As current events continue to remind us, the world can be a frightening place. While we might try to shield our children and our students from some events, we can’t shield them from everything. When exposed to traumatic events, whether personally or through the media, children can display fear and anxiety. And while no conversation can resolve the state of the world, it can reassure children of their support systems and help them process what they are seeing and hearing. The conversations are a critical piece to developing children’s social-emotional skills for the future.
— Amy Fast, Ed.D (@fastcranny) August 17, 2017
Last weekend’s events in Charlottesville, and the political and social turmoil that followed, have many school districts wondering what to do. Do you address it at all? If so how? If you ignore it, what message is that sending? While you’re not along in your questions – we’re all having them – here are some resources that can help.
Resources for talking about Charlottesville:
- ASCD has compiled resources for addressing racism and hatred in the classroom
- The New York Times has compiled a list of quality books that will help you talk to your students and children about Charlottesville
- The American Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project, the Anti-Defamation League and Facing History and Ourselves have teamed up for an August 22 webinar to offer guidance for educators talking about Charlottesville
- The Anti-Defamation League has pulled together a collection of teacher resources for teaching about racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy
Example district responses to Charlottesville:
- Read how Boston Public Schools communicated to their student families
- View a letter Mesa County Valley School District 51 shares with their student families
- The Burbank Unified School District partnered with media to release a response to their local community
Educator perspectives on talking about Charlottesville:
- Access this list of teacher-sourced resources from Education Week
- Zoe Padron, a teacher in Charlottesville, shares her plan for talking with her students
- Read different educator responses to the events in Charlottesville
- Find out how Jefferson County teachers plan to incorporate Charlottesville violence into lesson plans
You can get more ideas about addressing Charlottesville in the classroom by following #CharlottesvilleCurriculum.
— NPR (@NPR) August 14, 2017
This is an important conversation and one that isn’t limited to Charlottesville. It’s pertinent to many state, national and global events. The most important part is that we keep talking, ensuring the lines of communication are open between friends, family, peers, children and students.