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Resources for Teachers after the Derek Chauvin Verdict

The guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial will undoubtedly have an impact on our students and school community tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future.  While the verdict brings a sense of relief to many, teachers should expect a wide range of emotional responses and should be ready to provide support if necessary to any student.

If you encounter a mental health emergency, please reach out to a social worker, counselor or administrator.  Please use Behavioral Health Team referrals if appropriate.

One of the most important things adults can do tomorrow is let the young people talk, while discouraging debate and listening.   One of the best formats for this, if you have established the practice within your classroom community, is to spend time in a circle. 

Here are some other resources that may be useful to teachers and staff tomorrow or in the coming days:

The Joliet West Black Lives Matter Club will be meeting tomorrow afternoon.  All students are welcome to attend.  Club sponsor Meghan Culp shared a helpful “What’s in Your News” discussion format the club has used in the past to guide difficult discussions.  Discussion participants are asked to respond to four prompts that allow them to reflect on their identity and consider next steps:   1. “What’s in my news 2. “My thought, feelings, questions” 3. “My identity (what pieces of my identity are carrying these feelings?” and 4. “Action: What can I do. Did within my control and power.”   Here are some sample of the responses Meghan and BLM Club co-sponsor Cassie Crim shared after the attack on the Capitol building in March.

Learning for Justice published a toolkit for teachers who may want to seize this teachable social justice moment, bring perspective to this verdict and help students who may feel a lack of closure.  The website offers other excellent resources including ideas for how to teach “the morning after” any traumatic event and ideas for teaching in the wake of police violence

Parlay created a lesson plan that provides questions and a format for students to participate in a virtual roundtable about the verdict.

Facing History and Ourselves has a collection of resources exploring policing and the legacy of racial injustice.

The Anti-defamation League has a collection of resources exploring teaching about racism, violence, inequity and the criminal justice system

The fall 2020 issue of Rethinking Schools focused on Black lives and includes a wide variety of materials including articles, poems and editorials.

We will continue to update this blog as other materials or resources are published or become available – so please send along anything useful that you would like others to know about.

And, finally, if you need any help or support all of the members of the Culturally Responsive Training Team are available to help in any way that we can.

Thank you for reading this blog post.  We encourage dialogue about this issue and also welcome any other questions or concerns you may have about equity, inclusion or culturally responsive teaching at JTHS. Please feel free to share anything using the question form and we will respond to you as soon as we can directly or in a future blog post.  All faculty are also invited to contribute to this blog: if you are interested in writing a post please reach out to any member of the Culturally Responsive Trainers team.