Dear Santa Barbara Unified Students, Families and Staff,

On this Election Day, as communities across the country continue to battle through pandemic conditions, I wanted to take a moment to remind us all to acknowledge and appreciate the freedoms upon which our country was founded – which includes the right to vote.

As parents and educators, we are the example for young people through our words and actions. As we practice resilience, respect, empathy and kindness towards others whose perspectives we may not always share – our children will follow.

Our School District is a microcosm of America. We embrace the diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, ability, sexual orientation and more that our students bring. But no matter the outcome of the election, our learning environments must continue to be free from hate, intimidation, bullying and fear and serve as safe havens.

As always, the health and safety of our students is our number one priority. In the coming days, we may see uprisings or protests across our country. We may encounter friends and others we care about who are experiencing anxiety, sadness, loss, a sense of isolation and even anger. A few thoughts to keep in mind:

  • PRACTICE EMPATHY: Please remember to engage with others in a peaceful and tolerant manner and encourage the young people in your life to do the same.
  • REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT: Please contact a counselor or your principal, or head to the Health & Wellness page on our website, if you or someone you care about needs support.
  • REPORT CONCERNS: Encourage your junior high or high school student to use the StopIt App on their district-issued IPAD where they can anonymously report any inappropriate behaviors to a trusted school official. In the elementary grades, students can reach out to their principal or teacher.

I have found Santa Barbara to be a community of people who are generous, respectful and embracing of differences. Let’s model the way for our future generations to continue in this spirit.

Please take care, be safe and remember, your voice matters!

Hilda Maldonado