U.S. Capitol Riot Statement

This was an extraordinary moment in U.S. history, but it was not a proud moment.


Dear Members of the Pomfret School Community,

Last evening, students and faculty met virtually for our first School Meeting since the conclusion of the fall term. While our physical distance from one another was a sad reminder of the enduring impact of Covid-19, it was comforting to be back in a communal space.

The events that had transpired in this country in the hours before our gathering made it even more difficult to be apart, as our ability to comfort one other at a time of genuine strife and angst — something so central to the Pomfret ethos — was diminished by distance.

Yesterday, what was supposed to have been the next step in the peaceful transition of power within the United States government descended into chaos when thousands of protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. 

The outcome of this egregious act was the temporary suspension of the certification of the electoral process, as lawmakers sheltered in place or were evacuated. Numerous people were injured, including at least 14 police officers. One woman died of a gunshot wound. Three more died after suffering medical emergencies. Some lawmakers described the event as the single most terrifying experience of their lives.

This is an extraordinary moment in U.S. history, but it is not a proud moment. It has stirred up a range of emotions. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful assembly and protest, but that is not what happened yesterday. I am deeply saddened and troubled by these events, and my prayers go out to the families of the four people who tragically lost their lives during the course of the protests. 

Pomfret School is apolitical, but we are not amoral. As our core values clearly state, we stand for respect and compassion. We stand for sincerity, honesty, and civility. We stand for love, not hate; for the rule of law, not criminality; for peace, not violence; and for unity, not divisiveness. At Pomfret, it is our job to teach students how to disagree respectfully and to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world.

So, at the dawn of a new year, we recommit ourselves to this work. We recommit ourselves to defending what is fundamentally good and right in the world. We recommit ourselves to educating future generations of citizens and leaders who will carry our core values — Community, Growth, Integrity — and our motto — Certa Viriliter (strive valiantly) — beyond the confines of this Hilltop to help heal a nation and a world that needs the best we all have to offer.

I wish you all good health and peace.


Tim Richards P ’15
Head of School


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