Facilitating Dialogue with Compassion
With the expected release of a video showing five police officers fatally beating a 29-year-old man in Memphis, it’s important for children and adults to be able to share how they’re feeling in a safe and productive way. Children might have questions or strong emotions about it, especially those who have experienced trauma.
Students need the guidance and safety of adults in their schools to be able to navigate their own emotions and trauma. Classrooms are powerful places to help children process current events, provided educators create safe spaces for students.
Engage with Open-Ended Questions
When engaging with staff and students, use open-ended questions, such as:
- What are you curious about?
- How are you feeling?
- What needs to be discussed?
- What terms did you hear that we might need to understand?
- What might you need right now?
Help the Community Ground Itself
- What do you value?
- How will this help guide you?
What community do you have to support you?
What future do you want to build?
- What has this situation taught you?
- What has this situation taught you about the criminal justice system in America?
- What has this situation taught you about people and communities?
Wellness and Mental Health Resources for Students, Adults
SDCOE offers training and support related to school safety, school climate and culture, and student mental health and well-being. Learn more about student support topics, and find the training calendar.
- The Virtual Wellness Center has resources and tools for parents and educators.
- Youth Mental Health First Aid helps provide initial help to young people showing signs of a mental illness crisis and connect them with the appropriate professional, peer, social, or self-help care.
- Compilation of mental health resources for parents, students, and educators.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides resources that can be filtered by topic or keyword and by audience with a focus on how adults can identify traumatic responses in young people and how to support them.
- School Leaders Guide to Create Healing Dialogue Space – Provides ways to create and hold authentic, healing dialogue space for those in your school community
- The Constitutional Rights Foundation: Lesson Plans – Provides texts on both sides of a civic issue and encourages discourse skillset
- Teaching as Activism, Teaching as Care (video) – From the SDCOE 2021 Equity Conference, speaker Jamilah Pitts provides ideas to care for students who might be hurting from national events
- 6 Guiding Principles to Trauma-Informed Approach – One-page PDF explains the trauma-informed approach
- Let’s Talk: Facilitating Critical Conversations with Students – From Learning for Justice, a guide for educators to prepare and hold critical conversations in the classroom
- 10 Ways to Fight Hate on Campus – Resource intended for college-age students, but may be helpful for high school students
- Talking to Children About Violence – Tips for parents and children from the National Association of School Psychologists.
More to explore
April is National Arab American, Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month (also known as National Arab American Heritage Month). This resource guide provides tools to learn more, recognize, and celebrate the diverse culture, history, and contributions of Arab Americans.
Betsy DeLaRosa, SDCOE's Classified School Employee of the Year, brings a depth of knowledge of child development to her work and often serves as a voice of advocacy and support for local families.
The San Diego County Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution recognizing March 5 to 11, 2023 as National School Social Work Week.
As an office assistant at the JCCS Youth Transition Center, Fabiola Resendiz-Castillo handles a lot at the school, including supporting staff members, helping visitors, and even providing translation services during student-led conferences.
Dr. Matthew Tessier has joined the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) as assistant superintendent of innovation, building on organizational efforts to eliminate bias and create opportunity, as well as expand offerings at the Linda Vista Innovation Center and offer professional development for school leaders and staff.