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MMCC Letter to Bangor Schools Superintendent

September 9, 2020

Dr. Betsy Webb, Superintendent
Bangor School Department
73 Harlow St.
Bangor, ME 04401

Dear Superintendent Webb:

The Maine Multicultural Center (MMCC) commends you and the Bangor School Department for your response to the incident involving the misuse of a teacher’s online instruction, the subsequent mistreatment of the teacher, and disturbing reactions to the content of the instruction. We wholeheartedly endorse your statement, “Everyone needs support and kindness during these challenging times.”   

As you know, the MMCC is committed to breaking down the walls of misunderstanding and mistrust among our community when it comes to seeing anyone as “the other” rather than as a neighbor. One of the ways we actively promote this commitment is through education, whether it is teaching English to a newly arrived immigrant or instructing teachers on how to address questions of diversity and yes, privilege, in the classroom. As we have stated in the past, we strongly support Bangor School Department for taking on the challenge of addressing these topics in Bangor schools. It is only through dialogue that we bridge divides, dispel myths, and build a stronger, more economically vibrant and diverse community. Incidents like the one that occurred last week only demonstrate that our work is not done; in fact, it is only beginning.

These are trying times for educators, students, and parents. We must do what we can to be supportive of the efforts to navigate new paths of teaching that bring to the fore issues related to equity, diversity, and human rights. We must recognize that denigrating or threatening a teacher for doing his or her job to promote a more tolerant learning environment is unacceptable. We need to work together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Vicki Rusbult, President
Maine Multicultural Center Board of Directors