Statement from Superintendent Austin Beutner
Today we should be in a classroom helping students process all that is happening around us. The killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed, unarmed Black man in Minneapolis, is wrong and it shocks the senses. There are no words to express the pain, the helplessness and the anger many of us are feeling. My heart goes out to Black children who have been trying to process this in a home which may be dealing with the disproportionate impact COVID-19 is having on the Black community in health impact and job losses.
This tragedy must be more than a topic of conversation at every dinner table, in every board room and government hearing. It must serve as a wake up call to unapologetically and with conviction address the systemic bias and institutional racism which exists in many parts of society.
Schools must be part of the solution because a great education is the most important part of the path out of poverty. But opportunity gaps for Black students have persisted for more than a generation. The war on poverty declared more than 50 years ago seems to have been lost.
We don’t have all of the answers but are committed to making change.
We must better connect schools with the communities they serve. There will only be progress if all of us – schools, government agencies, philanthropy, business, labor and community organizations – work together to support children.
Educators need to rethink teaching and training. Does curriculum properly explore the role of redlining in city planning and how it creates the racial and economic segregation at the foundation of the school funding disparity? Teachers serve as role models for their students. Yet there are only 52 Black males currently enrolled in teaching programs in the entire California State University system in a state home to about 900,000 African Americans under the age of 25.
And the fight for equitable funding must be won. Schools across the country which serve predominantly communities of color receive about $2,000 less per student than other schools. The lack of adequate funding means less support for students when much more is needed.
Educators who are living this moment with their own families will help students try to understand this hateful act and the context in which it is occurring. But it’s not the students who will be tested on this. All of us need to demonstrate that Black lives matter. It doesn’t mean saying, “Yes, I support you.” Rather, it means rolling up your sleeves and doing the work.
We’ve added teachings and resources on the home page of the Los Angeles Unified website with the hope of helping you and your family discuss these difficult issues. Even though we’re not in classrooms, educators in our schools will do their best to help all in the school community in these difficult times.
Please stay safe and well.
Resources on Community Unrest, Justice & Support
- Helping Your Child Cope with Media Coverage of Community Racial Trauma: Tips for Parents - Short video with excellent recommendations for parents and teacher alike. Can be subtitled in multiple languages. Estos videos pueden subtitularse en varios idiomas.
- Positive Behavior Intervention and Support/Restorative Practices - facilitating circle in a virtual space.
- George Floyd, Racism and Law Enforcement - ADL's "Questions to start the conversation"
- Teaching about Racism, Violence, Inequality and the Criminal Justice System - An ADL collection of resources on Bias, Race and Injustice.
- Anti-Racism for Kids 101: Starting to Talk About Race - books for courageous conversations
- Something Happened in Our Town - Follow two children – one black, one white – as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community, and help identify and counter racial injustice. Can be subtitled in various languages. Estos videos pueden subtitularse en varios idiomas.
- Psychological First Aid -Daily strategies to ensure children are heard and feel protected during these uncertain times.
- Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators - natural disasters, school violence, and can affect students’ learning, behavior, and relationships.
- Community Violence: Reactions and Actions in Dangerous Times - help youth keep themselves safe and make positive choices in dangerous times.
- A self-care toolkit for people of color
- Affirming Black Lives Without Inducing Trauma - These tools from Teaching Tolerance can help educators engage with students about violence against Black men and the radicalized systems that allow it to continue, and to do so without re-traumatizing Black students and with extra care for their mental health.
- Using Photographs to Teach Social Justice. Teaching Tolerance's 12 lessons using photography to teach social justice.
- For White Allies in Search of a Solution to American Racism When Folks of Color are Exhausted - This Teaching Tolerance encourages white allies to step up.
- Death of George Floyd sets off massive protests - PBS video with discussion questions.
- Race in US History - Facing History has a robust library of resources addressing race.
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN): Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom
- Positive Behavior Intervention and Support/Restorative Practices
- Before You Call the cops - Three-minute video. Powerful monologue on racism. Can be subtitled in various languages. Estos videos pueden subtitularse en varios idiomas.
- Talking about Race and Privilege. Lesson plans by the National Association of School Psychologists for secondary students.
- Talking Race With Young Children - 20-minute NPR episode on breaking down, not shutting down, conversations about race, racism, diversity and inclusion, even with very young children.
- Having 'The Talk': Expert Guidance on Preparing Kids for Police Interactions - An hour-long conversation between a child psychiatrist, a former public defender and a police officer giving advice on how and when to have "the talk." While the risk of a police interaction going wrong is higher for black children, it's information that all kids could benefit from knowing.
- Strategies and Activities for Reducing Racial Prejudice and Racism - Tools to change the world. Available in English, español, français, العربية,فارسی
- Beyond the Hashtag: How to Take Anti-Racist Action in Your Life by TeenVogue
- Diversity Toolkit - Resources by the National Education Association
- Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom: A Resource for Educators - A comprehensive guide by NCTSN for teachers on historical trauma, its manfiestations among students of all ages, and recommendations for educators.
- Talking to White Kids About Race & Racism - Silence perpetuates racism—but it can be hard to know how to start. This hour-long program is about talking to white kids of all ages about race and racism.
- Let’s Raise a Generation of Children Who Are Thoughtful, Informed, and Brave About Race - clearinghouse for articles and resources about identities and current issues.
- The News Literacy Project - Teach students the skills they need to become informed, active consumers of news and information and engaged, informed participants in our democracy.
- CNN10: Has 10-minute daily video segments can be used to deepen discussions around media literacy
- Resources for Talking About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence With Kids - curated list of resources by Center for Racial Justice in Education.
- The 1619 Project - The first enslaved African American arrived in 1619. The 1619 Project offers reading guides, activities, and other resources. (Read scholars' dispute of 1619 Project.)
- Consejos para hablar con tus hijos sobre las protestas y el racismo
- Cómo hablar con tus hijos sobre el racismo
- ¿Cómo hablar con los hijos sobre el racismo y la discriminación?
Booklists & Podcasts:
- Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup - podcasts, booklists, and toys to talk to young children about race.
- Black Lives Matter at School - lessons and reading lists about intersectional Black identities and the contributions to history.
- Anti-Racism Resources - books for parents
- New York Times Anti-Racist Reading List
- Talking About Racism and Violence with Students: Resources for Educators - también disponible en español
- Skills for Psychological Recovery - an educational skills building intervention.