Calling Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol “profoundly
disturbing,” 11 northern Humboldt school superintendents co-authored a
letter today condemning the riot and sharing how they plan to address
it in education. By supporting the immediate emotional needs of
students, staff and families, and by further developing history,
critical thinking and communication curricula, these districts have
short- and long-term plans to help Humboldt’s youth understand
“This is a frightening moment for children, youth, and adults alike,” they wrote. The superintendents contrasted the Wednesday riot with the June 1, 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstration at Lafayette Square, when peaceful protestors were removed with tear gas to make way for a Donald Trump photo-op.
“We cannot and will not pretend that the law has been applied consistently; to do so would be a disservice to our students and families from their many backgrounds, experiences, and educations. We commit to deepening our work toward racial equity in our schools.”
The letter encourages students and families to reach out to trusted staff or school counseling services for additional support, and directs families to the National Association of School Psychologists for information about how to speak with youth about stressful political events.
Read the full letter below:
January 8, 2021
Many of us within the Northern Humboldt Administrator’s Collaborative are writing today as educators, leaders, caregivers, and community members. The events that occurred in the Nation’s Capitol on Wednesday were profoundly disturbing. Educators and Board Members commit to uphold the Constitution and protect it from all enemies, foreign and domestic. We condemn the attacks we saw earlier this week, and any further efforts to use violence to impede our democracy.
This is a frightening moment for children, youth, and adults alike. However, we make the commitment to support each other through this moment. This includes: giving space for the big emotions that accompany violence, encouraging honest dialogue about the events that led to this moment, and supporting those who lead with integrity in times of crisis. These actions will enable us to continue to deepen the support for our students, staff, and families through what has truly been a difficult year.
Of particular concern is the stark contrast between these events and the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. It is alarming to compare this storming of the Capitol with the June 1, 2020 violent removal of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, just a few blocks away. We cannot and will not pretend that the law has been applied consistently; to do so would be a disservice to our students and families from their many backgrounds, experiences, and educations. We commit to deepening our work toward racial equity in our schools.
As educators, we pledge to work together to tell accurate, complete histories of our nation — including its darkest days — to inspire the next generation of leadership. We pledge to teach critical analysis and rigorous, non-violent debate so we can better understand one another and our nation. And we pledge to care for the emotional needs of our students, families, and staff to the best of our ability in this harrowing moment.
And finally, we want to speak directly to our students. We are sorry that you must deal with this in the midst of the already disruptive pandemic. We want you to know that we are committed to your safety, your education, and your future. We will continue to support you and encourage you to reach out to a trusted staff member and/or our counseling services if this moment is impacting you deeply.
For more resources on how to talk with youth about stressful political events in 2020 and 2021, please visit the National Association of School Psychologists site at https://buff.ly/399CVog.
Superintendent, Arcata School District
Superintendent/Principal, Big Lagoon Union School District
Superintendent/Principal, Blue Lake Union Elementary School District
Superintendent/Principal, Fieldbrook Elementary School District
Superintendent/Principal, Jacoby Creek School District
Superintendent/Principal, Maple Creek School District
Superintendent, McKinleyville Union School District
Superintendent, Northern Humboldt Union High School District
Superintendent, Pacific Union School District
Lark M. Doolan
Superintendent/Principal, Peninsula Union School District
Superintendent/Principal, Trinidad Union School District