Chauvin Trial and Courageous Conversations
Acknowledging the Discussions Happening in Our Community
Posted on 04/19/2021

Schools reflect the communities they serve. We live nearly 2,000 miles away from Minneapolis and the recent trial of Derek Chauvin. Yet discussions around social justice, race, policing, and politics are just as present in our own community. Whatever the verdict of that trial, its effect will be felt here and across the nation. In particular, our African American and Asian American Pacific Islander communities have been directly impacted by recent national events.

We know that our students, young and old, are likely aware of the tragic death of George Floyd and surrounding events. Teachers often use current events like this to strengthen lessons related to government, history, societal change, and more. The issues are complex and can provoke strong emotions in some students. Others might have a strong emotion to not want to talk about it. In all cases, we want students to feel safe in our schools and classrooms.

Even prior to my arrival here, we began training our staff to engage in these types of conversations using four agreements.*

  1. Stay engaged: Recognize that the situation is happening. Whether or not it directly impacts you, it does impact our students and our community.

  2. Experience discomfort: Discomfort is inevitable, especially when discussing difficult issues. Be willing to listen.

  3. Speak your truth: Be open about thoughts and feelings. Don’t just say what you think others want to hear. Sometimes the truth might be, “I don’t know.”

  4. Expect and accept non-closure: We are not going to solve everything today. The conversations are still meaningful. It’s ok to make small moves in the right direction.

 As educators, we have a responsibility to acknowledge the discussions happening in our community and to ensure our students have a place to express their opinions, learn from each other, and know that they are safe. We also recognize the influence our families and broader community have in modeling behaviors to help with the needs of our students. Please reach out to our school counselors, teachers, or principals if you have questions or if you’d like more guidance in talking with your child about these issues

Let us stand together and make Central Kitsap School District stronger, united and resilient. Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and schools.

Be Well and Stay Strong,

Erin Prince

*Adapted from Glenn E. Singleton & Curtis Linton, Courageous Conversations about Race:  A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools. 2006. pp.58-65. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.