Current Events: Resources for Parents and Teachers

April 23, 2021

As a school, we should provide a healthy learning environment where our students receive the support they need to process and discuss complicated issues. 

A great starting point is encouraging our community to have a healthy consumption of news, social media and engage in healthy debates. (Healthy ways to consume news

From Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance):  Don’t Say Nothing.  Silence speaks volumes.  Our community is listening.

Specifically related to the Chauvin case:

This has helpful tips for talking with kids.  While really more for parents, it still applies.  Children were part of the Chauvin trial as witnesses.

This video is helpful.  It is a Fox News segment with a psychologist talking about kids and the trial.

From:  Supporting Students with Traumatic News
Will Wamaru, Proctor Academy, Andover, NH

Know how students are doing and encourage them to prioritize wellness, including seeking support, sleeping well, eating and hydrating, and seeking positive campus experiences. 

Acknowledge explicitly in class and other areas the understanding that the case has a significant impact on people within and outside the country. Having students watch traumatic videos is not advised. Trigger warnings should be given when discussing traumatic topics. Though written in 2012 following the death of Trayvon Martin, these tips remain applicable. 10 ways to talk to students about sensitive topics

Endeavor to role-model self-awareness, emotional self-care, and vulnerability speaking professionally and inclusively about ethical issues, especially those that involve the dignity of life and humanity.

When talking about the case, it would help to ask how students, especially black students, are doing. At the same time, it is not helpful to probe or demand a feeling or a response and honor their choice not to respond. 

Trust the expression that students have regarding traumatic news and experiences by offering them the empathy that demands us as educators.  

Most importantly, seek support from peers when students come to you with challenging emotions and refer them to places they could get better help if they feel ill-equipped or not well placed. E.g., school counselor or advisor. 

Offer check-in opportunities, especially as the case comes close to decision and afterward. 

Specific Examples: Derek Chauvin Trial

As the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for his role in George Floyd's death begins closing arguments on April 19, the school would like to acknowledge the potential impact this trial may have on all members of our community. It is vital to mention that it has a disproportionate impact on BIPOC members of our communities and their families.

Here is an example of a positive impact:

In teaching current events, some educators have failed to use trauma-informed teaching strategies by giving assignments that harmed or received criticism from students and their families. 

Here are some examples of what not to do to process the Derek Chauvin and George Floyd incident and case.


What we're curious about