With the conviction of a former Minneapolis officer in the death of George Floyd, the Los Angeles Unified School District superintendent said Tuesday schools “must be part of the solution” in the effort to eliminate systemic racism in the nation.
Superintendent Austin Beutner said the conviction of Derek Chauvin “is a reminder of the need for America to address the systemic bias and institutional racism which exists in many parts of society, including education.”
“While justice was served today, it does not change the fact that a life was needlessly taken. Much has to change to avoid more tragedies like this one,” he said. “Schools must be part of the solution. We don’t have all of the answers but are committed to making change. There will only be progress if all of us — schools, government agencies, philanthropy, business, labor and community organizations — work together on the change that’s needed.”
He said teachers were being encouraged to “create opportunities for students to listen and share their thoughts and perspectives about racial injustice, economic inequities, and historical trauma.”
The district also added resources on its website to serve “as a resource for the school community to discuss these difficult issues.”
LAUSD Board of Education member Jackie Goldberg said she was “relieved” at the verdict in Minnesota.
“As we continue to push for reform in this country, we will never forget the impact of what today’s verdict means to Black, Brown and Indigenous lives,” she said. “This is only one step toward dismantling systemic racism in this country and holding police accountable. My heart is with George Floyd’s family, friends, and loved ones as we take a step toward change. There is still so much work to be done.”
Board member Nick Melvoin wrote on Twitter, “A just world would be one where George Floyd was still alive. While this verdict is an affirmation that Black Lives Matter, it is only the most basic sense of accountability in a system that needs fundamental change.”
Board President Kelly Gonez said the “true struggle of justice continues as we combat the institution of policing which allowed for the actions of Derek Chauvin, and has cost the lives of countless Black and Brown people.”
Fellow board member Tanya Ortiz Franklin added, “Today’s verdict is one important step in our country’s much-too-long arc towards justice. May we all work together to dismantle white supremacy and replace institutionalized racism with love and justice so that our children thrive in a world where Black Lives Matter.”
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