‘Here together in support’

Superintendent Rosetta Treece addresses impact of ongoing wars in Israel, Gaza and Ukraine

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Hopewell Valley Regional School District (HVRSD) is not immune to the impact on families and students from the Israel-Hamas War and the war in Ukraine.

Superintendent Rosetta Treece delivered a new message to the school community at the school board’s Oct. 16 meeting in response to emails she received after her first message speaking to both wars following the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7, rocket fire in Israel and Gaza, and the ongoing Israel-Hamas War.

“Last week, when I sent a message out to the families about the wars occurring in the Middle East and Ukraine at the time, I really struggled with what to say,” she said, adding that she knew “no matter what I said I probably wouldn’t do it as well as I would have liked to have done it.”

Treece noted that there was something she did want to say in her previous message but did not.

“No child, no family, no one should have to endure the horrors of war, so I absolutely condemn the Hamas attack without reservation, but as a district I hope we stand in solidarity with all families impacted by this war,” she said.

“I hope we stand for our Jewish families and our Palestinian families who are affected by this war; our Ukranian and Russian families on this soil and abroad still being affected by these wars. We do not even talk about what is going on in the continent of Africa.”

Treece stressed that the issues of war and human conflict are very complex.

“We know that many of us struggle on the history depending on who is telling,” she added.

“So, what we can do as a country, what we can do as school district and what I am committed to do is find the best information for our older kids and educate them on how to have discussions around a very difficult topic, so they can understand the geopolitical ramifications of this war.”

Treece explained that the district is committed to helping students lead these conversations and provide resources to parents and caregivers, while also challenging everyone to educate themselves about what is going on in the world.

“There is no room ever for antisemitism, for xenophobia, for anti-Islamic sentiments in this district and in this community at all,” she said.

Board President Anita Williams Galiano expressed that the school board is carrying a heavy heart at this time.

“Because we are on the side of humanity as a body and that is for kids all around the world,” she said. “I just want to share the voice of the board to our community that we are here together in support of each other regardless of your faith, background, or beliefs.”