Saying Goodbye to a Very Challenging School Year

  • The Political Divide In the Country and Social Media: There is a great deal of anger and frustration across the country and it was on full display at school board meetings this year. Concerns over Critical Race Theory(Or “CRT”), gender identity, responses to COVID, and library books were just a few of the many issues school districts had to address. Various states began to address these perceived concerns with legislation banning certain curriculum and regulating topics teachers could discuss. Some states went so far as to establish hot lines to report teachers suspected of violating community norms and some allowing for legal action. A number of states have implemented, or are considering, a “Parent’s Bill of Rights”, but none to date have included a Parent’s Bill of “Responsibilities”. All of these issues get played out on various social media sites where anonymous community members can make any number of unfounded allegations and accusations that school and district leaders have to respond to as quickly as possible.
  • School Violence and Security Concerns: Across the country school districts are reporting an alarming number of social and mental health challenges with students; linked to the challenges and pressures of the pandemic. This has caused a rise of students acting violently with emotional outburst and fights up considerably from the previous year. This year, several national social media platforms challenged students to take any number of concerning actions in school from vandalism, assaulting teachers, and calling in false security threats knowing it would require a response. Horrific school shootings this year, headlined by the deaths of students and staff in Michigan and Texas, were a grim reminder that our schools are targets for violence.

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