I want to pause to reflect upon the recent shootings that occurred across Atlanta earlier this week that killed eight people, including six who were of Asian descent. Although the motive for this incident is still under investigation, what I know as an educator is that we need to spend more time as a community on some of the critical work beyond academics, such as social emotional learning, wraparound supports, and equity.
As I have mentioned in our cluster conversations and will continue to discuss, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) added two simple but essential words to our mission: equity and life. We have spent much of our recent conversations focused on equity, but I want to emphasize the addition of the word “life,” in that we graduate all students ready for college, career, and LIFE.
I am convinced that if we truly prepare our students for life, we can go far in eliminating the ignorance and confusion that we have seen in recent times, especially social injustice, violence, and intolerance of different cultures and viewpoints. And if any school district can do it, APS can — as the flagship school system for Atlanta, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.
Remember, in uncertain times like these we have crisis services and social emotional supports available for students and staff if they need someone to talk to as well as resources for parents and staff on talking about difficult issues. I encourage you to take advantage of these resources, and please be well.
Talking with Children About Issues of Violence and Race:
The Asian Americans Advancing Justice organization also provided these links:
1. Sign on to our collective community statement.
2. Donate to support the victims and their families.
3. Share crisis response resources.