Boston Public Schools set up safe spaces for students in wake of election
By Evan Lips | November 10, 2016, 14:35 EST
BOSTON — In what is undoubtedly a “first” in the wake of a presidential election, the man at the head of the largest school district in the state wrote an open letter to the community in order to advise them on how students and faculty can cope with the results of race.
Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang’s letter, penned following the election to the Oval Office of Republican Donald Trump, indicates that the district’s mental health support staff will be on-call to assist “students have may be having a difficult time processing any fears or concerns they may have.”
“We need to remember our Culture of We as we continue our vital work,” Chang wrote. “We must ensure that our students feel safe by providing safe and respectful learning communities.”
Chang laid out a five-point primer for dealing with such an election night fallout:
As we engage in discourse, it is essential to emphasize the social emotional learning hallmarks:
- Self-awareness: How am I personally feeling?
- Social-awareness: How are others feeling?
- Self-management: How will I behave now that I know how I am feeling, and how others might be feeling?
- Relationship-building: How will I interact with others based upon what I know about their feelings?
- Responsible decision-making: What actions will I take to appropriately express my feelings in a way that is also respectful of how others might be feeling?
School counselors, we will need to bring our A game tmrw. We will have very fearful Latino, Black, LGBTQ, and Muslim kids in our offices.
— Jeremy Goldman (@MrJGoldman) November 9, 2016
Meanwhile, at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, administrators made therapy dogs and coloring books available to upset students:
— UMass Boston Safety (@UMB_Safety) November 9, 2016
The school-sponsored Twitter handle for UMass-Boston’s health services office later deleted its tweet about the coloring books and therapy dogs but not before users discovered it.
On Thursday morning, the day after anti-Trump protesters took to the Hub’s streets to show their displeasure for the democratic process, Mayor Marty Walsh spoke to reporters and reflected on the angst emanating from one side of the public.
“Today is a tough day for a lot of people, there was a lot of rhetoric going on yesterday about, you know, people who are undocumented, people who are going to be kicked out of the country, ah, you know, I think there’s a lot of still, you know, people unsettled with the results,” Walsh said. “As Secretary Clinton said yesterday, Trump’s going to be our president, so let’s work to see what we can do in a positive manner.”
Wednesday night’s protests largely featured peaceful throngs of upset millennials, leading chants of “Love Trumps Hate!” and “Not my president!”:
— bcarey (@youngbcarey) November 10, 2016
Boston Anti-Trump protest surrounds Gazebo in Boston Commom with chants of dissatisfaction pic.twitter.com/gFKb8KHtln
— Russell (@RusstySspoon) November 10, 2016
Protests were not confined to Boston, as other major American cities also dealt with a night of unrest:
— Left Democrat (@LeftDemocrat) November 10, 2016
— Charles Emmanuel (@CharlieManuels) November 10, 2016
More protests are expected to follow in the coming days:
Second night of Trump protests planned in US https://t.co/1vYGyMqYbB
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) November 10, 2016