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Head's November Message

November 12, 2014

Abbott_091012_228.jpgAs you know, the grand jury will soon announce its decision regarding the potential indictment of the police officer involved in the death of Michael Brown. Given this impending news, I spoke with our faculty and staff last week and with our students this morning in assembly. 

I would like to share my comments with you as well:

This has been — and will continue to be — a very difficult time for our city. The realities of St. Louis’ racial, socio-economic and criminal justice system are layered and complex, and they won't be solved quickly or easily. In order to make real progress, all of us need to work very hard together to educate ourselves and one another in the coming months and years.

In the meantime, here are some things to think about:

  • Be a good ally. You will have friends who will want and need to process events and their feelings. Be there for them. Listen to your peers and friends and do so without judgment. Listen to understand one another; don't listen to respond. 
  • Don't feel as though you have to have answers to all questions. We are not going to solve these complex issues in the next week or two, so don’t expect to get resolution and don’t expect to get unanimity about any belief you have. We are a community that loves to debate, but this is not a healthy time for “debate.” This is a time for open and honest conversation. 
  • If you feel called to protest, I hope you will do so thoughtfully and peacefully. You can feel free to reach out to adults at school for some examples of organizations that you can be involved with that are safe and reputable. We have many Burroughs family members who are deeply involved and would be happy to be of assistance to you.

All of the adults at Burroughs are here for you and are willing to speak with you if you are feeling sad, angry or concerned. The members of the counseling and wellness staff and the members of the diversity and multicultural education team have particular skills to help you process difficult situations like these.

I hope we will all be cautious about social media which is not always the best or most complete source for news and can feed fear and mania. And be careful about what you post on social media. The stance you take on an issue can hurt others, often unintentionally.

Please know, in the event that there are safety issues after the grand jury’s announcement, Burroughs will observe the prescribed safety procedures that we always follow.

—Andy Abbott