Educating our learners means taking care of all aspects of a student’s well-being. Below are resources that our staff have specifically identified to support the diverse students we serve.
We know that the lives of our students can be challenging and they come to us because they and/or their families believe we can support them regardless. We want students to feel a true sense of belonging and inclusion at school. We work to destigmatize and normalize the things that others may consider different.
Note: District 287 selectively chooses resources to provide to families. We typically do not promote resources from outside organizations to our students and families.
Talking about current events
- Resources for Talking About Race, Racism, and Racialized Violence with Kids (Center for Racial Justice in Education)
- Talking to Children About Violence (National Association of School Psychologists)
- Talking to Children About Tragedies & Other News Events (American Academy of Pediatrics) - this article also speaks to talking with students with developmental delays, disabilities, and Autism.
- Racism and Violence: How to Help Kids Handle the News (Child Mind Institute)
- Talking to Kids About Racism (The New York Times)
- Perspective: In black families like mine, the race talk comes early and it’s painful. And it’s not optional. (The Washington Post)
Visit the webpage on racial justice.
We welcome and support LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning) students and allies in our schools. We ensure that all students, regardless of gender identity, are provided equal opportunity to participate in all educational programs and activities.
These efforts include:
- Honoring the requests of students and their families to identify students by their preferred name and gender identity in every way possible.
- Providing students access to gender neutral bathrooms or facilities that best align with their gender identity.
- Addressing and opposing harassment and discrimination that targets students for their gender identity.
- Genderbread Person (Hues Global Justice Collective)
- Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Clubs are available at some schools. Contact school support staff, like a school counselor or social worker, for more information.
We are on the journey to becoming a trauma-sensitive school district.
Childhood trauma, including race-related trauma, impacts many children. Experiencing a hate crime, witnessing police brutality, or being subject to racial harassment are all forms of race-related trauma. It can be a one-time event or happen continuously over time. Just like other forms of trauma, it can cause serious effects that can last for generations.
We are proud of the unique and diverse experiences and people that make up our community. Our students and families who are immigrants or refugees form an important part of this diversity. We welcome you with open hearts and open minds.
Our schools are a safe haven for our students, regardless of their immigration status. It is not the role of 287 as an educational organization to ask about the citizenship or immigration status of any of its students or families. Our role is to educate and support students, and to create a safe and welcoming place for them to learn.
Our schools support DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and Dreamers.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people between ages 15 and 24, with about 5,000 lives lost each year.
Warning signs that a teen might be suicidal
- Talking or writing about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” or “I won’t be a problem for you much longer”
- Withdrawing from social contact
- Having mood swings
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
- Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
- Doing risky or self-destructive things
- Giving away belongings when there is no other logical explanation for why this is being done
- Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above
What should I do if I suspect my student is suicidal?
If you think your teen is in immediate danger, call 911, your local emergency number or a suicide hotline number — such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) in the United States.
Hennepin County Mobile Crisis Team supports children 17 and younger who are experiencing a crisis. They will help to de-escalate the crisis, provide a risk assessment, develop a plan to keep your child safe at home, and to offer resources and referrals. Telephone consultation also are available. Call 612-348-2233 to contact Hennepin County.
If you suspect that your teen might be thinking about suicide, talk to him or her immediately. Don’t be afraid to use the word “suicide.” Talking about suicide won’t plant ideas in your teen’s head.
Ask your teen to talk about his or her feelings and listen. Don’t dismiss his or her problems. Instead, reassure your teen of your love. Remind your teen that he or she can work through whatever is going on — and that you’re willing to help.
Also, seek medical help for your teen. Ask your teen’s doctor to guide you. Teens who are feeling suicidal usually need to see a mental heath professional experienced in diagnosing and treating children with mental health problems. The doctor will want to get an accurate picture of what’s going on from a variety of sources, such as the teen, parents or guardians, other people close to the teen, school reports, and previous medical or psychiatric evaluations.
What can I do to prevent teen suicide?
You can take steps to help protect your teen. For example:
- Address depression or anxiety. Don’t wait for your teen to come to you. If your teen is sad, anxious or appears to be struggling — ask what’s wrong and offer your help.
- Pay attention. If your teen is thinking about suicide, he or she is likely displaying warning signs. Listen to what your child is saying and watch how he or she is acting. Never shrug off threats of suicide as teen melodrama.
- Discourage isolation. Encourage your teen to spend time with supportive friends and family.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Help your teen eat well, exercise and get regular sleep.
- Support the treatment plan. If your teen is undergoing treatment for suicidal behavior, remind him or her that it might take time to feel better. Help your teen follow his or her doctor’s recommendations. Also, encourage your teen to participate in activities that will help him or her rebuild confidence.
- Safely store firearms, alcohol and medications. Access to means can play a role if a teen is already suicidal.
Like many in our community, we are overwhelmed with sadness and disbelief by the periodic senseless acts of violence that have taken place in school and communities across the country. Tragedies like these have a profound impact on our country, communities, and our students.
287 will keep their eyes and ears open for students who need support during this time. Our educators, school social workers, school counselors, and school psychologists are on standby to support all students, especially those whose past experiences may make them even more vulnerable during this time.
Resources: How to speak to children about mass violence
- National Association of School Psychologists: Talking to Children About Violence
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Talking to Children About Tragedies & Other News
Events (this article also speaks to talking with students with developmental delays,
disabilities, and Autism)
- Talking to Children about Violence (infographic): National Association of School Psychologists
- Teaching in the Wake of Violence: Facing History and Ourselves
- After a School Shooting: Liberated SEL
- How to Talk to Kids About School Shootings: Child Mind Institute
- Helping Children Cope With Frightening News: Child Mind Institute