Dear RIMSD #41 Students, Staff and School Community,
On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the United States of America witnessed events at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. that will become an important part of U.S. history. During a Presidential Election Year, disturbing video of violence, protests, and unacceptable behavior was displayed on every cable and local channel across the U.S., for individuals of all ages to see with their own eyes. As educators, we are not at liberty to bring our own political views into the classroom nor take a political stance with our students, however, as educators, we cannot ignore the current events that have taken place at this time.
In the coming days, you can expect questions from your family members, colleagues at work, and more importantly, students that you impact each and every day. When difficult conversations come up or questions arise, it is ok to not have all of the answers. What is most important is that we listen to our students’ questions and work to have unbiased conversations about the current events that have taken place. During these conversations, it is vital that we show our colleagues and our students compassion, respect, empathy, and understanding while reinforcing appropriate behavior and communication to all. We ask that you go the extra mile to make sure that students feel safe and take advantage of age appropriate “teachable moments” that may help in bringing our classrooms and communities back to normal.
It is times like this that challenge the strength of our community and force us all to work harder than ever to be the best that we can be. In Rock Island-Milan School District #41, we embrace diversity and strive to build respectful relationships with others. We realize that not everyone or anything is perfect, but as long as we continue to actively engage in the work of respecting the cultures, values, and differing views of others, it is our belief that we can eliminate the types of incidents seen in the past few days.
We thank you in advance for creating a more positive school year in 2021.
Dr. Reginald Lawrence, Superintendent, Rock Island-Milan School District
Gary Rowe, President, Rock Island-Milan Board of Education
Talking to Children about Violence (National Association of School Psychologists)