It is too often that we find ourselves waking to news of suffering in communities around the world, and today, we are saddened and angered by a hate crime at two mosques in New Zealand. For adults, it can be a challenge to process and filter this flood of information in a functional way; for youth, it is even more difficult as they can be especially vulnerable to the messaging they may receive via media. This event, in particular, has a significant social media presence that is grisly and disturbing. It is my strong suggestion that you filter your student’s access to online images and video that are related to this violence.
At school, we hope to find a balance of acknowledging how students might be feeling with providing a predictable routine -- although today’s Pi/Spy Day celebrations bring us an unusual schedule. In addition, we want to provide a space for students to process their experience, ask questions, and feel connected to others who feel impacted. In an all school meeting that kicked off the day today, we let students know that this hate crime took place, with just brief and factual information. We also let them know that there would be space and resources in the day for students to process their experience, if they want to do so.
In addition to processing and understanding events as they occur in real time, we try to provide ways, in our established curriculum, to teach and learn about human rights and attacks on them as well as the power of activism and compassion. If you would like to know more about the school’s dialogue and investigation of inequities, genocides, and revolutions in history and how we address these topics in class, please feel free to reach out to your students’ teachers. You are also welcome to peruse some of the resources we use regularly, including the Pyramid of Hate and the Universe of Obligation framework.
I am sorry to say that most of you already have the following list of resources, as this is not the first time this year I have needed to share it:
Talking to Children About Tragedies (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Helping Kids After a Shooting (American School Counselor Association)
Explaining the News to Our Kids (Common Sense Media)
Helping Children Cope with Frightening News (Child Mind Institute)
Please let us know if you or your student need any further support. We know that our community's strength lies in in our connections with each other. LWGMS remains steadfast in our commitment that all of our students are cared for, safe, and respected as members of our school community. We remain steadfast in our belief that education and learning about the experiences of others will make a difference in the world. And we remain steadfast in our mission to empower our students, so that they may stand up for those who need it.
Head of School