Wednesday’s riot at the United States Capitol building by a mob of Trump supporters during a joint session of Congress prompted school district Superintendent Randy Booker to send the following note to PUSD families on Thursday night.
The violent event unfolded during the school day, at a time when many students and teachers in distance learning mode watched the chaotic scene at home. By Thursday, many teachers across the district were giving students an opportunity to reflect and talk about what had happened and the high school Wellness Center convened an online session on Friday at noon for students who wanted a place to “meet” and talk.
Like so many of you, I have been closely following the news and social media about yesterday’s violent actions in our Capitol. As I saw images of violence and rioting, I felt shocked and dismayed. I am relieved to see the strong denouncement of yesterday’s actions from many current and former leaders of our country. I agree with them that violence is not the answer to political disagreement.
I am concerned about the effect of yesterday’s unprecedented events on our educators, students, and families, added to an already stressful school year. I’ve received messages of fear, anxiety, and anger, which is understandable in these uncertain times.
I am encouraging our educators and families to take time to have honest conversations in the classroom and at home, helping our students process these experiences and connect their education to their lives.
Below are several links that serve as resources for educators and families:
- Beyond the Spotlight – Creating Equitable And Caring Classrooms For Children – Resources For Teachers On The Days After The Attack On The U.S. Capitol
- National Association of School Psychologists – Guidance for Ensuring Student Well-Being in the Context of the 2020 Election
Piedmont Unified has always supported free speech, peaceful demonstrations, and the exchange of ideas, and we emphatically condemn acts of violence, hate, and intimidation. We will continue to lead by our values of equity and compassion, and strive to pass those on to our students. I am thankful for our elected officials and first responders who stand courageously in defense of our democracy. They serve as honorable role models for our students.
My hope, as we continue to learn more and begin the healing process from this event and all the events of the last 12 months, is that we can model peace and resilience for our students. Our students and children watch and learn from us. Our fear and anger becomes their fear and anger. Our calm and attentiveness becomes theirs. No matter what the world is experiencing, whether it be COVID or violence on our Capitol, we can model peace to them.
I deeply recognize how challenging the last several months have been for our community and country. I am grateful to serve with such caring and compassionate educators, students, and families. I am humbled each day to serve our students and staff and hope that we can move forward together by caring for one another in such trying times.