A Message From San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools

Dear SJCOE Community:

Since March, our lives have been significantly disrupted due to the global health crisis.  During this time, I have been incredibly proud of our teachers, staff and administrators for responding to this crisis by finding new and innovative ways to educate, feed, and support our students and families.  We know this pandemic has been a significant hardship for our students and families and we look forward to the coming months when we can re-open our schools.

 However, in recent days we have all witnessed a more enduring enemy than COVID-19.  The unjust, unnecessary death of Mr. George Floyd has outraged our nation.  This horrific act and the reaction that followed demand our attention and thoughtful response. We must challenge ourselves to do more.  I can only imagine how distraught and angry Mr. Floyd’s family and loved ones must feel.  I can also only imagine how African Americans and people of color in our community and nation are feeling; how outraged they are that this type of injustice is still common almost 60 years after the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.  

Yes, we have also seen opportunists and provocateurs vandalize and destroy businesses and buildings.  We should and must denounce these acts.  However, this should not diminish or negate the importance of the peaceful protesters who are saying they have had enough, that our society needs to change, and that we all need to take responsibility for making that change.  

This is a time for all of us to pay attention, to listen more than speak, to learn, to understand.  This is a time for us to join together, to overcome our differences, improve our relationships, and work towards a common goal.

The demonstrations we have seen in cities across our country are a renewed call for change.  They are a call for all of us to ensure that every child in our nation is treated with fairness and dignity and provided with the opportunity for a bright, productive future regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or economic status.  Our role as educators is to ensure that every child in San Joaquin County has full access to a quality education and an educational system that treats all children equitably, with respect and dignity.  

When I think about who we are as a nation, my thoughts turn to my father and father-in-law, who both passed away this year after living long and productive lives.  They both served our country heroically in World War II, fighting an evil that oppressed millions of people.  I know their sacrifices were intended to protect and value all people, all races, all ethnicities.  Each of us has a role to play in our classrooms, workplaces, families, and communities. Today and moving forward, we should offer our support and work actively to ensure all people are treated equally, with dignity and respect.  We can do better.  We must do better.  Our children are counting on us.

Sincerely,

 

James Mousalimas

San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools

Posted: 6/5/2020