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A message from Superintendent Dave Webb about the death of George Floyd
Dear SSP Staff, Students and Families,
These past few days have been extremely difficult for our community, our state and our nation. The tragic killing of George Floyd, and the subsequent violence and unrest has been scary and deeply upsetting. As an adult, I know how difficult it has been to process all I have seen on the news.
I am continuing to struggle with the tragic death of George Floyd, the events that have followed and the hurt of so many. I also struggle for words to describe my feelings, my emotions and how to best support all of you in this extremely difficult time.
Over the last few days, I heard from several of you, and everyone I connected with is struggling, too. The black leaders that I spoke with highlighted their pain and suffering and shared the incredible hurt our black students are experiencing right now. And, as we know in schools, when one part of our family is hurting, we all hurt.
I don’t have all the answers, but I want to do my part to share more of what we stand for and what we believe. First, I promise you that our district is completely committed to combatting systemic racism and discrimination, and ensuring that we are creating more welcoming spaces for every one of our students and each of our staff members. In these troubled times, we want South St. Paul Public Schools to be a place that is safe, a place that offers stability and support for each and every student and staff member. We are deeply committed to supporting ALL of our students and ALL of our staff through the six core values of our District:
I also want to remind you of the #SSPcares and the #SeeMe campaigns from earlier this year. It is imperative that our students, families and staff of color know that we see them, we hear them, and that they are supported and loved. We know we have work to do, but I promise that South St. Paul Public Schools is committed to addressing acts of racism, acts of violence, acts of discrimination and other hurtful actions. SSP Schools will be a place where racist behavior will not be accepted. As we close out this school year and transition to a new academic year, we will become better, together.
In South St. Paul, we believe that supporting our students in both their academic and social-emotional development is critical. If we were together in school now, our teachers would adjust their daily routines to create safe spaces for our students to connect and share their feelings and concerns. While this is more challenging to do under our current Distance Learning model, I am confident our staff are working hard to still create these environments for our students.
I encourage you to connect with your child about how they are dealing with what they are seeing and hearing, whether in conversations with others or online. I know each of us are responding differently to these unfolding events. We need to appreciate and acknowledge the various perspectives we hold and encourage respectful conversations that move us all forward. As such, I wanted to share some resources that can help guide conversations with your student as they share their emotions and questions with you.
- Mental Health Supports - Associated Clinic of Psychology
- How to Talk About Traumatic Events and Tragedies - MDE
- Supporting Students in Stressful Times - National Association of School Psychologists
- Discussing Difficult Situations with Your Child - National PTA
- Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence - Teaching Tolerance
- Trauma Guides - Child Mind Institute
As always, please know our SSP administration, counselors and all staff are ready to support you and your student. If we can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Community Learning Center
Kaposia Education Center
Lincoln Center Elementary
Finally, know that we miss you all and hope you and your family are well and safe during this challenging time.
Dave Webb, superintendent