Date: January 30, 2024

Dear Parents and Staff,

I would like to address the recent disturbing incidents of threatening racist graffiti discovered in
our school bathrooms with more detail and clarity.

I want to begin by extending my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed to identifying
the individual responsible for these reprehensible acts. Your cooperation, vigilance, and
support have been invaluable in swiftly addressing these issues and upholding the values of our school community. It takes everyone to create and maintain a safe and discrimination-free
environment, and I am proud of the students and staff who took action and came forward. Your
actions demonstrated true character and a commitment to a better world.

It is disheartening and deeply concerning that such incidents occurred within our schools.
However, I am immensely proud of our community's response to standing together against
racism and violence. We have taken decisive actions to address the situation, including taking
disciplinary measures against the perpetrator and implementing educational initiatives to
reinforce our unwavering commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and respect for all.

Regrettably, two additional incidents were discovered in the last 24 hours. First, a similar
message to the one reported at Peasley Middle School was found at Page Middle School in a
restroom yesterday afternoon. Second, a message of hatred directed at the African American
Community was found on a bathroom stall at Gloucester High School. The incident at Page
Middle School was reported immediately, and the investigation is expected to be completed
tomorrow. The message of hatred at Gloucester High School is also under investigation, and the restroom has been closed. Rest assured, we are actively investigating these incidents, and every effort is being made to ensure that those responsible are held accountable in accordance with state guidance and the Student Code of Conduct.

Threats of violence and racism have absolutely no place in our schools, and we are steadfast in
our dedication to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff members. We
denounce these behaviors in the strongest terms possible. In addition to disciplinary actions,
we have implemented rigorous measures such as regular bathroom checks, enhanced
counseling sessions, and comprehensive educational programs to promote inclusivity, empathy, safety, and kindness throughout our school community. Further, we are partnering with the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities to address prejudices and racism to improve local trust, academic achievement, and an environment that welcomes all.

While I recognize more work needs to be done, I stand firm in reassuring our community that
these behaviors do not represent Gloucester County Public Schools. Each year, students and
staff complete the Virginia Department of Education School Climate and Working Conditions
Surveys. These surveys are important because they empower students and staff to respond on several issues, including diversity and inclusivity. Our students and staff use this information to recognize areas of growth and identify required improvements. These surveys are also
important because they provide State and Regional averages to compare our progress and take responsibility for areas of improvement. Next, we are developing Student Advisories at every secondary school to listen directly to diverse students as they share their experiences and solicit their advice on addressing these situations.

Students need to understand that we are one community with one goal - to embrace each
other's differences as we prepare for productive citizenship in our community. When one group
is targeted, we are all targeted. These acts threaten our sense of safety and wellbeing, and our
priority is to address them before anything else.

Our investigative capacity has grown, our students have grown, and our commitment to
addressing these issues with purpose and clarity has grown due to these incidents. I urge all
parents to engage in open and meaningful discussions with their children about the importance of respect, empathy, and embracing our differences. I further emphasize that change comes when all of us work together. To that end, if you hear or see something, say something. Our collective efforts and unwavering commitment to these values can foster a safer, stronger, more compassionate, and inclusive community for all.

Thank you again for your ongoing support, cooperation, and partnership in creating a safe,
welcoming, and nurturing environment for every member of the school community.


Dr. Anthony Vladu
Division Superintendent