As you know, we are committed to fostering an atmosphere that respects and values every individual within our Rockwood community. I have heard from a number of parents and community members regarding the decision to remove baseball caps at Eureka High School that display a thin blue line flag. We are obligated as a public entity to refrain from advocating for any particular political group or cause, and having any type of political symbol on our uniforms violates district, state and National Federation of State High School Associations policies.
As we shared with members of the Eureka team and their parents, by following these policies, we are not diminishing our support and appreciation for police and all first responders. The Rockwood School District absolutely supports the men and women who are our partners in law enforcement. They are our parents, staff, spouses and community members who put their lives on the line for us every day. We also recognize that the thin blue line represents different things to different people, based upon an individual’s perspective and their unique experiences with law enforcement. Any political or potentially divisive symbol has no place on our uniforms. I assure you that we are reviewing our processes related to the purchase of sports uniforms at all of our schools.
The Rockwood School District is committed to fostering a culture of belonging. We continue to review the district’s policies, practices and systems with an equitable and inclusive lens. The goal of this work is to improve awareness and develop specific strategies that will enable us to move forward effectively and authentically as we strive to meet the needs of all students.
It is important for us to use this situation as a learning opportunity to promote meaningful and respectful dialogue and to grow stronger as a school district and as a community. As adults, our students are looking to us to set an example and advocate for a welcoming environment for all perspectives. Extending respect, compassion and dignity toward all human beings should be our focus. Thank you for your continued partnership in support of all of our students.
Mark T. Miles, Ph.D.