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Pasquale Scuderi head shot

Dear AUSD Community:

In the wake of the violence unfolding in Israel and Gaza since Saturday, we know that students, staff, and families may be struggling with deep feelings of anxiety, despair, anger, or fear. 

Let me be very clear: We do not accept or condone, under any conditions, discrimination or violence towards people based on their race, ethnicity, or religion. 

We may not be qualified to be the ultimate judges of long-standing global disputes and political grievances, yet we can forcefully denounce the premeditated killing, maiming, and abducting of innocent civilians - especially children –  anywhere.  

As such, as a school district we want to emphasize that our highest priority is keeping our students safe. We will be extra attentive over the coming weeks for any reports of students being bullied based on their ethnicity, race, or religion or based on current events. Please confer with an administrator immediately if students report in any way being harmed or harassed in this fashion. 

Anti-Jewish and Islamophobic rhetoric and expressions are never acceptable here in AUSD, and we are asking our entire community to help us ensure that we affirm that with clarity as we navigate these dire current events and their global and local impact together. 

I also want to emphasize that our intention is to educate students to become thoughtful, collaborative members of society who seek just and peaceful solutions to today’s issues. That value incorporates teaching students to think critically about global issues. It also entails social and emotional learning - teaching students to get along with others, to understand their own and others’ emotions, to navigate differences skillfully, and to seek common ground intentionally.

We also strive to support spaces for young people that the rest of the world has long struggled to create - spaces where Jewish and Palestinian students, for instance, can learn and grow together, where straight and LGBTQ+ students can together be embraced and find acceptance, where students across all racial and cultural lines can compare and share their life experiences. 

These are not easy times. And as an educational institution our role in the face of difficult world events is to shape and support the next generation to understand the events, to have compassion for innocent victims, and to work towards peaceful communities for all.

I want to remind you that we have mental health resources available for students who may be struggling because of the violence in the mid-East right now. Please see our Mental Health Resources page for a listing of counseling services available at our school sites and in the community or speak to your student’s teacher or principal for guidance. We also provide  resources on anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and talking to children about war and violence in general on our Tools for Family Conversations web page.

For employees seeking support, I’d like to remind you that we have a new Employee Assistance Program through Claremont that offers counseling, online peer support groups, and 24-hour crisis help. Information about that program is available on our Employee Benefits web page.

Moving forward, we pledge to continue to be alert to the ways in which we can support our community members during this very difficult time. 

Let's work together to take care of each other, and to watch over and support all of our students, and to hopefully model peace, acceptance, and unity locally in a way that seems to be increasingly elusive in both our world and our country at the moment. 

Pasquale Scuderi


Alameda Unified School District