Follow the Leader
If you are in need of motivation for transforming the world, look no further than the virtual hallways of FXW. Following last week’s violent breach at the U.S. Capitol, our Administrative and Counseling Teams immediately began preparing a framework for faculty to discuss the horrific events should students have questions or concerns. As I paraphrase The Conscious Kid’s post of Chicago teacher Dwayne Reed’s quote above, we should not even consider talking about Dr. King’s dream as we near our federal holiday if we are unwilling to discuss the ugliness of what we all witnessed last Wednesday. Here is just a glimpse into a few insightful conversations from Thursday and Friday morning.
“We had really great conversations today. I started each class with everyone reading an article about what happened yesterday. Newsela worked fast to produce leveled articles, so I had one to share with students. I opened up saying we had to focus on facts and make sure we all had some facts to start off with. Then students asked questions and shared feelings. They are curious about the legal system and the way our government works. They have great respect for our Congress people who were inside the Capitol building trying to do their job. Each class expressed their confusion about why people would make the choices that led to this event—it is very clear to them that this was violent and not a peaceful protest.
By the end of each class, there was a lot of discussion about President Trump and what legal action could be taken against him, and by the afternoon I felt comfortable discussing the 25th amendment with them. Each class brought up the difference in police response to this riot and the BLM protests earlier in the year. All classes expressed concern about how divisive our country is between the two political parties, and that they are hesitant to participate in that system. We discussed how Republicans have very valid issues that may just differ from Democrats, but that they are not all like the people who stormed the Capitol last night. Mostly, our students want to see adults make better choices and are curious and hungry to learn how to participate civically.” —Grade 5 Science and Social Studies teacher Liz Lowery, who also provided With Mission in Mind with several grade level articles which you will find in the Equity and Justice Bulletin.
“No matter what happens in our country, I am pleased that my children and our children have a voice. I understand that I have to stay strong for them and continue to lead them. They are kind and empathetic, we just have to remind them to stay strong as a community.” —Rafael Rinconeño, Grade 3 teacher
“Don’t they realize they are all going to get COVID, none of them were wearing masks.”
“Leaders are supposed to bring people together, not make people fight.”
“When you are a president you can’t be selfish, you have to think of others.”
—Quotes from Grade 4 teacher Eboni Dixon’s class
“When I first heard about the attack, my feelings were disgust and agitation. My immediate thoughts were “If you love America so much, why go against it?” I think something that needs to change is people encouraging this self-centered and childish behavior. There’s nothing wrong with peaceful protests, but they chose to go the extra mile and riot.” —Grade 7 student Naima Walker
“Something that is not really captured in the reflections is that, during our advisory talk today, students identified the essential difference between using civil disobedience to further the cause of civil rights and inciting violence because people didn’t like the outcome of legal elections. They shared that the former is necessary and important, and that the latter is disgraceful and dangerous.”
—Grade 7 Teacher Darby Evans
Let us remember that the power of the voice has brought us suffrage, the civil rights movement, marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act, and countless other seemingly small laws that together make up the fabric of our civil society. Creating spaces for courageous, age-appropriate conversations for our students teaches them that the little wins add up. That they, as leaders in their classrooms, in our School, in their neighborhoods, in our city and beyond, can be part of making meaningful change.
—Kendall Mallette, Director of Mission Integration
Lord of our lives and sovereign of our beloved nation, We deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy.
These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue.
We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom’s price.
Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image.
You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, domestic as well as foreign.
Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world.
Thank you for what you have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty.
Bless and keep us.
Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to do your will and guide our feet on the path of peace.
And God bless America.
We pray in your sovereign name, amen.
Written by Senate Chaplain Barry Black after they confirmed President-elect Biden