Supporting Students: Racial Justice
Many in our community feel fear, rage, pain, grief, anger, sadness, disgust, numbness, despair, and many other emotions related to racial violence.
The events to come in the weeks to follow may only exacerbate an already tremendously painful reality. We are not OK. Our students are not OK. Our staff are not OK. Communities that are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are suffering deeply, and we are suffering as a people.
The webpage is dedicated to supporting our families related to race and racial trauma.
Safe classrooms focused on relationships
This week and the weeks to come will be anything but normal for our staff, families, and community. Our classrooms will not be normal either. District 287 will focus on relationships, Social-Emotional Learning, processing current events, community healing, and community-building. We have asked our educators to talk about race in the classroom, create safe spaces for student voices to be heard, and support young people to process their emotions and experiences related to current events. Typical instruction will move to the back burner to prioritize what’s most important right now.
How are we supporting students?
- At school we strive to provide students a safe place to express their opinions and talk through their feelings without fear of judgement. In some cases, teachers may use current events such as this to teach lessons on peaceful conflict resolution, the role of protest in society or creating change in the face of tough societal events.
- Students, their families and our staff have many different perspectives about the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death, law enforcement’s response and the community’s response to the situation as a whole.
- Intermediate District 287 and our schools respect the First Amendment rights of our students to express themselves while at school.
- We intend to listen to our students and ask open-ended questions so we can better understand their perspectives, always with the developmental age of students in mind.
- School social workers and other adults are available to speak with students about the trial as needed.
We also know that the trial may spark more community activism, such as vigils and protests. Hennepin County and a number of metro area cities are heightening security measures and taking precautions to ensure everyone stays as safe as possible. Should your student(s) participate in community activities, please stay safe.
Please contact your student’s school if you have questions about how we will be supporting students.
Below are resources that remain relevant to the current situation.
- University of Minnesota Community Resource: Recommendations and Resources for Supporting Students Before, During, and After the Chauvin Trial
- How to Talk About Traumatic Events and Tragedies (MDE)
- Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators (NCTSN)
- Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Disasters and Other Traumatic Events (NIMH)
- School Climate, Safety, and Crisis (NASP)
- What To Say To Kids When The News Is Scary (NPR)
- Resources to Help Educators, Adults Respond to Racism, Violence and Trauma webpage.
Our intention to keep schools open
Foremost in my mind are the students who depend on school as the place for connection, safety, community, processing, and healing. We intend to keep our schools open for our students, yet we always need to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances that may impact our ability to hold in-person learning safely. We will closely monitor our staffing levels, knowing that both increased COVID-19 rates and current events may affect them on some level. Our goal is to communicate any changes to our school schedules to staff and families by 6:00 a.m. at the latest.