Dr. Marc Gousse, the Superintendent of AOS 91 issued the following statement on Thursday, July 2nd, including the formation of the MDIRSS AOS 91 Anti-Racism Task Force.

As Superintendent of Schools for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System AOS # 91, I join citizens across our nation to express sadness and regret for the senseless murder of George Floyd and other Black Americans. I care deeply about the safety and health of our students, staff, and our communities. With this caring comes a responsibility to denounce violence and brutality while providing justice, education, and equal opportunity for every student - no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender.

I believe in a world of peace, freedom and equal opportunity for all. Equity, inclusion, respect, tolerance and diversity are essential to ensuring a positive climate and culture and providing a safe environment in our schools and communities. To end systemic racism and bias, we must continue to learn and to listen with both an open mind and heart. The work which lies ahead is challenging, but necessary, and to do it well we must do it together.

I am proud to support and be a part of the formation of the MDIRSS AOS # 91 Anti-Racism Task Force. The mission of this task force is to work collaboratively with students, staff, administration and school board members in schools from across our district to identify and implement solutions for addressing concerns about the structural and cultural contributors to racism within our schools. In collaboration with student advocates, I look forward to presenting an overview of the creation, establishment and implementation of this task force at the upcoming MDIRSS AOS # 91 school board meeting on Monday, July 13th.

The foundation for student success centers around building and sustaining a school community whose climate and culture fosters an environment where everyone engages in positive interactions, attitudes and behaviors. A school community free of harassment, discrimination and bias is fundamental to promoting this ideal universally, and without exception, across our district. In addition to the programming and steps presently in place to address diversity, equity and inclusion, I acknowledge and support ideas and steps necessary to effect positive change in combating racism and bias. This work will require significant time, energy and resources to ensure capacity, positive results and sustainability. Please know I am committed to this work and with the continued support of the school board stand as your ally in advancing the work of this task force.

I recognize and acknowledge we have much important work to do. Together, I am confident that one day we can assure all students, no matter their skin color, that they are universally safe, respected and valued. To all of our students, parents and staff, I remain dedicated and committed to you and the advancement of these fundamental civil rights. To our students, parents and staff of color, I proudly stand with you.

As superintendent of schools, and more importantly as a member of the community, I am committed to and proud to be a part of this important work.
Marc Edward Gousse, Ed.D.
MDIRSS AOS # 91 Superintendent of Schools

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