March 28th, 2023
Dear Blue Waves Community,
I, Laurie Downs, am immediately resigning from the Riverhead Board of Education. I think this is an important first step in bringing about the healing of the pain my words have caused. I don’t want my behavior to further distract the leadership of these school districts from providing quality education to all students.
I want to again apologize for the hurt and pain I caused the Brentwood, Riverhead, and other school communities across Long Island. I recognize the harm that my words have caused, and I am truly sorry for that.
I understand that what I said was harmful, hurtful, irresponsible, and not representative of the communities I named. I have heard incredible youth activists, political representatives, alumni, and parents, and I recognize that I was perpetuating stereotypes and stigmatizing already marginalized communities. For that, I am remorseful and deeply, deeply sorry.
I also want to reiterate that the thoughts I expressed do NOT represent the thoughts and values of the other 6 Riverhead Board of Education members. Those thoughts do not represent the opinions of our Superintendent, Administrative Staff, teachers, parents, and students in the Riverhead School District.
When I ran for the school board, I never imagined I would hurt a child. Both Riverhead and Brentwood School Districts whose diversity strengthens these communities not weakens them. I should have instead used my platform to highlight the positive effects that Latino heritage and culture have had on the school districts.