Schools superintendent says she shares community’s outrage over Madrona graffiti

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Superintendent Kris McDuffy

As a follow-up to the graffiti left at Edmonds’ Madrona K-8 school last weekend, Edmond School District Superintendent Kris McDuffy and Assistant Superintendent Justin Irish sent a letter to Madrona families Wednesday stating they share the outrage felt regarding the event and are also “deeply saddened” by the incident.

The letter also offered gratitude for “the amazing displays of compassion and support of all students” that the Madrona community has shown following the incident.

Click here to view coverage of the incident by our sister website My Edmonds News. According to Edmonds police, spray paint was used to damage several parts of the school roof area and in doing so the suspect or suspects left messages of “hate, political disdain, sexual references and other vulgarity,” Edmonds police spokesman Josh McClure said. In addition, there were multiple other instances of numbers, letters or unidentifiable images that contributed to the damage, he said.

There was no mention in the superintendent’s letter of a particular concern expressed by some parents: that community members had gathered at the school Monday night to write supportive messages such as “We love all of you” and “You are not alone” in sidewalk chalk outside the school. But when they arrived the next morning, the messages had been hosed away.

Denise Hotchkiss of Edmonds expressed those concerns during the Tuesday, June 27 Edmonds School Board meeting: “It hurts my heart knowing students are exposed to these expressions of hate in this place that is supposed to be a safe place for them, where they should be free of hate and discrimination.”

Hotchkiss said she was disappointed that children did not get to see the messages of hope left behind by community members via the sidewalk chalk.

District officials said they are aware that removal of the sidewalk chalk was concerning to parents, and it will be among the issues discussed when administrators meet with parents later in the summer.

Here’s the entire letter from the superintendent:

June 28, 2017

Dear Madrona Families

The purpose of this letter is to acknowledge the concerns many of you have shared in the last several days. First, please accept our deepest gratitude to all in the Madrona community for your amazing displays of compassion and support of all students in light of the appalling words expressed in the graffiti found at the school Monday morning.

We share your outrage and are also deeply saddened. We – along with the principal and staff at Madrona – are committed to ensuring that each and every student feels welcomed, safe and loved at all times. The principal, Mrs. Fischer, and the Madrona staff proudly serve and support all students. They are committed to the social-emotional development and growth of every student and believe physical, emotional, and intellectual safety are critical and necessary conditions in order for effective teaching and learning to take place.

We want to assure you that each event involving graffiti has been thoroughly investigated by Mrs. Fischer and her staff; each step in the investigation process was followed appropriately. They have involved law enforcement and have developed action plans – attending first to the social and emotional safety of students.

It is important you know that as we transition into a new school year, further response to what occurred will not be lost. We fully intend to continue to work with law enforcement to identify the perpetrators of this inexcusable act. We will also support the principal to facilitate conversations with the school community in the weeks leading into the new school year; we believe this is an important step, ensuring effective school-community partnerships. We welcome the opportunity to engage in this conversation with you.

Highest Regards –

Dr. Kristine McDuffy
Superintendent

Justin Irish
Assistant Superintendent

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