Read Dr. Flores's important message to the community regarding the events that transpired at the state capitol on January 6, 2021.
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January 7, 2021
Dear Evergreen Community,
The current events unfolding at our Nation's Capitol have sent a shockwave across our nation. While we are still processing this most concerning turn of events, I want to share with our community how we, as educators, are addressing students' educational and emotional needs, while providing them a safe and supportive environment to engage in discussions about these events.
The images and information that students are seeing and hearing on the news can be confusing and disturbing and can exacerbate the stresses and anxiety that are occurring due to the pandemic. Our teachers recognize that students may be processing this in different ways.
Yesterday, I shared suggestions and ideas with principals on how our principals and teachers can collaborate to address students' questions and concerns in an educational, factual, and student-centered manner. Education is important to democracy, and as educators, we understand what an important role that our approach plays in developing our next generation of voters and engaged citizens. We seek to encourage constructive discussions about our current events and model civil discourse. Being very mindful of the age and grade level of the students, the current events are a teachable moment for our young people.
We also recognize that our parents may be at a loss for how to discuss these events with their child when approached with questions or their child's opinions about what is happening. I encourage families to create a space for dialogue as this is not only a teaching opportunity but also important for a child's sense of security and well-being. Here are some question prompts that you can use in a discussion with your child. Keep in mind that depending on the age of your child and what they have learned in school, that some questions may be better suited for older children.
- How are you doing? Do you have any thoughts, comments, or reactions to events that happened in Washington D.C. on January 6? (Open a discussion)
- What have you observed since the election in November?
- How should our leaders be talking to each other?
- How are you feeling? If you are feeling anxious, upset, angry, etc..., what might help these feelings?
- What have you learned from your teachers that may help you process what is happening?
- Talk about wrong actions over labeling people as bad (latter is confusing for younger kids)
- Give them the space to ask questions.
- Provide reassurance and make sure they know they're safe
- Articulate the facts: what happened, what are some reasons? What is the current status of the election, including congress?
- Model inclusive dialogue.
- Your child may not share your point of view. This is a wonderful opportunity to model ways that people can engage in a discussion and have differing viewpoints, and agree to disagree while finding ways to understand each other's viewpoint. A great question to ask is, "Why do you feel that way?"
- Stating emotions, rather than displaying emotions is always better – it allows for true dialogue.
- And remember, adult feelings are not always the same as those of our young people.
Below are some resources that may be helpful as we all have conversations over the next few days. I also encourage all of us to take a balanced approach to media consumption and to prioritize our own well being - physically and emotionally.
- Having Difficult Conversations with your Child
- ESD Mental Health and Wellness Website
- Talking To Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers
Thank you, and please contact my office if you need any additional assistance or resources to assist you with facilitating and navigating these conversations.
Dr. Emy Flores