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Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the 2020–2021 school year!

I hope that everyone had a safe, happy, and healthy winter break and enjoyed some time to rest and relax along with the holiday hustle and bustle. We look forward to the next half of this school year with anticipation of being able to provide on-campus learning while remaining cautious during the current surge in cases that we see across the nation. Unfortunately, the pandemic is not the only crisis we have had to endure this school year. We have seen racial injustice issues, an unprecedented election cycle, and now a siege on our nation's Capitol Building as we certify our most recent election. The events on January 6, like many of the events we have experienced since the start of the pandemic last March, are shocking and disturbing. They leave us all with many questions, many frustrations, and very few answers about how our country will endure through all of the challenges that it currently faces.

Because we are a society of visual media, our children are witnessing these moments in history on a continuous loop. The images they view are often raw and difficult to see for adults, but none the less they are seeing them with us. The events of January 6 are something that we never believed we would see in our amazing nation, but we must persevere to make sense of them, address them appropriately so they do not continue, and help our children to understand them so that they are not afraid of their future. The following are some suggestions for addressing the Capitol siege or any other disturbing issues with your child(ren) or for adults, as well:

  • Limit exposure to media (social media, mainstream media, and cable/internet media).
  • Talk with your child(ren) about the situation. Ask your child(ren):
    "How are you feeling about the situation?" or
    "What questions do you have about the situation?"
  • Share how you feel about the issue/situation (i.e., "I feel sad" or "I felt angry when...") and then ask your child(ren) how they feel.

Do not project your adult anxieties, anger, or frustrations by being overly emotional when speaking directly to your children or when speaking about the situation in front of your children. Children watch the adults around them for how to feel about an issue and witnessing extreme emotions may encourage them to become afraid or overly concerned.

Avoid explanations in "black or white" terms (i.e., good vs. bad). Use terms that describe the actions or behaviors of those involved (i.e., angry people, frustrated people, etc.)

The events we witnessed in Washington, DC last week can never be undone and must never happen again. To date, five people, including Officer Sicknick of the Capitol Police, lost their lives during this event. It is a tragedy on so many levels that it is almost incomprehensible and yet we must try to understand it. As our nation moves forward we will need to understand the events so they are never repeated. We will do this through a long process of reflection, investigation, and remembrance. It is critical that we help our children cope with the various traumas they may have experienced during this last year, please let the staff at your child's school know if your child(ren) need additional emotional support with the events of January 6, events surrounding the pandemic, or any other instance that is causing them distress. The mental and physical well-being of our students is critical to the teaching and learning process. Know we are here to support our students.

Take care,

Colleen Hawkins