Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang sent a letter to families on Wednesday to explain resources available to students after a long, contentious presidential election.
Chang said in the letter to parents that the coming days will be “challenging for many, and celebratory for others” as the country prepares for a Donald Trump presidency. He said that this is a “teachable moment” that should focus on conversations and conflict resolution.
Boston Public Schools Behavioral Health Department is offering support to students who may have a difficult time with “fears or concerns” about the election. The same type of service is also being offered to employees.
Post-Election Letter from Superintendent Tommy Chang
Dear Boston Public Schools Family,
Our country is experiencing historic change today. There will be much conversation around the results of yesterday’s presidential election. Many of our students and fellow educators are still processing the outcome. It is important today to be strong for our students and each other. We honor our democratic values and traditions and we will carry on with our mission to educate, support and prepare our students for success.
The coming days and weeks may be challenging for many, and celebratory for others. As educators, we should use this opportunity as a teachable moment to have conversations with our students about the democratic process, how we can resolve differences and conflicts, and how we can address diverse and sometimes conflicting ideology. We need to remember our Culture of We as we continue our vital work. We must ensure that our students feel safe by providing safe and respectful learning communities.
We are fortunate to live in a democracy where we can hold these conversations even if we disagree with the outcome. We as adults need to monitor our behaviors; we want to demonstrate compassion, empathy, and support for students and colleagues.
Resources from Teaching Tolerance, a project by the Southern Poverty Law Center, about handling the day after the 2016 election are available here. Additional resources will be posted to the BPS homepage and Social Emotional Learning and Wellness website.
As we engage in discourse, it is essential to emphasize the social emotional learning hallmarks:
1. Self-awareness: How am I personally feeling?
2. Social-awareness: How are others feeling?
3. Self-management: How will I behave now that I know how I am feeling, and how others might be feeling?
4. Relationship-building: How will I interact with others based upon what I know about their feelings?
5. Responsible decision-making: What actions will I take to appropriately express my feelings in a way that is also respectful of how others might be feeling?
The Boston Public Schools Behavioral Health Department is available to support students who may be having a difficult time processing any fears or concerns they may have. Additionally, the Employee Assistance Program is available to support City of Boston employees’ well-being.
Thank you to everyone for being your best self today. Your leadership will help our students feel safe, welcomed, and respected.
Superintendent Tommy Chang