2024 Elections Are ComingDec 19, 2023
The man who was 45th president of the United States and wants to be the 47th, just did his racist thing again in New Hampshire. He decided to claim that immigrants from South America, Africa, and Asia are “poisoning” the blood of the United States. All by itself, this comment is hideous, but when put into context of the anti immigrant and racist rhetoric in this nation that has led to direct violence, the comment is especially heinous. It is reflective of a time past where people could kill, lynch, abuse, mistreat, and discriminate against us and it was well within the social parameters. That's the America he and his followers want to bring us back to. This is unacceptable and inhumane.
In addition to being horribly racist, the ongoing comments will clearly incite further violence among the racist gullibles in our nation. We may see more shootings. We will certainly see more emboldened people on the street take matters into their own hands. There will be more viral videos of racists being recorded on the street. All of this will, like in 2016, have effects in schools. And we weren’t ready then and I’m not sure how ready we will be now. Elections are in 2024. 2024 starts in less than 30 days. Are we really ready for a round 3 of this? Are young people? Are our schools? One thing is being tired- and we all are- but are we equipped to deal with racist misconduct? Do we have policies in place to address these incidents like we do with non race-related incidents? Do we have trainings set to go for the teachers who won’t know how to handle these interactions among students? What will we say to the parents of children of color who become racially targeted and harassed at school- “We didn’t know?” “We’re so sorry?”
I do think there are things we can do and steps we can take as educators and as institutions to prepare ourselves for what is coming. We cannot control the behaviors of politicians or their followers, but it’s good to think of what is in fact within our sphere of influence.
- Take a deep dive into true social and emotional learning so that students and teachers alike can be trained/taught on the matter.
- Develop school-wide policies for anti harassment and anti racism. Develop a protocol so you know what to do when the issue arises.
- Consider what training you can do, even internally, as a staff. Keep it manageable and therefore sustainable.
- Create and give real resources to an inclusivity committee. While often hated, I think the idea behind them could be really effective. But they need real power and opportunity.
- Design a learning process or system for teachers to both address student learning around this topic and teacher development.
These 5 steps are not the ultimate actions to take. They are a starting point. This is where you begin and move ahead, with conviction, to make schools better for the often marginalized in society. These events in the media, the speeches, the rallies, the commentary, and the open sharing of hate is traumatic for all of us. It makes you wonder who you can trust. It causes fear in you whenever you have to step out of the house. You are on alert around white people you may not know. Students are members of this society. We would be naive to think these concerns and realities aren’t walking into schools.
However, there are no excuses for not facing this head on. 2016 definitely caught most of us off guard. We cannot let that happen again. It is our responsibility to be proactive and prepared.
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