Students are Making Meaning of Current Events in the Classroom

Alice Walker4

Our nation has been facing uncomfortable truths about itself. Thousands of people across the United States have protested in palpable anger and disappointment in the unjust murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. 

We know that this moment is difficult, especially for many of the students, families, and teachers in and around the communities that we serve. Our duty as educators reminds us that we must confront systemic discrimination and bigotry directly, and we have to be willing to challenge it in ourselves and around us when it manifests in thoughts, assumptions, perceptions and practices.

In response to these events, we are providing support as our teachers assist in facilitating conversations around the police violence protests, escalations and curfews.

Even in distance learning, we’re actively discovering new ways to bring our teachers, students, and families closer together—when we need solidarity the most. 

As Cristina de Jesus, CEO of Green Dot Public Schools California calls out for our educators: “May we commit to doing better and doing more together to fight for justice for those who have been historically silenced.  May we all continue to use our anger and courage to create a better tomorrow.

Active, Insightful Conversations

We’ve carefully crafted foundations for lessons, conversation directives, and reflective exercises with our Senior Director of African American Achievement and Equity. At the start of our virtual advisory classes on Monday, June 1, 2020, our students and teachers acknowledged their unique emotions and experiences through a moment of silence followed by a facilitated discussion. We’ve also prepared our teachers and school leaders with guidelines and resources to help guide this conversation within our classes. 

Below we share some suggested readings and resources that our teachers and school leaders are using. We invite you to read, learn, and reflect with us. As a nation, we have endured many painful, trying, and dividing times. However, in our 20 years of service, we’ve learned that in order to move forward, we—families, teachers, and leaders—must do it together

Free Mental Health Services

If you’re having difficulties coping with stress in LA County, you can get help for free. Call the LA Warmline at 855-952-9276 or the Teen Line at 310-855-4673, daily from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. You can also visit the official 211 website to learn more. 

Anyone in the United States can call the National Suicide Prevention Line 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.

Articles and Resources

We’ve found that timelines can help many of our teachers and students understand how and why protests have erupted across our country.

As educators, we’re inspired by the great works within our communities. Here are a few resources that can speak to the work we’re implementing in our classrooms.

And many educators are constantly tackling issues in our country. questions.