DeKalb County, GA, January 31, 2017 – by Anna Williams for The Post – DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green has issued a statement Monday in response to President Donald Trump’s Executive Order, an order that indefinitely keeps Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days and blocks citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), from entering the U.S. for 90 days.
“We have 102,000 students here, Dr. Green said in the statement. “They come from more than 180 countries, and they speak 140 languages. We value them, we love them, and we respect what their presence here says about the goodness and generosity of America. Our diversity is our strength.”
In Brookhaven, two DeKalb County School teachers were removed from Cross Keys High amid claims they made pro-Trump comments, telling students they’ll be deported. DeKalb County School District Director of Communications, Quinn Hudson, said in a statement, “Threatening, abusive behavior will not be tolerated in any way and such behavior will be dealt with without delay.”
Later, the two teachers both resigned. They were identified in school system documents as Susan Petre, an ESOL and History Teacher and Diane Clark, a French and World Language Teacher. Both Petre and Clark disputed the claims and said their comments were misunderstood. Neither is eligible to work for the DeKalb County School System in the future.
Here is Dr. Green’s full statement:
We are hearing a lot of conversation right now … some of it extreme … about how residents originally from outside our country should be treated. As your leader, I want to make sure all our principals and teachers clearly understand the position of the DeKalb County School District on this issue.
We have 102,000 students here. They come from more than 180 countries, and they speak 140 languages. We value them, we love them, and we respect what their presence here says about the goodness and generosity of America. Our diversity is our strength.
I want to assure each of our students that we have a deep and full commitment to be culturally responsive to them. We strongly support the diversity of our school system, and we greatly value our role in supporting our immigrant population through the benefits of quality education. This is a core belief.
Our schools will be safe places for learning and teaching. In accordance with our Board of Education policies, we will not tolerate any form of bullying or discrimination … on or off District property … that interferes with learning or the rights of others.
Imagine how hard it is to come to a new country and start life over without familiar ties to family, culture, or language. DeKalb schools give an anchor to our new citizens. Our role as school leaders is to help learning in our schools to become love … love for a new place, for our way of life and, ultimately, for one another.