Community Letter on Racist Incidents

Dear RSU 21 Community: 

I wanted to make you aware that an incident of disturbing student behavior recently occurred off school grounds and outside of the school day. A portion of the event was posted to social media and included language that I would characterize as hate speech. Because of the potential disruption that it may have in our schools - even during summer - I feel we have to respond and thus the administration has swiftly begun an investigation. The police have been notified of the situation, and are working with school personnel to investigate this matter further. I understand many of you will want to know more information, but due to student confidentiality, I will not be providing any further details. 

This incident underscores the relevance and need for our ongoing work seeking change. There are many champions within RSU 21 who are making a difference already and are committed to further changes. I, along with the school board, have stated we are unwavering in our commitment to institutional change and feel we have implemented an initial plan of action that demonstrates it. I have heard from some who want to go slower, and from those of you who want to see faster change. No matter where your commitment resides, I promise you the changes will be meaningful. 

Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion implementation work will strive to recognize deeply rooted causes, from institutional discrimination to cultural bias and transgenerational trauma. The administration acknowledges the fact there is much to accomplish, but tackling the challenge of inequitable access to educational opportunity while being intentional is essential. Intentional doesn't mean going slow or not seeking creative solutions. Intentional means being deliberate, it means implementing a plan of action that has the highest potential to endure and have the most significant impact on current and future students, parents, staff, and the greater RSU 21 community. If you are interested in learning more, please take a moment to review what we have done to date by visiting the RSU 21 website.

Respectfully,

Phillip J. Potenziano, Ed.D.
RSU 21 Acting Superintendent of Schools