Earlier this week, educators returned to classrooms following an election that has left many students feeling afraid. But educators across the country confronted this fear with displays of compassion and inclusion that should be celebrated and shared.
Regardless of political affiliations, we hope everyone can agree that all students deserve safe and affirming schools. We are incredibly thankful for these supportive teachers.
Here's how some educators have responded to student concerns at school after such a controversial campaign season and election results.
A teacher covered her door with statements of her classroom's values.
A teacher gave this reminder to all her students.
The principal of an elementary school sent this letter to his school community.
Good morning, Bates Community.
Yesterday our country and the Commonwealth voiced their collective opinion in the democratic process as they selected our future leaders and made decisions on important ballot measures.
The Phineas Bates Elementary School has 7 racial demographics, 15 home languages, and 31 national origins. We have gender non-conforming students and students whose interests align with our society’s gender norms. We have students who open gifts on Christmas, who read from the Torah, and who proudly wear headscarves daily as part of their Muslim faith. We also have students who practice another religion that we celebrate with them or no religion at all. One quarter of our students have disabilities and are educated in the same classrooms as their peers. Some of our students are descendants of the Pilgrims and some moved to the United States within the last year. Our students come from families with different political beliefs and may have different feelings around the outcomes of this Election.
Our school is a snapshot of this country in a building of 300 students. We are faced with the task of creating an inclusive environment that celebrates and honors all of these differences, and we strive to get better at that every single day.
We know that students will have different reactions to the outcome of yesterday’s Election. We honor our democratic values and traditions and we will carry on with our mission to educate, support and prepare our students for success. I am writing to assure you that the Bates remains a safe and supportive environment for all of them. If you have concerns about your child and how he/she/they may be processing the Election and would like some extra support at school, please let us know. You can also read this message from Superintendent Chang to learn more about resources to support students.
As always, I am so deeply humbled and honored to work with children every day. They consistently remind me of my own values and give me the strength it takes to build a school where they all feel loved. And I assure you—they are all loved.
Yours in the Culture of We,
Teachers gave students the chance to act.
How hip-hop, a field day and letter-writing are helping NYC students take action after the election https://t.co/PyA30ffPvr
— Chalkbeat New York (@ChalkbeatNY) November 11, 2016
Schools gave students the space to reflect.
— Brandon Cardet (@BrandonCardet) November 10, 2016
How are you or your educators supporting students and creating inclusive schools after this election? Share your pictures and stories on social media using #InclusiveSchools. Tag @GLSEN if you'd like for us to include your examples on this blog.
Above all, right now it is important to reinforce to students that they are safe. "What Do We Tell the Children?" and "I'm Going to Reassure Them That They Are Safe: Talking to Students After the Election" provide examples of that language for educators. It’s important for students to know that the adults in their immediate lives are all here to protect them and stand up for them, especially if they have marginalized identities or multiple marginalized identities.
For the days and months ahead, educators may also find these resources helpful:
Ready, Set, Respect!, which provides tools for educators to develop a positive and identity-affirming classroom community in elementary school;
GLSEN’s Safe Space Kit, which can help educators create a safe space for LGBTQ students in schools;
Teaching Tolerance, The Day After, which addresses diversity, equity, and justice, and What to Say to Kids on November 10 and the Days After; and
- National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), Promoting Compassion and Acceptance in Crisis and Supporting Students Experiencing Childhood Trauma.