This page is dedicated to issues that effect our school. We periodically post resources to assist families and educators in learning about Free Schools, Democratic Education, Social Justice, Student Lead Initiatives, and other things that effect our community.



Before the March:
Sit with your child and talk about the issue in ways that make sense to him/her. Explain what is happening: “Many people are having big feelings right now because they believe that black and brown people are being treated unfairly. It makes people sad, scared, confused, and angry. The Millions March is a place and time that people are going to get together to express their feelings and show that they want things to change. Would you like to go?”

1924404_10101871554187219_3265102037922546001_nMake Signs:
• Find out what they understand by asking questions: “What would you like to put on your sign?” “What do you want to happen at the march?”  “What do you hope to see and do?”
• Stay close to your child as they make their sign. They may use their art to express how they are feeling and what they are thinking.

Explain what your child may experience at the march:
• There will be a lot of people
• There will be police officers
• There will be songs with lots of words, some of which may be angry words
• People will be shouting, singing, and chanting

Explain two things your child may hear people yelling:
• “I can’t breathe.”
Eric Garner was a man that was killed by the police. Before he died he said, “I can’t breathe.” He needed help and he did not get help. In remembrance of him, people chant, “I can’t breathe.”
• “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!”
Some police officers think that black and brown people are scary. Protesters will say, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” to remind police officers that black and brown people are not scary, and that they deserve to be treated fairly.

Make sure your child is dressed for the weather, is well fed, and has gone to the bathroom

10848017_10205521766669403_5444325921021699871_nAt the March
• Find a spot near the perimeter
• Talk with other protesters and police in the area to make them aware that you have a child with you
• Be responsive to your child, and listen to his/her questions
• Check in regularly about how he/she is feeling. If your child wants to leave, leave.
• Affirm your child’s feelings
• If your child says, “This is scary,” respond, “Yes, this is scary. Many of us are here to keep you safe, but we can leave whenever you would like.”
• Chant, sing, and get involved!
• Keep it short. 30 to 40 minutes is plenty

After the March
• Sit close to your child
• Let your child lead the conversation, and follow the questions he/she has
• Ask your child questions: “What did you see?” “What did you hear?” “What was it like?” “What questions do you have?”
• Encourage your child to share his/her experience with friends, extended family, and at school (i.e. show and tell, etc.)
• Talk about next steps: “I am thinking of lots and lots of stuff that I would like to do, and so are many other people all around the country and around the world. What would you like to do next? Let’s all keep talking together and sharing our ideas and feelings.”
Note to parent: one way to support your child is to create a space in which your child feels safe to express their experiences, their thoughts, and their feelings.

There are many resources directly and indirectly related to these events. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a start, and many are related to families:

Civil Unrest Through a 7-Year Old’s Eyes – MSNBC, Bank Street referenced in interview

What White Children Need to Know About Race – National Association of Independent Schools

Teaching Tolerance: How White Parents Should Talk To Their Kids About Race – Slate

Telling My Son About Ferguson – The New York Times

Shielding Children From Talk of Ferguson and Garner Cannot Protect Them – The New York Times

Even Babies Discriminate: A NurtureShock Excerpt – Newsweek

No Rest From Race: One White Parent’s Summer Vacation – gaily·told·tales, by Gail Lauren Karp, Bank Street Parent

Helping Students Make Sense of a Young Black Man’s Death in Missouri – NPR

The United States of Ferguson – Bill Moyers’ encore interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates

Chris Rock on Ferguson, Cosby and Obama (Excerpts) – New York Magazine