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Posted Date: 12/07/2021


Colin Hosten, Chair, Norwalk Board of Education

Dr. Alexandra Estrella, Superintendent, Norwalk Public Schools


Norwalk Public Schools is fortunate to reflect the diversity of the Norwalk community. With that diversity comes responsibility, and we take this opportunity on behalf of the Board of Education and District to be clear that we have no tolerance for offensive racial slurs of any kind.


On occasion, our students have used racial epithets in their conversation, typically without intending offense or antagonism. Teachers or others repeating such epithets, similarly, would not typically intend offense or antagonism. Sadly, however, two staff members in our school district recently repeated such epithets in our schools. Through our investigation of these two separate events, we determined that the two situations were different. In both cases, we took swift action, and in one case, accepted an employee’s resignation.


Regardless of context or intention, any use of racial epithets by Norwalk Public Schools staff members is simply wrong and will not be tolerated. We will continue to hold any staff members who use racial epithets under any circumstance accountable for their actions.


We are committed to maintaining a school environment in which all feel welcome. As the recently approved Board of Education Equity Statement emphasizes, "We support equity, diversity and inclusion as fundamental values of our school district to ensure access for ALL scholars." We have been providing training on racial sensitivity to staff and students, and these recent incidents impel us to redouble our efforts. On this point, we must be completely clear. Staff members who use racial epithets at any time and in any matter will be subject to serious disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. There is simply no excuse for the use of any racial epithet in Norwalk Public Schools, by anyone at any time.


Language has the power to hurt and the power to heal. We expect all members of the Norwalk Public Schools community to respect each other. By showing sensitivity in racial matters and by following this clear expectation, the members of the Board of Education, the Superintendent and her staff, and the entire school community must continue to work together to maintain a school environment in which all can thrive.