We Love ALL of Our Students
What: Demonstrations of love and support for our students as they come to school
When: Before school, Valentine’s Day, February 14
Where: In front of the school where you work or send your children
Who: All supportive and caring adults
Why: Our students need to know, in the midst of troubling times, that their school communities stand with them and love them
Ever since last year’s Presidential campaign began in earnest, we have watched our students, and many of their parents, experience heightened stress and anxiety. Irrespective of our own feelings about the campaign or its results, we understand that our principal responsibility is safeguarding and promoting the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of our students. When they feel anxious about their safety and sense of belonging, as when they struggle with the traumas imposed on them by poverty and/or violence, it is difficult to teach them new skills or help them become the best versions of themselves possible. That is our responsibility. As educators and parents, we must act.
We are asking all concerned adults to join us outside of our schools on the morning of February 14 for public displays of support and love. There are a host of ways to participate (holding signs, greeting students with hugs and/or high 5s, etc.), and each school group should create a program that fits its own school culture and routine. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show love, and we believe that the actions of caring adults will go a long way towards creating a safer and more productive classroom environment for our students.
Here’s what we’re asking you to do:
- Share this information with other educators/parents at your school to create an action team. If there are student groups whose missions overlap, please share with them as well. If you would like to participate, please sign this form and we will work to help connect you with other people in your school community that want to help lead the effort.
- Contact your school’s administration and set up a time/place that will be visible without disrupting the early morning routine of the school.
- Share the plan and location with the whole school/parent community and ask for commitments to participate.
- Write songs/chants, make signs, or create other visual symbols that affirm the lives of our students, as part of a specific group or in general. Examples might be:
- We ❤ ALL of Our Students
- Black Lives Matter Here
- Refugee and Immigrant Students are Always Welcome
- Muslims are Not a Threat
- LGBTQ Safe Zone—Be Yourselves!!!
- Your Body is Yours—It Will be Respected Here
- No Bullies Allowed
- Take pictures, post them to Facebook and other social media (especially at the Durham Association of Educators group page) with the hashtag #weloveourstudents
Note/Disclaimer on being “too political”: Educators and parents often shy away from actions or discussions that they believe to be “too political” for public schools. While we acknowledge the fear of retribution and/or alienation as legitimate, we would offer the following arguments to encourage action and courage:
- Free speech is protected at schools, from the Supreme Court down to the DPS School Board’s Free Speech resolution passed last Spring
- Educators are prevented, by law, from using the classroom space to advocate for a particular candidate or party, but discussions about current events and political matters in the country are necessary if we want our students to engage the world as active citizens, think critically, and make decisions for themselves. Paying close attention to the very real lives our students live beyond our classroom doors makes us better educators.
- Our students’ safety and well-being are primary. When the political climate around them generates fear and stress, we have a responsibility to care for them and help them feel safe.
- Because they are taxpayer funded and governed by elected bodies, every single thing that happens in a public school is political, from funding to curriculum to decisions about leadership and structure. Avoiding discussions of controversial topics for the sake of avoiding “politics” is dishonest. Our silence supports someone’s position. So do our actions. Let’s be thoughtful, intentional, and responsible to our students, their parents, and our communities. Let’s show them love.
For more information, fill out the form or contact the Durham Association of Educators at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-210-9256.