Superintendent’s Corner: Discussions With Our Children

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Dear Verona Parents and Staff,

The recent events and abhorrent behavior in Washington, D.C. at the United States Capitol were shocking and incredibly disheartening. Like you, I am still processing what transpired this past week. As a school district, we support individual rights to free speech and peaceful demonstration, but we denounce violence and acts of intimidation in all forms.

The civil unrest we observed is unsettling for adults, but even more importantly, can create confusion and anxiety for our children. It is normal for students to ask questions about what happened and why. These are complex issues and our schools have a role to play in educating our students, which includes nurturing kindness, valuing respect, and modeling civility. These are teachable moments to engage in important conversations. Our educators have been and will continue to provide neutral forums for constructive dialogue in appropriate classroom settings to address the nature of these current events in an objective, thoughtful, and age-appropriate manner. Our counselors also remain available to listen to and support our students process their emotions through individual conversations.

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As adults, both educators and parents alike, we have an immense responsibility to frame our children’s perspective by modeling respect and civil discourse. Our actions and the words we use with our children matter. As parents, you can reassure your children that they are safe, listen to them to understand what they are feeling, discuss these important issues in a developmentally appropriate way, and limit media exposure on TV and social media. I have attached the following resources below that you may find helpful in discussing these issues with your children.

National Association of School Psychologists:
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

National Geographic:
How to talk with your kids about the chaos at the Capitol

We encourage you to seek the support of your school counselor if our staff can be of assistance to your family. Please do not hesitate to contact your building principal should you require additional assistance.

Sincerely,

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Dr. Rui Dionisio
Superintendent of Schools

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