Photo of Dr. Susan Enfield by Scott Schaefer.[/caption] Highline Public Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield sent out a letter to families this week, clearly inspired by this year’s divisive Presidential campaign (cough cough Trump), and extolling the district’s stance on tolerance, pride of diversity and other inclusive elements. During the current election campaign, proposals for a wall on the border with Mexico, as well as banning Muslims and a marked increase in racism, intolerance and even hatred and violence has left indelible marks on our country’s psyche, which is trickling down into our communities and school cultures. In the letter Enfield references a ‘Statement of Solidarity‘ from the Highline High School student International Rescue Committee (IRC), which states in part:

“The IRC of Highline High School stands in solidarity with immigrant and refugee communities that feel scared, unwelcome, unwanted, or in danger. “We call on our administrators, teachers, staff, student body, and community members to stand with us in our commitment to inclusion and justice for all people.” “We believe that nobody should judge others because they have not been in their situation; they have not walked in the shoes of these people. We believe that we should respect people the way that we want to be respected. “As HHS IRC, we strive to live out the promise of the American ideal! This letter is an outstretched hand to all immigrants and refugees, their families, and their friends – as they are – welcoming them here.”
Here’s Enfield’s full letter (download/view PDF here):
March 21, 2016 Dear Highline Families, We in Highline pride ourselves on the diversity of our community. We know that the rich cultures and languages of our students and families are not only an asset, but also an integral part of our shared identity and experience. As the U.S. presidential campaign gains intensity, we find ourselves living in a political climate that is becoming increasingly divisive and disturbing for many of us. Some of our students feel afraid for their safety because of what they are hearing in the news. Some have been taunted, teased or ridiculed by others who are acting on what they hear. This is unacceptable. Regardless of our own political affiliations or beliefs, every Highline staff member has an obligation to you, our students and families, to ensure you feel safe, welcomed and respected at school. We commit to intervene when we see or hear offensive, bigoted words and actions. We commit to communicate, daily, to each of our students that our promise of knowing them by name, strength and need means that we will protect, advocate for and value them equally no matter their race, language or ethnicity. As is so often the case, I have found my greatest role models for tolerance and courage not in those who hold, or aspire to, positions of power, but rather in our very own Highline students. I want to share a Statement of Solidarity from the Highline High School Student International Rescue Committee. These remarkable students inspire and challenge each of us to “respect people the way that we want to be respected [and] strive to live out the promise of the American ideal.” I encourage you to read and share this powerful, honest statement with your children, family and friends knowing it represents the best of who we are as a school system and community. I have asked our staff to be especially mindful of the safety, security and sense of belonging our children and young adults feel right now, and I ask you to partner with us in that. Let your school’s principal know if you see or hear anything that concerns you. Highline students are brilliant, beautiful and brimming with promise, and we recognize that they need our protection, advocacy and reassurance now more than ever. This is our moral obligation as educators. We are Highline–all of us. Sincerely, Susan Enfield, Ed.D. Superintendent

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14 replies on “Highline Schools Super sends out letter inspired by 2016 Presidential campaign”

  1. What a friggin’ joke this lady is.
    Let’s welcome everyone to the school district, no matter if their parents pay taxes or not.
    Ponzi Scheme Fail.

  2. Stay out of politics! Everyone including people with a different slant have kids in the district and we all pay taxes

    1. When politics invade the school district, and then sometimes threaten the well-being of students, the school district must respond accordingly. The superintendent is doing just that.
      Not to respond would be shirking the district’s responsibility to protect the welfare of students, faculty and staff. Kudos to Dr. Enfield.

      1. I would like to hear about this so-called “invasion” and how exactly children in Burien, WA are being “threatened” by the current election process….

        1. Try asking an elementary class about the presidential election – I did. Multiple kids said he’s racist, Muslim kids said that Drumpf wants to kick them out of the U.S.and some compared him to Hitler. I would certainly say it has invaded our school system. At least he’s provided a good example on how not to act.

          1. You’re right, I’m sure some of what they said came from their parents. What their parents tell them becomes a part of their own thoughts and some choose to share those with their peers which can lead to some kids threatening/bullying at school. Also, I don’t know if you know this, but kids also are capable of turning on a television and using the internet where information about the presidential election is also available.

    2. She is trying to keep the children out of politics by making sure that no matter what they hear at home, on the news, or from other children at school that they feel they are in a safe place where they can learn. That is her job – to put the children first.

  3. It saddens me deeply that our current political and social climate has degenerated to a point where Superintendent Enfield feels the need to publish such a letter. I am proud to be an American, a nation where all are accepted regardless of race, creed, or national origin. Where the VERY FIRST AMENDMENT to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of religion. These are not, “Those People”. They are our neighbors. Our friends. Our children.
    Thank you Dr. Enfield. Our children and our community are fortunate to have such a courageous leader.

  4. I think that, as an employee of Highline Public Schools, you should not be using your position to voice an opinion on anything political.
    With regard to your inapprotiate comments:
    I am taxed as a US citizen. It is inappropriate to use my money to support the welfare of non-citizens unless it is approved by a vote of Us citizens.
    With reference to “diversity”, I expect to be spoken to in the English language.
    I will continue to vote against any school bond issue for costs incured to incorporate illegal immigrants into the Highline school system.

    1. The laws governing the district require them to serve all students that live within their boundaries. Voting against the bond is a worse than a meaningless gesture, because the district has no control over the issue, and instead you end up punishing *all* students, citizen and non-citizen alike.

      1. Rational Center – You could not be more correct, but clearly Ira Hartman is one of our misguided neighbors who fails to understand that he himself benefits from a strong school district.
        Higher property values, lower crime statistics and a host of other qualitative benefits are what we find in areas such as Bellevue, Mercer Island and Edmonds, where citizens have had the good sense to invest in their schools. The Highline School district is not alone in finding immigrants and refugees in their classrooms. What of the many Russian immigrants in Bellevue? And I am sure they have their fair share of Muslims, Latinos and other currently vilified groups.
        Each school district is required BY LAW to provide a “free and appropriate education” for all children in their district. A school bond issue is NOT a referendum on illegal immigration, and it is shameful to attempt to make it so in support of your clearly racist, insular viewpoint. It is a convenient attempt to argue against a tax that is unavoidable and simply the cost of living in community outlined in those famous words ordaining our U.S. constitution. ” promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of prosperity for ourselves and our posterity.”

        1. Wrong.
          Most of the low income illegals & refugees have settled in the south end & no amount of additional money for schools will help their kids get higher test scores.
          Bellevue & Mercer Island HS have high test scores because their high population of Caucasian & Asians are wealthy. School test scores improve based on parent income levels, not on how much money schools receive. If the Highline School district had less low income students, scores would improve over night.
          Scores improve with parent involvement, not with bigger school budgets.
          More money to the school district won’t change a damn thing. Kennedy High School doesn’t have better test scores than Evergreen HS because the school has a bigger budget. It has higher test scores, because the kids parents are wealthier.

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