After George Floyd died in May 2020, countless school districts, businesses, and individuals rushed to affirm their support for the black community and express how they would create more equitable spaces. Now that the jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges, school districts and even higher education institutions around the nation are scrambling once again to appeal to the mobs screaming that conviction isn’t enough with woke messages affirming more critical race theory-driven actions.
In Naperville, Illinois, parents and teachers were notified by Naperville Community Unit School District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges that the district will create spaces that are “equitable, inclusive, and focused on [students’] social-emotional needs” following Chauvin’s conviction.
“It is our duty to respond to traumatic events that might impact student learning, behaviors, and relationships at school,” Bridges wrote in a statement obtained by The Federalist. “The deaths of George Floyd and others and the recent verdict require us to be responsive to the emotional well-being of students and staff. Emotional responses from students could manifest in different ways. As educators, we are uniquely positioned to serve as allies and advocates. A trauma-sensitive school environment can benefit all students.”
Families and educators in Arlington Public Schools in Virginia were alerted by Superintendent Francisco Durán on Tuesday that not only would counseling be provided for students who have “many feelings that need to be processed” about Floyd’s death, but the district would also continue to “combat systemic racism in our justice system” by encouraging so-called equity.
“I want to take this opportunity to affirm our commitment to anti-racism and social justice, and to our continued work in schools and in our community,” Durán wrote.
Another school district in Virginia, notorious for its history with critical race theory and extended school shutdowns, released a statement on Tuesday promising that Fairfax County Public Schools is “continuing to grow” and will “bring forth change to ensure that our students and staff can learn and work in an environment where racism and hate are not tolerated, and all feel safe, valued, and included.”
“There is no justice in the loss of loved ones. Let us choose love and creation of a just environment. Let us choose hope and commitment to actions that breed hopefulness. Let us create brave and safe spaces for students and staff today and every day,” the statement concluded before offering a list of counseling and other resources provided by organizations such as Facing History and Ourselves and the Center For Racial Justice In Education.
Spokane Public Schools in Washington issued a similar statement on Tuesday acknowledging that “everyone in our system has not experienced this equitably and that the current events unfolding across our nation are highlighting the need for change across all systems” and notifying students of opportunities to receive counseling.
“We will continue our commitment to put our vision of excellence for everyone into practice with measurable action steps for systemic change,” the district promised.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon released a statement to staff and students on Tuesday claiming that Chauvin’s conviction should be used to reevaluate and restructure institutions within the United States.
“We must use this moment to critically examine the systems and structures in communities across this nation and in our own community in Cleveland, and challenge ourselves again to address the longstanding inequities that, together, form the public health crisis of racism and racial injustice,” Gordon wrote. “As I said at the time of George Floyd’s murder, each of us is either part of the problem or part of the solution. What we do or don’t do today will truly determine whether George Floyd’s life and the lives of so many others will be honored.”
In addition to providing staff and students with resources to address the “racial trauma and repeated exposure to stories of violence and inequalities,” Hamilton Southeastern Schools outside Indianapolis released a list of statements affirming “anti-racism,” “equity,” and the Black Lives Matter movement shortly after Chauvin’s verdict was read.
“We also understand the pain that many of our students and teachers feel when discussing the inequities in the current judicial system,” the statement read. “We have heard from parents who have described the task of preparing their children for the two Americas. The racial division that we see today is not a new phenomenon; it is centuries-old, embedded in the fabric of our country.”