Election Handled as Crisis in Newton Schools
Over the past 48 hours, I have heard from principals and faculty who have reported a wide range of student reaction to the election results. One veteran middle school guidance counselor wrote the following to me,
“I spoke to many students yesterday who had varying issues resulting from the election results. Never in my career would I ever imagine that there would be a need to respond to students due to election results in a similar way that I would respond to them as a result of a crisis.”
I wanted to share with you a message I sent to NPS faculty and staff yesterday. I share it with you because I want you to know that the teachers and staff in our buildings are deeply committed to supporting your children as we all seek the path forward from the contentious election.
Everyday, our schools work hard to create communities that are welcoming, inclusive and supportive for all. It is our mission to prepare students to be active and engaged citizens of this country and world who appreciate diverse perspectives. We remain steadfast in this commitment.
In the coming days, should you have any concerns or need additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact your school directly.
Superintendent of Schools
Letter to Faculty/Staff
I know many of you are physically and emotionally exhausted after this long and contentious election. I have struggled with what to write since 3:30 this morning. The election has had an impact on many people in a way that none of us could probably have ever imagined.
I recognize that many of you had to process the results very quickly in order to be prepared for discussion with and reaction from your students. This could not have been an easy task as it has been difficult to talk about so many aspects of this election with students.
Given the polarizing nature of the election, many of our students do not know what to expect. There are students who express fear, dismay and concern for their future and we need support them. Others may be enthusiastic about the result and we need to protect their right to express their views.
One of my concerns about our national discourse is that we have lost our ability to engage in thoughtful dialogue about serious issues in a respectful manner. While we do not have control over what happens at the national level, we can create a culture in our schools that is respectful and supportive. Hopefully, the work we are doing now will help our students to be prepared to participate in a less divisive world. Given where we are right now, I recognize this is a tall order.
I know these conversations will continue in the coming days as we process the historic nature of what we have just experienced. I appreciate the magnitude of the challenge we face as both educators and citizens.
And I share this letter from Vanity Fair that Aaron Sorkin Wrote His Daughter After Donald Trump Was Elected President
November 9, 2016 8:52 pm
Well the world changed late last night in a way I couldn’t protect us from. That’s a terrible feeling for a father. I won’t sugarcoat it—this is truly horrible. It’s hardly the first time my candidate didn’t win (in fact it’s the sixth time) but it is the first time that a thoroughly incompetent pig with dangerous ideas, a serious psychiatric disorder, no knowledge of the world and no curiosity to learn has.
And it wasn’t just Donald Trump who won last night—it was his supporters too. The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life (or are the reason for their way of life) have been given cause to celebrate. Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic shitheads everywhere. Hate was given hope. Abject dumbness was glamorized as being “the fresh voice of an outsider” who’s going to “shake things up.” (Did anyone bother to ask how? Is he going to re-arrange the chairs in the Roosevelt Room?) For the next four years, the President of the United States, the same office held by Washington and Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, F.D.R., J.F.K. and Barack Obama, will be held by a man-boy who’ll spend his hours exacting Twitter vengeance against all who criticize him (and those numbers will be legion). We’ve embarrassed ourselves in front of our children and the world.
And the world took no time to react. The Dow futures dropped 700 points overnight. Economists are predicting a deep and prolonged recession. Our NATO allies are in a state of legitimate fear. And speaking of fear, Muslim-Americans, Mexican-Americans and African-Americans are shaking in their shoes. And we’d be right to note that many of Donald Trump’s fans are not fans of Jews. On the other hand, there is a party going on at ISIS headquarters. What wouldn’t we give to trade this small fraction of a man for Richard Nixon right now?
So what do we do?
First of all, we remember that we’re not alone. A hundred million people in America and a billion more around the world feel exactly the same way we do.
Second, we get out of bed. The Trumpsters want to see people like us (Jewish, “coastal elites,” educated, socially progressive, Hollywood…) sobbing and wailing and talking about moving to Canada. I won’t give them that and neither will you. Here’s what we’ll do…
…we’ll fucking fight. (Roxy, there’s a time for this kind of language and it’s now.) We’re not powerless and we’re not voiceless. We don’t have majorities in the House or Senate but we do have representatives there. It’s also good to remember that most members of Trump’s own party feel exactly the same way about him that we do. We make sure that the people we sent to Washington—including Kamala Harris—take our strength with them and never take a day off.
We get involved. We do what we can to fight injustice anywhere we see it—whether it’s writing a check or rolling up our sleeves. Our family is fairly insulated from the effects of a Trump presidency so we fight for the families that aren’t. We fight for a woman to keep her right to choose. We fight for the First Amendment and we fight mostly for equality—not for a guarantee of equal outcomes but for equal opportunities. We stand up.
America didn’t stop being America last night and we didn’t stop being Americans and here’s the thing about Americans: Our darkest days have always—always—been followed by our finest hours.
Roxy, I know my predictions have let you down in the past, but personally, I don’t think this guy can make it a year without committing an impeachable crime. If he does manage to be a douche nozzle without breaking the law for four years, we’ll make it through those four years. And three years from now we’ll fight like hell for our candidate and we’ll win and they’ll lose and this time they’ll lose for good. Honey, it’ll be your first vote.
The battle isn’t over, it’s just begun. Grandpa fought in World War II and when he came home this country handed him an opportunity to make a great life for his family. I will not hand his granddaughter a country shaped by hateful and stupid men. Your tears last night woke me up, and I’ll never go to sleep on you again.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article overstated the amount by which Dow futures dropped on Wednesday morning.
My husband responds to our kids:
Please read, below, letter that a well-known Hollywood writer penned to his daughters after Trump won. He says everything that I want to tell you but have not the way with words. We will fight, we will win.
Only thing I will add is that when you pick a fight, have your facts spot on and never be the one to reach the gutter first, especially on social media. Always remember, your adversary is as passionate as you are, about their positions/beliefs. That does not make them a bad person – they are just misguided and wrong. 😉 The way to win and advance your position is to educate yourselves and know what you’re talking about – completely. And never initiate tirades involving profanity – you lose credibility by doing so. Build your arguments step by step, and kill them with logic.
It’s been difficult last few days. Your mom and I have been emotional as well. It’s been hard to watch our country reject what we (and most of our friends) believe and go down a path that will have long lasting consequences. Most of all, you are loved and are safe. We will do everything we can to keep you safe.
My response to our kids: if you are going to don a safety pin, make sure you keep your self defense skills sharp. Kids, we are going to be spending more time at the boxing gym!!