District Response to Squirrel Hill Tragedy

Dear Baldwin-Whitehall School District Families,

On behalf of the entire Baldwin-Whitehall School District, we extend our deepest condolences to those affected by unimaginable tragedy at the Tree of Life synagogue and we grieve together with the families of victims, our neighbors in Squirrel Hill and our friends in the Jewish faith.

To any students, parents or District personnel who are having difficulty coping with this event, I encourage you to talk with our counselors or find a friend you feel comfortable talking to — including me. My door is always open, especially in difficult times like these, so please don't hesitate to reach out.

As teachers and administrators, I know that we do our best each day to live the principles of empathy and inclusivity out loud, serving as living examples for our students, who we hope will grow up to share these values with the world.

These virtues are not rare, but they are also not universal. For some people, empathy and inclusivity can be difficult values to embrace, especially when living in fear, anger or isolation. But just because something is difficult, that doesn't mean we stop trying to make it happen; it just means we have to keep finding new ways forward.

This is one reason why our District feels so strongly about giving our students so many opportunities to live and practice these values of empathy and inclusivity throughout the year, to see the world from multiple perspectives and to find commonality. In adopting numerous programs rooted in social and emotional learning, such as Rachel's Challenge, we find ways to help students engage and channel their feelings or frustrations. My sincere hope is that programs like these help students move past feelings of isolation or fear in order to embrace new opportunities for growth and community.

By learning to see our classmates, coworkers, and neighbors as ourselves, we each take one step closer to living in a stronger, safer, and more loving community. When we value one another despite our differences, the idea of harming another becomes unthinkable, and the things we can accomplish together become infinite.

Sincerely,

Dr. Randal A. Lutz

Superintendent of Schools