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Statement on Antisemitic Remark by School Committee Member Hoey & His Subsequent Resignation

Statement on Resignation of School Committee Member Robert Hoey

 

February 26, 2021

 

Dear Lowell Public Schools Students, Families and Staff, 

 

I received Robert Hoey’s official resignation from the School Committee earlier today and forwarded it to the Mayor with a recommendation that it be accepted immediately. Words and actions have consequences, and public officials must be held to the highest of standards.

 

Thank you to every member of our community who spoke out against this hateful act - there is no place in Lowell, or in any community, for bigotry in any form. Though former Committee Member Hoey no longer holds public office, moving forward, we must remain a united front because the work is not done.

 

A dehumanizing antisemitic slur like this is not only deeply offensive to members of the Jewish community, it is damaging to members of all communities, particularly those who have been similarly targeted. And as a community we must acknowledge that this is not an isolated incident. Though the resignation of Mr. Hoey is a critical first step, his resignation does not solve the deeply rooted issues of bigotry and systematic racism in our community. In the days ahead, we must collectively commit to the ongoing work of engaging in courageous conversations - and truly bind together as a community to eradicate all forms of antisemitism, racism, anti-immigrant sentiment and bias-based conduct.

 

As painful as this incident was, it’s essential that we learn and grow from this experience to emerge even stronger. Our students and families are counting on us and I am confident that we can deliver on our commitment, together, as one district, one community, one Lowell.

 

Sincerely, 

 Dr. Boyd Signature  

Dr. Joel D. Boyd 

Superintendent of Schools

 


 

Statement on Antisemitic Remark by School Committee Member Hoey

 

February 25, 2021

 

Dear Lowell Public Schools Students, Families and Staff, 

 

As many of you are aware, during a live appearance on the “City Life” television show Wednesday morning, Robert Hoey, one of our School Committee members, used a deeply offensive, antisemitic slur in referring to the District’s former Chief Financial Officer.

 

As your superintendent, I want to be clear that there is no place in our community - whether in the boardroom, on television, or in the classroom - for antisemitism, racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, or any other form of bias-based conduct. The word used by Committee Member Hoey on City Life was abhorrent and unacceptable in any setting.

 

As a Jewish man, like many members of our Jewish community in Lowell and beyond, yesterday’s incident was deeply hurtful and resurfaced past personal experiences with bigotry. Growing up, I witnessed my mother targeted with the same slur Committee Member Hoey used, and while I was too small to understand its meaning, I could see the profound pain in my mother’s face. Mr. Hoey’s remark was also damaging to members of other communities who have been similarly targeted. I want to thank the many members of our community who have spoken up and reached out to offer their support.

 

I want to reassure our students, families and staff that Committee Member Hoey’s words yesterday do not reflect the environments we foster within our classrooms, schools or District. Since 2019, we have been continuously working to strengthen our policies and practices on non-discrimination, anti-harassment and anti-racism in the effort to create safe and welcoming learning environments. Our fundamental commitments to equity are codified within our strategic plan and underpin every action we take as an organization.

 

I spoke with Committee Member Hoey one-on-one this morning. I expect he will personally address his actions and actively engage in upcoming anti-racism and anti-bias training that is being coordinated by our Office of Educational Equity and Community Empowerment. I trust in his commitment to never use a slur of any kind again, publicly or privately. Bigotry can never be tolerated or normalized.

 

As administrators, educators, employees, or elected officials, we are role models for the students we serve. As leaders, we are counted on to conduct ourselves professionally, with decency and dignity - our children deserve nothing less.

 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Boyd signature

Dr. Joel D. Boyd 

Superintendent of Schools