District Office

Office of the Superintendent

Steve King, Superintendent

Dear Coupeville Families and Staff,
June 5, 2020
Recently, I watched a video of another Black person being killed in the streets by a police officer. His name was George Floyd and he was murdered by a policeman. It was completely inhumane the way this man was killed with the knee of the policeman pressed against his upper back and neck area laid face down on the streets. This happened for several minutes and I heard the man saying over and over that he could not breathe and he became so desperate for his life he started to cry for his mother. As I watched the video I had a mixture of feelings that included anger and compassion for Mr. Floyd. Over the years I have lost track of the number of African Americans who have lost their lives in similar ways. 

I have spent the last week trying to figure out how to step out of the safety of my own white, middle class world to use what influence I have to help change an American system that now has practiced generations of racism and inequality. I, like many white Americans, have ignored this problem for years, choosing personal comforts, job security, and the risk of criticism over standing up and speaking out against injustice and racism in our country. I now see that I represent so much of what is wrong in America right now. For years, while feeling compassion on this issue, I have never courageously stood up for our people of color and especially our Black Americans who have suffered systemic racism. Guilt and compassion without action is effectively silence and makes me complicit in our horrible history of discrimination. 
Minneapolis, Minnesota seems like a long way from Coupeville. But I can tell you that racism and discrimination does exist in our community and in our schools. To our students and families of color please accept my apology for not standing up stronger for you sooner. I want you to know that while I am not sure how to do this, that I am committed to doing it. I share in your grief and your anger. Some of you may feel hopeless after all these years and incidents. I hope that you will be able to forgive me for my years silence and cowardly choice to stay silent and safe. It is time for us to start having difficult, messy, and uncomfortable conversations about this issue. 
Our nation seems like a very dark place right now and it is hard to stay positive and have hope. It is time for us to act in love for the injustices that we see. Guilt and compassion is simply not enough. I understand if you do not want to join me in this work or even if you are critical of the message. I myself have done the same thing to people and leaders who try to speak up on this topic. 
Here are a few videos that I wanted to share with all of you about systemic racism in our countries and in our schools to help us begin to educate ourselves and to open up the discussion on this issue.




Sincerely, Steve King, Superintendent

Arianna Bumgarner
Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent

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