Statement from District 97 Superintendent Carol Kelley - Jan. 7, 2021

“When you see something that is not right, you must say something. you must do something. Democracy is not a state. it is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”
     - John Lewis

Dear District 97 Family,

There are a host of emotions and feelings I’m sure you have experienced over the past 24 hours. Thus, I won’t belabor this message.

I have had the privilege and opportunity to serve as your superintendent of this great school district—a community whose primary focus has been to create a positive learning environment for all of our students that is equitable, inclusive and focused on the whole child. A school community with the following stated beliefs, which provide the lens through which we embrace our work:

We believe… in all of our students and staff. We value and respect every individual, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression, language, religion, economic background or culture.

We believe… in providing every student access to engaging and challenging academic learning experiences.

We believe… in supporting students to develop tolerance, empathy, and care for each other and the world in which they live.

We believe… that we must address the inequities we see in our school and community. We know our inequities are rooted in systemic oppression, racism, and white supremacy and that we must challenge them directly.

As such, as a school community, we must do as John Lewis stated. When we see something that is not right, we must say something. We must do something. 

Yesterday morning, in our beloved community, we stood witness to a racist hate attack at L!VE Cafe. We also bore witness to a domestic terrorist attack on our nation’s capital.  Finally, we bore witness to differential experiences and treatment to those participating in yesterday’s insurrection.

Although we have a few days until we are back with our students, it is likely that the domestic terrorist attack on our nation's capital, as well as the act of racist hate at L!VE Cafe, will be on students' minds and they will need time and space to process what they have seen, heard, and are feeling. 

I urge you to please join us in speaking up for our beloved community. 

  • If you are able, this evening at 5 p.m., I encourage you to join community members at L!VE Cafe for a vigil. (Masks are required.)
  • If your schedule permits, I invite you to join the virtual telecast of our upcoming board meeting on January 12 to hear about the efforts our district is taking to teach an anti-racism curriculum.
  • Finally, I invite you to explore the collection of resources pulled together by our Senior Director of Equity, Dr. Carrie Kamm.

January 6, 2021, may go down in our local and national history books as a day that attempted to damage our soul. I believe those circumstances will only make us stronger; but only if we act to protect what we hold true and dear to our hearts. Please speak up and stand up.

I hope you will join me.


Dr. Carol Kelley