Superintendent Plano's statement on the recent threat to the Stroum Jewish Community Center

On February 27, our Mercer Island community was shaken and experienced a threat of violence, or in other words an act of domestic terrorism, against the Stroum Jewish Community Center. Our District condemns this threat of violence in the strongest terms possible, whether this reprehensible act was intended as an act of hate, anti-Semitism or otherwise intended as anti-immigrant.

Sadly, we are living during a time of turbulence and unsteadiness, both locally and globally. Nonetheless, we refuse to be thwarted in our resolve to embrace and celebrate ways we are different as Americans, or as citizens of the world, so long as we treat each other with dignity and respect.

America is a melting pot.

So there is nothing more un-American than singling out one group to express that one is better than another, or that one belongs while others do not.

Our public schools explicitly teach the core fundamental called diversity. Diversity is valued by recognizing differences and commonalities among people from which we can begin to reflect, understand, and value others as well as ourselves.

Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, which is a strength of our community. It encompasses accepting, respecting, and valuing each member’s contribution to successful academic, social, and emotional outcomes. By welcoming and leveraging these differences, we create an environment in which everyone is valued and has a place.

The Mercer Island School District stands together with all members of this diverse community and will not tolerate bigotry, hate speech, indiscriminate threats of violence or other ways intended to divide us.

(Superintendent Dr. Gary Plano read the statement above at the March 9 Mercer Island School Board meeting.)