Dear Editor: In response to an earlier letter to the editor about an incident that recently occurred at Velma Hamilton Middle School, we are writing to inform readers that not all staff share the same sentiments as expressed by the author. Irrespective of intent, power was abused and a student as well as a school community experienced racial trauma. MMSD's Core Values clearly state a "commitment to anti-racism, inclusion and alliance to all children and their families.” Until there is a zero-tolerance policy of racism and racial slurs in our schools, racism will continue to exist.

To claim that well-meaning teachers cannot be racist or prejudiced is a profound lack of self-awareness. There is a false idea that white people cannot be both good people and participate in racism.

Our school and community is in the process of healing. This requires that we challenge ourselves to interrupt microaggressions and overt racism that lead to systemic racism so that we can ultimately support our students. As we move forward from this event, we are aware that racial trauma has long-lasting effects regardless of intent.

We want the student directly impacted by this incident and other students of color at Velma Hamilton Middle School to trust that we are committed to making changes toward anti-racism.

We extend a personal invitation to the author to join our anti-racism work here at Velma Hamilton Middle School through our race and equity book group, equity circles, and professional development work.

We are committed to holding our district, schools, and staff accountable to our anti-racist work.

Shelly Duffield, Adama Guede, Jillian Johnson, Jordan Meiller, Tova Sacks, Jackson Scott, Brandon Tewalt, Ashley Weber

Send your letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

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