Black Lives Matter

Mount Tamalpais School is committed to actively building, engaging, and supporting a diverse and inclusive community. Our commitment starts with the daily education of our students and continues into how our students relate to the larger community and world. Teachers are discussing recent events with our students in lower and middle school Zoom gathers, using morning meetings and advisory to share current events and hear directly from students, and demonstrating our support, most recently at the Marin City protest march on June 2.

Our Head of School Andrew Davis sent this letter to the MTS community earlier this week, which you can read in full below.


Dear MTS Community,

A few weeks ago, I blocked time on my calendar this week to write my upcoming commencement address. That time, though, has quickly disappeared as I read, think, and now write about the murder of George Floyd. Commencement is more than a week away; there is still time to write to our impressive Class of 2020. I cannot, though, wait any longer to share with the Mount Tamalpais School community the outrage that I feel knowing what has happened to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Any further silence from me, as the leader of our community, would further harm our community and undercut any advice that I have for our soon to be graduates.

What we witnessed in these recent crimes and so many that have come before is the result of overt and systemic racism. As I reflect on the individuals in the latest news, I want to pause and acknowledge the pain and suffering that is everywhere. I personally move through complicated feelings of sadness, shame, anger, and outrage as I steep myself in the experiences and vulnerabilities of others. Whether we know someone personally or learn from others that choose to share their experience more publicly, there is no escaping what so clearly stands before all of us. Racism is, in fact, omnipresent. Systemic racism has emerged from our nation’s legacy of slavery and segregation and our unwillingness to confront the racist rebar that holds up so many of society’s structures. Before George Floyd’s death was in the headlines, racism was evident in the spread and impact of COVID-19. We don’t have far to look. The poorest areas of Marin have seen the greatest number of cases. And before COVID, racism has always been built into the fabric that exists in inequalities of housing, healthcare, and education. 

George Floyd’s murder and the protests across the nation demand that we examine the communities in which we live. We must define what it means to be a just and equal community and stand in solidarity with those who are not afforded the same privileges. How do we best educate our children about systemic racism and empower them to act for change? My colleagues at Mount Tamalpais School have been sharing resources with one another, attending peaceful protests, and leaning into difficult conversations with each other and with our students. These educators inspire me. An 8th grader who spoke out strongly to her classmates about racism and her life inspires me. Students that describe teachers as allies inspire me. And, the process of becoming that every one of our students is engaged in inspires me.

The better future that we all deserve will require action. As the Head of School, I am committed to action on the part of Mount Tamalpais School. Our professional community will continue to engage in anti-bias education as we have done over the past years with Dr. Lori Watson and Alison Park, experts in the field. Our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee will strengthen its focus on offering curricula grounded in multiple voices, perspectives, and experiences, among other initiatives. We will grow the diversity of our student and professional communities. The work will be deep – some might call it hard – but the result will be great. The need is immediate. 

In the hours and days ahead, we will share resources for discussing these topics with your children via Parent Square. In the coming school year, our students will be more actively engaged in lessons about being anti-racist in developmentally appropriate ways. As a parent, I acknowledge that my privilege as a white male raising white boys in Marin has made crucial conversations optional. To be anti-racist, I must actively have these conversations with my boys regularly. It is not an option. I will do this both as a parent and as a school leader.

Mount Tamalpais School community, thank you for joining me in this critical work. Together – in our homes and our school – we can create a better future marked by equity and inclusion.

Andrew Davis

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