Turning Pain into Purpose: Empowering your child’s school when they don’t know they need it

If you are not following me on Instagram, you may not know that we had an interesting Black History Month. And not for good reason! But as usual, Reiko turns everything into a teachable moment, so I am briefly recapping the events here on the blog today to share a resource I created. So let’s get into it, shall we?

“Well, you have the month of February but we have the other eleven months.” Those were the words that a classmate told my six year old son at school during their Valentine’s Day exchange party. You read that right. She also was kind enough to share that she didn’t “Respect black people.” That’s a lot to process. Shocked. Traumatized. Appalled. Offended. Confused. We felt all of those feelings at the same time. 

What started off as the highest of insults and trying to figure out how to explain the word “microagression”  to my six year old son turned into a revelation that my son’s school had severely dropped the ball in addressing the situation. 

I thought that I would be able to just email the teacher and get a meeting scheduled with the parent of the girl who made these racially charged remarks to my son. What really happened is that I had to schedule a number of meetings with the school once I realized that best practices were not being followed on the admin side and that there was a professional development failure on the teacher’s part. 

As Zavier’s mom, it was important that I speak and advocate for him and other students like him so that this never happens again. It also led me to create a resource for the school because I refused to be shushed away. I used my experience as a veteran educator and one really pissed mom to create a guide on how to handle cultural sensitivity on any school campus. 

If you want to know the background of the story, click here so that you have a better understanding of why I went into DEI mode on the behalf of my child. 

If you ever find that your school or place of employment needs to develop greater cultural awareness,  here are 7 Considerations for Cultural Awareness and Equitable Practices. I created it with my mentor and professional thought partner, Lisa Lucario.  It was a labor of love in the name of my son because it was the only way I knew how to truly offer a solution as an outraged parent and a seasoned educator. 

 

 

What are your thoughts? Would you have gone through the trouble of creating a resource to help the leaders in your child’s school do better in handling a culturally sensitive situation?

You can download a PDF version of this resource here. 

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2 Comments

  1. Whew 😥 I’m at a loss for words. I think they way you handled it was amazing. And I applaud you for it. I don’t know what I would’ve done in that moment. But I only have 100% mom experience no educator background. I think the resource you created is amazing and I hope they use it often. I took a LinkedIn course yesterday about how to have hard conversations at work in a safe space. And I feel like as an adult I can maneuver it but when it comes to my Child I’m not so even headed, and she’s grown. Lol 😂 I be wanting to roll up on campus like do we have a problem.

  2. I love this resource and think I may use it some time soon (with credit given for your work) at my place of employment. I am currently the black face of the DEI group at the office and I’m tired.
    We do all the work. I love and appreciate your everything!