The following was sent via email to the South Orange Middle School (SOMS) community on May 27.
Dear SOMS Community
Last Friday I had yet another opportunity to meet with a larger group of individuals dedicated to addressing the issues of race, culture and bias that affect our community. The meeting was well attended by local religious leaders, The Coalition on Race, an Anti-Bullying specialist, HSA Co-Presidents, a BOE member, staff members and students. The meeting began with a presentation by the Students for Social Change club who will serve as Peer Leaders for our current 6th grade students, and will lead several activities in June. T.J Whitaker from CHS will facilitate small group conversations which will be followed up with additional structured conversations.
We have begun the planning with the HSA for an International Night in the 2016-2017 school year, where we celebrate the diversity in our school, as well as looking into the prospect of bringing back the Reflect, Respect, Remember Program. Small group sessions have also begun with our school Social Worker for those students who have indicated a need to talk, and will continue in classrooms as an advisory period during the month of June. Technology classes will also spend more time discussing Social Media and Internet safety.
It is important to remember that when a situation arises it is best to be thoughtful while fact finding occurs, so that we do not simply react in haste, but respond in a manner that brings forth positive solutions.
Our conversation on Friday was again an honest open conversation and we will continue working with our community to provide a safe space where students and all families feel supported.
Please remember that school will be closed from Friday, May 27, 2016 to Tuesday May 31, 2016. We look forward to seeing everyone back on Wednesday June 1, 2016.
On behalf on the entire Administrative Team, Teachers, and Staff at South Orange Middle School we wish you an enjoyable, safe and fun filled holiday!