Statement on Chauvin Trial and Racial Trauma

Paper hands in different colors reaching out

Dear Brentwood Students, Families, Staff, and Community Members,

Throughout history, there have been times of increased struggle and heartache in the fight for racial and social justice. The civil rights movement and the fight for social justice is not a chapter in our history. It is happening here and now. 

During these times of uncertainty, it is important for us to reiterate that in our community, we will fight racism alongside our staff, students, and families to create a safe and welcoming learning environment. Racism in any form has no place here and we recognize the continued work it takes to fight a long and tragic history of racism in our systems. As we are exposed to new and repeated examples of racism, hate, and bigotry in our communities, we know that we still have a long way to go in our work.

This week, we learned of a guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. The trial is an important topic of conversation worldwide and in our communities, at dinner tables, and in classrooms. It is a time when our families, especially our Black families, are experiencing additional pain and anxiety. Please know we are closely watching our students and providing resources and conversations to those who are looking for additional support. There are resources available on our website to help you continue these conversations at home

As educators, it is our job to support and empower students through these challenging times. No matter the circumstances, we must continue to uplift our students, to believe in them and to give them the tools they need to face the world as it is now. We must also do all we can to prepare students to join us in the fight to make our world a better place. To do this, we teach critical thinking, digital citizenship and other social-emotional skills that will help students now and into the future. But it cannot stop in the classroom. To be successful, we need our entire community to come together to support each other and our students. In particular, we must remain vigilant of the serious impact of race-based stress on our students, staff, and families of color. Providing support through listening and understanding can go a long way in mitigating the impact of the trauma and stress that disproportionately affects people of color. Please refer to our online resources to learn more about the impact of race-based stress and how we can support each other in difficult times.

As a District, we will stand with our students and staff as they advocate for change. Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, we have shared details about our Race, Equity, and Inclusion strategic plan. As we move into the summer and next school year, we will continue to work through our action steps and invite the community to join us in doing this work. Our conversations about race and the impact of racism in schools will not go away. In Brentwood, we are going to continue tackling this difficult process and we’re going to do it together. We will listen to and respect our stakeholders’ voices when they tell us what they need or how we can do better. 

We are asking you to join us in this work. To make this world the place our children and grandchildren deserve, it will take all of us working together; students, families, school staff and community residents. All of us. Below are some resources that can help you get started. 

In the coming days or weeks, there will be continued conversations about Derek Chauvin and the senseless loss of George Floyd. We will all be exposed to continued reports and images of racial trauma. It will be overwhelming at times, especially for our Black students, families, staff and community members. We want you to know that we see you, we hear you, and we support you. 

As the civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”

In solidarity,

Brentwood School District Administration

Brian Lane
Superintendent

Alex Tripamer
Director of Instruction & Student Support

Vicki Rees

Instructional Improvement Coordinator

Steven Rettke

HR/Operations Manager

Sam Rayburn

Director of Communications

Travena Hostetler
SSD Lead Area Coordinator

Ed Johnson
Principal

Brentwood High School

Steve Ayotte
Asst. Principal
Brentwood High School

Andrew Loiterstein
Principal

Brentwood Middle School

Cindy Neu

Principal

McGrath Elementary

Carol Eastabrook

Principal

Mark Twain Elementary

Kristin Clemons

Director

Early Childhood Education

Brentwood School District Board of Education

Lindsay Spencer

Kerry Trostel

Jamie Allen

Melissa Nehrt

Keith Rabenberg

Chris Perkins

 

Theresa Kouo

 

 

Community Resources:

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a comprehensive guide to Addressing Race and Trauma in the Classroom

Additional Easy to Use Social-Emotional Support Resources

Classroom and Lesson Planning Resources

Additional resources can be found on our website: https://www.brentwoodmoschools.org/community/race-and-equity