• Dear Constituents, Staff, and Students,

    We failed. On behalf of Coeur d’Alene Public Schools, I would like to apologize for the circumstances surrounding the district’s mishandling of the vandalism that occurred in early June at Lake City High School. This repugnant act of disregard, disrespect, and spreading of hate language was completely unacceptable, and we continue to investigate it to see if we can find the individual(s) that perpetrated this act and hold them accountable. However, the manner in which we, as a school district, responded to this situation was not up to anyone’s standard, including mine.

    Vandalism such as this needs to be reported to district officials and law enforcement as soon as it’s discovered, and then removed as quickly as possible. Discovering that there was a failure to immediately take these actions over the summer is deeply disappointing.

    We have identified several areas to improve. A thorough and complete investigation of this event has now taken place and we have learned of several opportunities in which we can do better. We are addressing our internal failures by clarifying expectations of staff responsible for investigations and by building common processes for internal and external reporting of incidents. We will provide training for staff and students to emphasize a culture of empathy and understanding for others and fostering an emotional sense of well-being for all students. In addition, we will analyze and review our curriculum to determine if gaps exist in areas of human rights, tolerance and hate speech.

    We must do better. We will do better for our constituents who trust us every day with their most valuable and precious assets, their children. We will do better for our staff and teachers who work endless hours to provide a rich, deep, and well-rounded educational experience for our kids. We will do better for members of our citizenry who have worked tirelessly to rid this
    amazing community of any and all remnants of tolerance for hate speech and hate groups. Most importantly, we will do better for our students, who grow and benefit from us being highly effective moral and ethical exemplars during the most formative years of their lives.

    We are committed to the improvement of this district and see this as an opportunity to have a larger impact. We want to reframe the conversation around hate and intolerance and create a culture of kindness, empathy, and acceptance. Please join us in this conversation. Together we can create a better tomorrow for our kids and community. If you want to be a part of this cause, please contact me directly at scook@cdaschools.org

    Dr. Steven Cook
    Superintendent of Schools