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Special Message from the Sunnyvale School District

June 1, 2020

Dear SSD Families, 

We want to recognize that you and your family may be facing a lot of turmoil about the recent injustice done to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. You are not alone, we are here with you. This past week has been a shock as we have witnessed human suffering and death. How do we navigate these waters as a family? Grace. There are no perfect ways or set answers. As a parent with my own family, we are going through our process. We are dealing with the different stages of grief. Grief is messy and not linear. Please give yourself and your family the grace to walk through the stages as they come. 

At this moment, we each must decide what we can do – individually and collectively – to drive change…meaningful, deliberate change. And based on our longstanding values as a district we would like to commit like never before to:

  1. Commit to inclusion – that means creating the conditions where every single human is welcome within our walls.

  2. Condemn intolerance – that means racism, bigotry, discrimination, and any other form of named or unnamed hatred.

  3. Stand up against injustice – that means taking the risk of expressing an unpopular or polarizing point of view because complacency and complicity sit in the shadow of silence.

You may have done this already,  but if not, one way, to work through this injustice is to have honest conversations about what has happened and to be there for your child(ren) to answer questions. We would also recommend you discuss strategies on how you can be culturally responsive as a family. 

Right now, helping our children make sense of a world that is unpredictable and chaotic is so important. As you feel comfortable, we encourage you to have age-appropriate honest conversations. Resources recommend specific tips talk to children about racism and protests and how to manage the anxiety that we and our children may be feeling: 

  1. Take care of yourself (first)

  2. Practice healthy ways to deal with anxiety 

  3. When discussing the racial injustice and protests happening:

    1. Tell the truth 

    2. Set the examples as parents

    3. Celebrate differences

Helpful Resources: https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/family/story/parents-talk-kids-racism-george-floyd-protests-70992137

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/01/health/protests-racism-talk-to-children-wellness/index.html

Hug your loved ones close. Shine your light. Be the difference our world needs, right now.

Tasha L. Dean, Ed. D. 

Assistant Superintendent of Special Education & Student Services

Rachel Bacosa

Social-Emotional Instructional Coach

Sunnyvale School District Office