A Minnesota school district with a history of pushing social-justice rhetoric on students and staff maintains a “George Floyd fence” on one of its campuses.
According to photos and videos posted on Facebook, Intermediate District 287 first created the tribute shortly after Floyd’s death last year and “refreshed” the memorial on the one-year anniversary of his passing.
“What a great way to honor the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder,” the district said on Facebook along with pictures of its “George Floyd fence” at the South Education Center in Richfield.
That same day, Superintendent Sandy Lewandowski encouraged teachers and staff to participate in a nine-minute moment of silence to “honor George Floyd and every person whose life has been cut short due to systems of racism and discrimination in Minnesota.”
“I ask our school leaders and staff to help make this moment of silence possible for as many people as possible,” she said. “We keep George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and the many other Black people killed at the hands of police in our memory. In our school district, we will continue to stand for racial justice and teach, lead, listen and grow into greater racial consciousness.”
Schools across the state participated in the moment of silence at the urging of Gov. Tim Walz, a former teacher.
Just this month, the Pulitzer Center announced that Intermediate District 287 would be joining the inaugural cohort of “The 1619 Project Education Network.”
At the beginning of the school year, Lewandowski told teachers and staff to look for new jobs if they were “indifferent to racial equity and anti-racist work.”
“My promise to you is this: I will interrogate my whiteness and my anti-blackness. I will have bold and courageous conversations with the leaders of our school and with the district,” she said. “I will be curious and open and reflect on my own fragility and defensiveness. And I will create a culture where talking about race and confronting systems of whiteness is the norm.”