The Letter

From SHS Alumni to USD 345 Board of Education

To the USD 345 Board of Education,

We, as alumni, urge you to take immediate action concerning changing the name of our district and buildings that currently share Fred Seaman’s name.

It has long been rumored that USD 345’s founder, Fred Seaman was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. As we all now know that rumor was confirmed last year. It is also critical to note, that during Fred Seaman’s time in our district, he and his fellow Klansmen used their positions of power to push anti-BIPOC, anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQIA+ views into our laws, communities, and even into our schools.

We, as alumni, can no longer sit idly by and watch our Board of Education kick the can down the road while hearing cries for help from students, families, and educators. We listened to students tell their own accounts of being discriminated against because of their racial identity, religious belief, sexual preference, or gender identity.

A community-led process fails to acknowledge that this transgression most directly and most adversely impacts the above-mentioned groups within our schools and community; as such, these groups are the minority and may not be heard or seen in a community-led movement. A majority vote may not represent all individual voices of students or community-members who have felt targeted, intimidated, or unwelcomed in this district.

Without this change, USD 345 will always be known locally and nationally as the district and schools named for KKK leader, Fred Seaman.

We are not looking to change or rewrite our history, but to add to it. We want to show our current and future students, families, and educators that we as a district are willing to improve and stand up for all groups in our community. We do not aim to deny our history, instead learn from it.

It is our hope that the USD 345 School District and Board of Education will take bold action to show our community that hate and intolerance have no place in our schools. Together, with open minds and a desire to learn and improve ourselves, USD 345 can continue to be the same place that has historically produced productive and compassionate members of society. It is our fear that without this change, members of our community with generational racism or hate in their hearts will believe that they represent our community. We fear they will believe that much of our community refuses to accept change.

Many members of the USD 345 community stand, figuratively and literally, in front of you asking that you remove the name of Seaman from our district and community.

We hope this letter encourages you to change the name not because you must, but because it’s the right thing to do.

SHS Alumni

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