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Mission Possible

Stories and insights on excellent education.

We wanted to share this letter that our Chief Academic Officer, Michele Caracappa, sent to her team this morning. These shootings weigh on us and our community; we appreciate her attempt to put words to the unspeakable sadness of these deaths.

Dear Team.

I must admit, I haven’t been watching the news much lately. I found out about what had happened in Chelsea when my parents, 2000+ miles away in Arizona, called me to see if I was OK. My husband has been giving me election updates, although quite sparingly.

Yet this week’s killings are impossible to ignore. Terence Crutcher, killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Keith Scott, killed in Charlotte. Their names are not in the headlines, but instead buried within articles recounting the unrest, the conflicting accounts, the videos that defy belief.

I am stuck on this sentence, in a Times article reporting on Keith Scott’s death:

Although their accounts sometimes diverged, members of Mr. Scott’s family generally told local news outlets that he had not had a weapon. Instead, they said, he had been clutching a book while waiting to pick up a child after school.

Clutching a book.

Now I am a person who believes that books can be weapons — weapons against ignorance, against bigotry, against darkness. And yet I am so saddened that we live in a world in which the very thing that could set your mind free could be misconstrued as a deadly weapon in the hands of a black man, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I am so, so saddened by these events. If anyone would like to discuss, please reach out. Words fail, and yet we cannot remain silent.