Events of January 6
First, I wish you all the best and that this finds you in good health as we start 2021. I am sharing this information with the hope of providing support to some individuals who may be wondering how or if we support students amidst moments of historical significance or that are particularly newsworthy.
There are some events that transcend our daily tidings. I remember sitting in my elementary school teachers room with my second grade class, eagerly watching the launch of the shuttle, when the Challenger exploded. I was waiting for the Bell to Ring to send me to my Spanish 4 class when we were ushered into a studio room to watch the delivery of the Simpson verdict. I was in my fifth day as a teacher on 9/11, and I have to call an emergency faculty meeting, with the principal out, after Sandy Hook.
Today brought one of those moments, when a pro-forma and largely symbolic Congressional session gave way to the first breaching of the Capitol building since the War of 1812, when Britain was the enemy and not an ally. I'm not sure who watched the news, found something else to do with their time, tried to look away or couldn't, felt sad, or felt nothing. Some students may have likewise found themselves watching the events unfold in real time, with feelings that could be reconciled to either side of the political spectrum or simply as something that delayed their other pastimes for the day.
That said, there are a variety of challenges that can come up from moments of historical significance, including the emotions that could arise. As a school, we have many procedures and protocols in place for these sort of events, including training for our counseling staff and defined crisis protocols, particularly when events hit closer to home. Even events that occur without direct connections to Uxbridge or our students can elicit an emotional response.
We are sharing this attachment to help families who may be looking for tips in talking with students with respect to violence or other sort of events, shared by our colleagues at the National Association of School Psychologists. We have likewise shared some tips for staff if students decide to engage them in conversation or share their stress with respect to the political climate in the country. Admittedly, there are some for whom this is hardly on the proverbial radar, but we always want to share when we have some potential concerns - particularly where students have been separated from each other and may not have had the opportunity to process, share ideas and opinions, or open up about their thoughts outside of their homes or cell phones.
As always, we are at the ready to support our students, and we do so regardless of the tidings of Washington and the challenges that befall us. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback for us, or to let us know if your students are struggling.
Michael D. Rubin
Uxbridge High School