Dear West Woods School Families:
Late last week district administration was made aware of an incident where a fifth grade teacher used non-Hamden Public Schools’ approved instructional resources that had students portraying characters from history, including slaves. The teacher’s introduction of this play about slavery raised serious concerns that are currently being investigated by the district’s Human Resources department and appropriate legal counsel.
The teacher has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is being completed.
I would like to reiterate that the play is not part of the Hamden Public Schools curriculum and administration did not support its use.
Teaching and learning continues in 5th grade and throughout our school. The Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, the district Director of Social Studies, a Board of Education member and I spoke with all 5th grade students together today, to help them understand the nature of this incident, the inappropriateness of the play, and the importance of caring for one another.
The education and well-being of the students entrusted to our care is of great importance to us all. It should be noted that in the past few years, Hamden Public Schools has placed significant emphasis on increasing the diversity of our curricular materials. We remain engaged in a major initiative to help staff and students develop a greater understanding of issues related to cultural sensitivity and equity. The Board of Education has created an Equity Committee to supervise these efforts and keep the community involved and informed. Our commitment to these efforts will help to ensure that our school is a welcoming, safe, and enriching environment for all of our students.
Daniel M. Levy