. We must not tolerate racism,
threats, intimidation, or violence of any sort and reject those who purvey such
beliefs. When one of us suffers, we all suffer. As a community, we must fight
to eliminate bigotry and racism, not only within our schools and our city, but
within our state, country, and world. We must condemn any intolerance or
violence. We must rely on our partners such as first responders, city
officials, business owners, and community members to work together to ensure
tolerance and safety are a first priority within our District. We teach our
children kindness, respect, acceptance, inclusiveness and appreciation for all
humankind. We must set an example for them.
I greatly appreciate your support for our community and for the students of our school district. I look forward to engaging with you to discuss difficult issues and to bring positive change to our society. I look forward to strengthening our collaboration in working to do what is right for our students and for our community. We are always stronger…together.
Melvin J. Brown
Reynoldsburg City Schools
Please click here to read a PDF of the message.