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Teacher works with two students at Havens Elementary
Sign outside Superintendent's Office

February 1, 2023

 

 

 

Dear PUSD Community,

 

Recent events in our state have left me more concerned about our students than ever before. The past 10 days have been devastating for all of us. I was deeply saddened by the shooting in Monterey Park on January 21. One of our teachers, Jean Takazawa, who is also a Piedmont parent, member of the Piedmont Anti-Racism & Diversity Committee (PADC) and co-founder of the Piedmont Affinity Mentorship Program, wrote a powerful letter last week describing what our Asian-American Pacific Islander community is experiencing in the wake of this tragedy. I encourage everyone to read and reflect on her words.

The tragedy in Monterey Park was followed by shootings in Half Moon Bay, Oakland and most recently in Beverly Hills. This recent wave of violence has our students and staff understandably feeling anxious about their safety and well-being. Last Friday’s release of the video depicting the beating of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police officers has compounded those feelings for many of us. As I watched the video, I could not help but cry.  As an African-American man, everytime I see or hear about these incidents, I can’t help but to think that man could have been me based on my own personal experiences. Piedmont Police Chief Jeremy Bowers released a statement condemning the acts shown on the video and to remind the Piedmont community that his door is open to anyone needing to talk. I am grateful for PUSD’s relationship with the Piedmont Police Department and wish to thank Chief Bowers for his partnership.

While we work with our students on issues of violence, bias and race, we must not forget about the dangers of drugs and alcohol in all their forms and combinations. I am working with district and site administrators to review our programs and resources to ensure we are meeting the needs of all our students.       

I would like to acknowledge the  students and staff at Piedmont/Millennium High Schools and Piedmont Middle School, who last Friday, participated in a minute of silence in observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. My thanks to each school’s administration, ASB, students and staff for their work in recognizing this important event.

February is Black History Month. I would like to take a moment to recognize the contributions of African-Americans to the Piedmont community and to our society and culture as a whole. 

I am grateful to be a part of this community that has demonstrated its willingness to offer assistance and resources no matter the challenges we have faced during this school year. The emails, letters and phone calls I receive not only hold us accountable, but make us better in our ability to serve our students, staff and community. I thank you for your partnership and continued support!  

 

Sincerely,

Donald Evans

Interim Superintendent