There is no doubt, that all of us – possibly even our youngest students - are aware of and concerned about the events that have transpired in the last week. Racism, bigotry, violence, trauma, these are all very complex, emotionally-laden topics. Discussions about them can be difficult and impacted by the adult’s background and emotional reactions to events – which could include shock, anger, confusion, fear, frustration, sadness and even hopelessness. But we must discuss these topics with children in age-appropriate ways, without bias and with a moral sense of right and wrong so they can come to an understanding of what is happening.
Like all adults, Waters teachers are determining the best way to do this. CPS has provided guidance and we expect that more will be provided over the coming weeks. Even with that guidance, sensitive, complex topics are hard enough to address face-to-face when we can provide additional support to students who may need it. They are even more difficult to tackle in a virtual context. Thank you for your patience and grace as we do our best. We are committed to making anti-racism an even more important part of our work with children next year when we hope to be back together in person again.
There are things we can do now, though. As a school community, I am asking Waters parents and teachers to commit to:
- Taking care of their own mental/emotional health, as well as that of children.
- Listening to children and talking about race, racial violence, and racism.
- Paying close attention to news, media, and other information sources.
- Working to be actively anti-racist.
I am attaching a list of resources for parents, vetted by our central office, to help you. There are many others available on the internet. As the 2019-20 school year winds down, I ask that we collectively focus upon our shared humanity and that we take time to talk about the root causes of the current protests and the interracial activism. This is a time to come together, to listen, to learn, to share in grief and in hope, and to act for a more just, equitable, and racially conscious world.
Titia M. Kipp