From the Desk of Brandon Cohen
The pandemic is taking a toll on us and our neighbors. We have been isolated from our families and friends, commerce has slowed to a crawl, and we are all yearning to return to our schools, our workplaces, our restaurants, our salons, and our normal ways of engaging with our community. We seem to be inching in that direction but still have a long way to go. Amidst all of this, we are overwhelmed with news of injustices and inequities that still exist in our country and continue to fuel divisions among our local and national communities.
The anger that poured into the streets of Los Angeles and across the nation these last few days has brought new trauma into our lives. Brawerman families were directly impacted by the violence inflicted on local businesses, and we are supporting them and helping them heal. Brawerman is a community that seeks justice and peace. We are a community where our differences do not divide us but make us stronger and more holy. We look to Jewish values to remind us that we are blessed to be a community greater than the sum of its parts, and that we are a people who persevere through the worst of hardships.
The civil unrest and its causes are challenging topics for parents and elementary schools to address with children. Each family is different, and we have many who have made the choice for their child(ren) to not be exposed to the events surrounding George Floyd, the protests, and the riots and still others who are making a point of sharing the events with their children. The ages of the children matter in this case. Because we respect that many students in the lower grades are not aware of the events, we have chosen not to raise the topic for our Grades K-4 students. If a student raises an issue during class, teachers will ask to follow up with the student privately later in the day. We have heard that some students are sharing information about these events through grade-level group chats, so it is critical that parents monitor their children's devices right now. We do not want misinformation or unsuitable content to be shared between the students.
For our Grade 5 and 6 students, we are committed to addressing this issue in a safe, developmentally appropriate manner, so we are creating optional open space check-ins facilitated by teachers, administrators, and the school counselor to discuss the events.
We have also gathered a few resources to support those of you who wish to address these difficult topics with your children.
- APA: How to Talk to Children About Difficult News
- HGSE: When Bad Things Happen
- NPR: Talking Race with Young Children
We are your partners in navigating these challenging moments. Please do not hesitate to reach out.