As we consider all that is confounding and confronting our city, state, country and world today, we are reminded of the powerful conversations surrounding race and racism that our school district’s School Climate Committee has been sponsoring over the past few years and wanted to take a moment and provide some guidelines we’ve found helpful for discussing tragic events with children.
Start a conversation with your child.
Be aware of/limit your child’s exposure to news media and social networking outlets.
Assess what your child knows. Address the tough stuff if your children bring it up. They might see it on TV or hear about it at school and then you have to deal with it. Be aware that younger students (like many other folks) may react with deep emotion, may not react at all, or their reaction may fall somewhere in between.
Keep conversations simple. Children are often reassured when they understand the precautions that are in place that make their world safer.
Ask questions. Don't assume you know how your child feels. Instead, get at their understanding of what happened. They might be afraid -- or just curious. You can help them share their feelings by asking things like 'What did you hear? What do you think? What can I help you with? If they are scared, ask what they're afraid of - don't assume you know. Correct any misconceptions, and then offer assurance.
Let them know that each of their feelings makes sense, and that it's ok to feel whatever they're feeling. Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress. Assure them that it is also ok to put feelings away for a while, and allow a healthy distraction (bike ride, an outdoor 6’ chat with a friend, or outside family game) to bring some comfort.
Conduct your own research. We’ve started a list here for you to consider.
The following links provide additional information about responding to traumatic events:
Statement from Bexley Schools Superintendent Dr. Miller
The following message was sent to our community on June 2, 2020.
The events across our nation and here in Columbus and Ohio have weighed on all of us over the past few days. They have drawn attention to deep-seated issues of racism and hatred that we must address as a society.
In Bexley Schools, our mission statement speaks to the importance of engaging, equipping, and empowering each student because we value individuality and inclusiveness. Never have those ideals been more important for our focus than now. Our nation and our people are hurting and calling for all of us to be part of making our society safe and supportive for each person.
As a public school district, we are integral to the society that we are building through the development of our students. We are fortunate to have some diversity in our student body and staff, but we are a predominately white school district and have an obligation to educate our students and work with our staff on the role we can play in helping to dismantle racism.
As we move forward, we need to continue conversations that we have begun about building our collective respect and value for our differences and how those strengthen us. We need to have conversations with our students and staff because there is hurt, especially among our students and staff of color.
I don’t know all the answers, but I do know that there are times where silence is not okay. That is why I am reaching out to you now. I would like you to know that as educators who care for and develop young people, we can be part of a solution that leads to a world where each individual is valued and treated with respect. It will take bold action to achieve the world we want, but our young people deserve it and need us to take those bold actions.
Thank you for your dedication to our students and for your role in building a better and kinder tomorrow.