Supporting our Farnsworth Students through Difficult Times
Dear Farnsworth Families,
I am writing to address the killing of Mr. George Floyd by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day, and the community unrest in the Twin Cities and across the country.
As a school community, we have been navigating the unexpected challenges of distance learning during a pandemic. We understand that much of the burden of additional responsibilities, academic oversight and juggling interruptions in work schedules. I expect that we have all been experiencing feelings of frustration, isolation, loneliness, and maybe even sadness, from time to time.
Now, we wrestle with the painful reality of the death of another African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of police. It is difficult to find the words to explain this to students, especially when we don’t have daily personal connections where we can create spaces to have these important conversations.
Underneath all the anger of what happened to Mr. Floyd is sadness and pain. There are no words that will make things right or better. George Floyd’s life matters. And we need to give our students unequivocal support, show them love and remind them every day that they matter. Social emotional connections are vital, especially at times like this.
For that reason, we are providing some guidance for you on how to help support your students as they maneuver the feelings they have right now. If your student needs to talk, please encourage them to reach out to our counselors Ms. Evans (Grades 5 & 8) and Ms. Cahill (Grades 6 & 8) and our social workers (Ms. Dodd and Ms. Lovat. Students are also able to connect with their teachers and support staff through Google Meets.
Thank you for your continued partnership and support.
Principal Hamilton E. Bell
Farnsworth Aerospace 5-8 campus
How Families Support Students
Families and schools support children by providing safety, soothing them in difficult times and ensuring they are seen.
- Providing as much consistency as possible, helps young people feel safe. Try to just be there for your child and create the typical and predictable routines.
- Caring adults provide a calming presence to young people during difficult times. Children may benefit from seeing adults with a sense of confidence and hope.
- Listen to your child and recognize if and when they seem uncomfortable or there is a change in behavior. Honor their unique story and emotions.
- Sometimes things that greatly impact adults do not have the same impact on children. If your child does not want to talk about things or does not seem impacted, that is OK.
- Take time to care for yourself, your physical and emotional needs. You and your feelings matter.
- The following are examples of self care/wellness activities:
- Stay physically and emotionally healthy; keep moving and find ways to recharge your battery
- Reach out to others; you do not have to do it all alone
- Engage in a hobby or activity
- Know your limits and don’t hesitate to say “no” when you need to
- Keep in mind the things that you are grateful for
Your child may show you signs that they are struggling. They may show some of the behaviors listed below immediately or days, weeks, or even months after an incident. If these last for a prolonged time or seem to get worse rather than better, reach out to your health care provider.
- Restlessness, anger, aggressive behavior
- Sleeping or eating difficulties
- Headaches, stomach aches, body aches
- Sadness, tearfulness
- Poor concentration
- Unexpected fears and worries
- Acting younger than their age
- Avoiding activities they usually enjoy
Additional Resources for Supporting Your Child:
Mental Health Crisis Resources:
Children’s Crisis Response 651-266-7878
Ramsey County Adult Mental Health Crisis 651-266-7900
National Suicide Prevention 1-800-273-8255
Saint Paul Public Schools Mindfulness Activities and Office of School Support
7 Ways to calm a Young Brain in Trauma, Edutopia https://www.edutopia.org/article/7-ways-calm-young-brain-trauma-lori-desautels
Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health: Discussing Traumatic Events with Youth. http://www.macmh.org/2017/10/resources-for-navigating-conversations-with-young-people-about-traumatic-events/
National PTA: discussing difficult topics with your children: https://www.pta.org/home/family-resources/health/Emotional-Health/Discussing-Difficult-Situations-With-Your-Children
Helping Children with Traumatic Grief Related to Covid 19
Child Mind: Supporting Families During Covid-19: https://childmind.org/coping-during-covid-19-resources-for-parents/