What's Happening at the Hive #3
Posted by Jennifer Buller on 10/11/2021 9:00:00 PM
Hello Florida Ruffin Ridley School Families and Friends,
I hope that this long weekend brought you some opportunities for rest and reflection. Perhaps you got an opportunity to take in the sights, sounds, and stories of the Boston Marathon today. Or maybe you spent some time connecting with Indigenous Peoples’ history to honor the day. Or maybe you managed to set aside a little extra time to pause and connect with family and friends or engage in a mindful practice. However you spent this day away from school I hope that you found sparks of joy along the way.
Below are some updates about what’s happening around the hive with information about:
Picture Day 10/19
Hurtful and Harmful Incidents at FRR
Tik Tok Challenges
Picture Day at FRR (10/19)
School picture day will take place Tuesday, October 19th for all of our students. Attached to the email sent to all families on 10/11 you can find the online ordering information as well as general information regarding Covid protocols for school pictures. School pictures will take place outside if weather permits. If we encounter inclement weather, we will move pictures indoors.
Hurtful and Harmful Incidents at FRR
As we have all been adjusting to being back in school full time we have experienced a few incidents in the building of students saying hurtful, racist, and insensitive remarks to each other and staff. These comments and acts are not at all in line with our expectations and goals of creating a warm, safe, inclusive learning environment where all students are able to bring their full identities and thrive. Each individual incident is being addressed separately as we work to help provide a path to healing for those harmed by the comments and behaviors and support those who engaged in the comments and behaviors through awareness, education, and reparations.
We invite you all to partner with us in talking to your students about the impact of language they choose to use and examine the ways they can be positive supportive members of our community and celebrate all individuals as well as be upstanders in the face of harmful incidents.
There are many resources we have shared in the past, and that are out there to support you in starting an ongoing dialogue with your child(ren) about race, racism, and racialized violence if you haven’t started to have these conversations already. I offer this website as a place with some curated resources to help get you started and continue open dialogues at home. I also encourage you to plug into the work we are doing with The Minor Collective and get involved with our Equity PAC.
We are continuing our work here at school with staff and supporting conversations in the classroom, during advisories, and engaging in on the spot interventions as incidents occur. The work we have ahead of us in our community requires us working together to clear the air of the smog, as Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum illustrates, of racism that we breathe in each day, permeates our subconscious, and shows up in our daily interactions.
I encourage you to have conversations at home about harmful stereotypes and language and how your child(ren) can contribute to a positive, loving, and uplifting environment at school. If you need further resources or support please reach out to myself, Saeed, Erin, and Steve.
Tik Tok Challenges
Recently we were made aware of the “schedule” of Tik Tok challenges that are circulating through the virtual community. You can find them listed below:
September – Mess up a toilet/vandalize a restroom
October – Smack a staff member on the backside
November – Kiss your friend’s girlfriend at school
December – Show your b**** in school halls (expose your private area)
January – Jab a breast
February – Mess up school signs
March – Make a mess in the courtyard or cafeteria
April – Grab some “eggz” (theft/stealing)
May – Ditch day
June – Flip off front office
We saw the first theme emerge in our community here at FRR through some property destruction in our middle school restrooms as we shared about in a separate communication sent to just our middle school families. Not only are these challenges incredibly harmful to our community but many of them would result in suspension from school and possible police department involvement. We need your support at home in discouraging this behavior and participation in these challenges as well as empowering your children to be upstanders and report information to trusted adults if they witness this behavior, hear other children planning these things, or view online members of our community participating in these challenges. Please join us in supporting our students in making safe respectful choices with their social media engagement and how they interact with our community here at school.
This has certainly been another exceptional start to the school year. It’s been a full 18 months since most of our students experienced a school year outside of the pandemic. We are still under some restrictions and guidelines that require our students and staff to meet unique challenges. There is no way that we can expect students to arrive this year prepared for their grade level as we would have in the past. Instead we must pause, take careful stock of where each student is emotionally and academically and meet them where they are so we can lift them up and build a strong foundation for all the growth that will occur this year. This can look like us slowing things down, spending more time than we have in the past taking time to carefully build community, explicitly teaching the social skills needed to maintain a safe community, and practicing routines and expectations heavily before we can layer on rigorous academic expectations and tasks. I know as a community you will support us in this critical work so that we can do our very best work to support your children in the road they have ahead of this school year.
As I mentioned in my opening remarks at the Open House events, one of our goals this school year is to continue to cultivate a community that is kind, empathetic, and nourishes each individual student. Keep asking questions, stay curious, and keep providing us feedback so we can continue to improve and strengthen together. I know that we can do this hard work, and I look forward to working alongside each of you, your children, and our staff as we engage in this together.
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