On behalf of the Coronado Unified School District, I wanted to follow up with information regarding a recent event which has impacted our community.
As previously shared, last weekend, CUSD administration learned of a potential event on or near our Coronado High School (CHS) campus planned by a group from outside of Coronado for Monday, November 8, 2021. On Sunday, November 7, I sent an email to all CUSD families to make them aware of the event. The letter included the following:
We were made aware of posts on social media which stated that there was a call for a rally on Monday, November 8, 2021, at 4 pm outside of CHS to “rally against racism in public education” in response to student social media activities. When students are not on campus or representing our district in school-related activities, they are private citizens and outside our jurisdiction. We realize that these events may impact our students and staff and we have a duty of care to their wellbeing and safety.
Yesterday, November 8, around 4:15pm, approximately 20 individuals congregated on the corner of Sixth Street and D Avenue in front of CHS. Throughout the event, members of the Coronado Police Department and CUSD staff were observing crowd interactions and on standby to ensure the safety of our students, those in attendance, and to protect district/community property. The event began as a gathering of citizens permitted to exercise their First Amendment rights. A small group of community members also observed the rally as nonparticipants from across the street.
Unfortunately, some individuals attending the rally chose to participate in defacing our school by writing slogans and symbols which qualify as hate speech, with chalk on the sidewalk and buildings in front of CHS. Hate speech is defined as “abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group” and this type of behavior is further outlined in CUSD Board Policy 5145.9.
Individuals who defaced the sidewalk and buildings in front of CHS with threatening slogans and symbols engaged in behavior that is reprehensible. We cannot and will not tolerate this behavior. We have video footage throughout the evening and into the night and we are collaborating with the Coronado Police Department to determine what further steps need to be taken. We will take action to hold those responsible accountable. Thankfully, concerned citizens and our custodial staff arrived early to the CHS campus to ensure that the hate speech written on our schools was cleaned prior to the arrival of staff and students.
We fully and emphatically denounce the actions of those responsible for this harmful behavior in our community. Not only do their messages spread hate and discontent, but they are also uncalled for, inflammatory, and incongruent with our efforts to assure that all members of our school community and guests feel safe, valued, and respected. Our intention is modeling civil discourse and participation in our democracy with productive opportunities to learn and grow from one another and always a shared goal of student learning.
We strive to teach responsible citizenship by explaining the balance and distinction between exercising individual First Amendment rights, and actions which may be interpreted as hate motivated behavior. We are focused on our mission to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for each child in our care. We remain committed to this important work.