The superintendents of Boston Public Schools and St. Paul Public Schools in Minnesota offered counseling support and other resources to students and teachers in need of it. In Denver, counselors were made available at public schools for students — many of them Latinos — and Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools sent a message saying in part:
It is through education that we can better understand our past and grapple with the issues of today, including those that are dividing us. That we encourage more and not less dialogue about deep differences and bias in our country around race and ethnicity and class. That we challenge ourselves as to how we can move forward to make our country better.In that process, it’s important that we don’t demonize those we disagree with — no individual or party has a monopoly on wisdom. We should seek to understand the diverse views and perspectives of all members of our community.
Students at the University of California at Berkeley received an email from the administration saying that counseling support was available, while students at Berkeley High School and other high schools in California marched out of class in protest. Other demonstrations took place on various campuses around the country.
Here are just a few of the messages that were sent Wednesday that were aimed at calming fears in school communities:
From Boston Public Schools, Superintendent Tommy Chang issued this letter:
November 9, 2016
Dear Boston Public Schools Family,Our country is experiencing historic change today. There will be much conversation around the results of yesterday’s presidential election. Many of our students and fellow educators are still processing the outcome. It is important today to be strong for our students and each other. We honor our democratic values and traditions and we will carry on with our mission to educate, support and prepare our students for success.The coming days and weeks may be challenging for many, and celebratory for others. As educators, we should use this opportunity as a teachable moment to have conversations with our students about the democratic process, how we can resolve differences and conflicts, and how we can address diverse and sometimes conflicting ideology. We need to remember our Culture of We as we continue our vital work. We must ensure that our students feel safe by providing safe and respectful learning communities.We are fortunate to live in a democracy where we can hold these conversations even if we disagree with the outcome. We as adults need to monitor our behaviors; we want to demonstrate compassion, empathy, and support for students and colleagues.Resources from Teaching Tolerance, a project by the Southern Poverty Law Center, about handling the day after the 2016 election are available here. Additional resources will be posted to the BPS homepage and Social Emotional Learning and Wellness website.As we engage in discourse, it is essential to emphasize the social emotional learning hallmarks:Self-awareness: How am I personally feeling?
Social-awareness: How are others feeling?
Self-management: How will I behave now that I know how I am feeling, and how others might be feeling?
Relationship-building: How will I interact with others based upon what I know about their feelings?
Responsible decision-making: What actions will I take to appropriately express my feelings in a way that is also respectful of how others might be feeling?The Boston Public Schools Behavioral Health Department is available to support students who may be having a difficult time processing any fears or concerns they may have. Additionally, the Employee Assistance Program is available to support City of Boston employees’ well-being.Thank you to everyone for being your best self today. Your leadership will help our students feel safe, welcomed, and respected.Sincerely,
Superintendent Tommy Chang
From Saint Paul Public Schools, Superintendent John Thein issued this letter to families:
Dear Saint Paul Public Schools Families,
The United States experienced a historic change with this year’s election. Many people are still processing the outcome. Today, while at school, many students expressed their feelings about the results of the election.
I’m writing today to remind you that SPPS remains fully committed to its values of racial equity and inclusion — which means supporting the right of all students to express their feelings and opinions, respectfully.
As educators, we will continue to have conversations with our students about the democratic process, how we can resolve differences and conflicts by working together, and how we can be better citizens. Whether we disagree with the outcome of the Presidential race or support it, we are fortunate to live in a democracy where we can have these conversations.
Our mission, to provide “a premier education for all,” calls us to help ensure all SPPS families are supported in our schools and community. If you need assistance in addressing questions about the election with your student, please contact your school’s counselor or social worker.
From Denver Public Schools, Superintendent Tom Boasberg issued the following message to the community:
Dear DPS Community,We in the Denver Public Schools wake up today grateful to the Denver community for their generosity and investment in our kids and in the future of Denver. At the same time, we also wake up to a country painfully divided and hurt after a divisive election season, in some parts excited and in others very fearful for the future.Although this election season has reminded us of how far we have to go as a country to reach our nation’s ideals and to heal our wounds, I deeply believe that we as a community and as a country have far more in common than what divides us. And, it forcefully reminds us of the importance of our mission in DPS. Education can help us bridge our differences and can help bring us together around respect and understanding rather than fear. For us to move forward as a community, our mission is more important than ever.It is through education that we can better understand our past and grapple with the issues of today, including those that are dividing us.That we encourage more and not less dialogue about deep differences and bias in our country around race and ethnicity and class. That we challenge ourselves as to how we can move forward to make our country better.In that process, it’s important that we don’t demonize those we disagree with — no individual or party has a monopoly on wisdom. We should seek to understand the diverse views and perspectives of all members of our community.And, in doing so, we should not hesitate to emphasize how deeply we believe in our core values of equity and inclusion, respect for the dignity and worth of all members of our community. We will fight for these values and advocate for our kids and the families we serve, and the educators we serve with. We value every student and every educator. Each of you is a vital part of our community, and we will advocate for you and work passionately to ensure your success and well-being.We encourage students, families and educators to talk, to create safe spaces where hopes, fears and differences can be raised — spaces where we can challenge each other to reach common ground on issues that divide us. In support of these conversations, we wanted to provide a set of resources for educators and families.Thank you all for your dedication and commitment to our kids.
From Arts & Letters, a small K-8 public school in Brooklyn, the PTA sent out this to parents:
A message from your PTA for families grades K-8A Time to be Together – 3:15 pm – 4pm at A&L/PS 20 PlaygroundToday at A&L morning meetings, teachers assured our children that their voices are heard, that they are seen, that they are part of a community of care. As a parent effort to be together and with our young people after the election results, join A&L families and teachers on the playground tomorrow – Thursday – after school to be by example the inclusive, supportive community we wish for all.Bring healthy snacks to share!THURSDAY, Nov 10th, 3:15-4pm
Community Care Speak Out / Listen-In, Affirming UnityPS 20 / A&L Playground* Free (consenting) hugs
* Speak out by powerful girls and moms and all
* Chalk party to show and grow where the love is
* Mindfulness Breathing and Movement
* Healthy snacks (potluck-style! – please bring)
* Fresh water
* Letter writing
* Parent resources
* All of usWe are all in this together. Some people are feeling more vulnerable. We will have some time to listen to the kids, and create a space of care.“This is the end of nothing. This is the beginning of something new and solemn and so important. You must be part of what comes next.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
From Hearst Elementary School in the Washington D.C., where students had held a mock election in which Hillary Clinton was elected president, Principal Jen Thomas sent out this:
Good morning Owls,Given the results of the mock election at Hearst, we knew our kids needed some time this morning to process the results of our national election. Teachers used their morning meeting time to speak with kids about their feelings. Many kids felt scared, angry, sad, disappointed, and alienated by the results and there were tears in quite a few classrooms. Kids were particularly concerned about the fate of their friends in the Hearst Community and whether or not they would be able to remain in the US. We used this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-should-we-tell-the-children_us_5822aa90e4b0334571e0a30b?ncid=engmodushpmg00000006[huffingtonpost.com]) as a starting point for those conversations and I’m also including a list of books in our library dealing with peace, tolerance and empathy. Some of these titles may help our kids process the election results and Ms. Vandivier can help get these resources for you if you’re interested.Thanks and please reach out with any questions,Jen
From Wesleyan University in Connecticut, President Michael Roth sent this to the school community:
Dear friends,Early this morning when it became clear that Donald Trump would become our president-elect, my thoughts shifted from the good of the country to the good of the University. An international student here, and a friend, texted Kari to ask if the University would be alright. Yes, we will. This election has heightened feelings of alienation and vulnerability. The pain of targeted groups is real, and we must acknowledge it and work to mitigate its effects. But we will be alright because we will continue to strive to build the inclusive community that rejects white supremacy, bigotry and fear; we will be alright because we will express our care for one another in a context of fairness.It just so happens that in my class on Virtue and Vice this week, we are focusing on how some artists retreated from the public realm after the crushing failures of the revolutions of 1848 in Europe. Around that time, Karl Marx wrote: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves.” But many great poets, novelists and painters grew bitterly ironic about making history and the possibilities of progress. Recognizing that there are no guarantees about who was going to end up on the “right side of history,” they became cynical about change, detaching themselves from any possibility for a meaningful work in the public sphere.My friends, we must resist any temptation to abandon the public sphere to those who would return to a past in which people of color, women and queer folk were even more systematically excluded from access to basic rights. As engaged participants in the polity, we have to remain vigilant to protect the people and values we care about. This is not the time to close one’s eyes or to stop listening. We need more conversation across political and cultural differences – and we need new modes of engagement. Faculty, staff and students will be thinking hard about this in the coming days and weeks. We must continue to work to defend those who are disenfranchised and oppressed, and to create opportunities for greater numbers of people.Cynicism and irony are too easy a response to disappointment. Regardless of political affiliation, we can work together—beyond the university—to solve specific problems and create opportunities. And here on campus, we will create a community that offers opportunities to all our students, staff and faculty to thrive, to be challenged, to be at home.Michael S. Roth
From Berkeley High School in California, where students walked out in protest of Trump’s victory:
Administrators who are with students at UC Berkeley report that they have been peacefully protesting and speaking since their arrival. We also have some recent information that other area high schools may be joining our students at UC Berkeley. While we have no specific concerns or information about anything negative occurring or being planned during what has been an overwhelmingly peaceful demonstration, we are concerned that as the day progresses at UC Berkeley and in the downtown area, more and more adults, groups, and organizations will join the demonstration.Thus, we feel it is our responsibility to notify parents that our control over the proceedings out in the community, and our ability to supervise students off campus will likely diminish as the day grows and other groups join. As a result, we want to encourage all students to return to campus now that lunch is over, and are asking parents to help us by texting or calling your students and asking them to return. Administrators and safety staff with them will be relaying this same message.Thank you for your cooperation and we will continue to stay in communication via phone and email with you all.BHS Administration
Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, issued this statement:
The American Council on Education (ACE) congratulates Donald J. Trump on his election as the nation’s 45th president. I join more than 4,000 college and university presidents and other higher education leaders across the country in wishing President-elect Trump well as he prepares to embark on his term in January and address the many challenges facing our nation at home and abroad. The entire higher education community looks forward to working with the Trump administration on key issues such as expanding access to educational opportunity, increasing levels of attainment and supporting cutting-edge research and innovation.
Correction: Wesleyan is in Connecticut, not Ohio.