This is the second week of the State of Minnesota’s trial against Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. The trial is an important topic of conversation worldwide and in our communities, at dinner tables, and in classrooms.
The trial resurfaces concerns about inequities in policing and the judicial system particularly as related to Black people. In the 2019 Pew Research Center report, Key findings on Americans’ views of race, “About seven-in-ten [Black people] say race relations are bad, and half say it is unlikely that Black people will eventually have equal rights with whites." In Minnesota's highest-profile murder case, “Prosecutors must be able to prove that a police officer was negligent, unreasonable, and reckless when he or she used deadly force. Proving this is especially harder for Black victims because policing in the United States has been historically racist dating back to slave patrols who used violence to control the Black community,” according to Kenneth Nunn, a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
These issues are complex, controversial, and for many, very personal. During these challenging times, many African American families and students, as well as families and students that represent the rich diversity of our communities, are experiencing fear, frustration, and trauma as the trial unfolds. These emotions can impact students’ learning, behavior, and relationships.
Below, you will find actionable and easy-to-apply resources with tools to support student social-emotional well-being and engage students around these topics. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a comprehensive guide to Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom intended to help educators understand how they might address the interplay of race and trauma and its effects on students in the classroom. We have also joined the LA vs. Hate Campaign, a partnership led by the LA County Human Relations Commission that represents a diverse coalition of voices committed to disrupting racism, discrimination, and social injustices to end hate. Learn how you can bring the campaign to your school or district.
Additional Easy to Use Social-Emotional Support Resources
Classroom and Lesson Planning Resources
Teaching Tolerance has a Let’s Talk Guide that can help classroom educators in creating the foundation for discussing race, racism, and other difficult topics with students.
1. Formulate an inquiry about a current public problem or issue
2. Research and analyze multiple perspectives about potential causes and solutions
3. Participate in a civil deliberation to understand different perspectives
4. Reach an informed conclusion
5. Propose a public policy solution to a policymaker
We will continue to provide resources as the trial proceeds.