After mob violence engulfed the U.S. Capitol, public school districts across the country issued scathing condemnations of the violence while ignoring their priority: focusing on educating students during a pandemic.
Across the country, public school districts issued statements and press releases which were filled with left-wing ideological buzzwords such as “white supremacy” and “racial justice.” We compiled a short list of some statements, which highlighted how disconnected the districts are to their jobs and students.
- Los Angeles Unified School District board president Kelly Gonez told the press, “There is nothing more fundamental to our democracy than the will of the people. Trump’s rejection of the 2020 election not only betrays his oath to defend the Constitution, but his actions brought us directly to today’s assault on the Capitol. The actions of these terrorists are nothing less than an attack on American democracy itself, fueled by white supremacist violence and hatred.”
- Gonez added, “The muted police response to armed insurrectionists stands in stark contrast to the force used against peaceful Black and brown protestors seeking racial justice over the summer & in years past, & highlights the racism embedded in our criminal justice & law enforcement systems. As our children look on, I am reminded today of the fragility of our democratic institutions and of the charge to urgently dismantle white supremacy wherever it exists.”
- Clark County, Nevada (which includes the city of Las Vegas), said, “As we struggle to help our children understand the impacts of these historic events, our educators must be clear about the importance of restoring peace and democracy in the months and years to come. Non-partisan classroom discussions will play a critical role in helping students to comprehend the social and legal consequences of the abhorrent actions we all witnessed on Capitol Hill.”
- Des Moines Public Schools issued a statement, calling it a “dark day” and said, “January 6, 2021 will forever be a dark day in the history of the United States. The violent, criminal attacks at the U.S. Capitol were an affront to the very premise of E Pluribus Unum. As educators, the importance of teaching both civics and civility, including the ideals behind our democracy, has never been more critical. As a school district, we must live up to our commitment to equity and our vision of becoming the model for urban education.”
- Minnesota School District 196, located south of Minneapolis, e-mailed a statement to constituents condemning the violence, “We are progressing through a pandemic, renewing our commitment to equity after George Floyd’s killing, and now we are processing the threat to our democracy that occurred yesterday in our nation’s capital. We witnessed white supremacy in action. This is not about politics. It is about systemic racism. It is about an affront to our democracy.”
- Fairfax County Public Schools, a northern Virginia school district in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, wrote, “We are deeply troubled by the upsetting events at the U.S. Capitol today. We know that many people are feeling confusion, fear and anger. FCPS stands ready to support students, staff, and families who may need to talk and process these events.”
A school district’s primary responsibility is to focus on the education of the students that they serve. School districts should worry about their funding and budgets, student attendance, graduation and retention rates, teacher retention, and other local issues and concerns. Educators should first worry about their students, not national politics or divisive rhetoric.
There have been many reports detailing the mental health issues plaguing students, who were forced to attend classes remotely or virtually through a laptop, in addition to other concerns. The lack of social interactions with their peers not only increased stress levels among students, but also forced parents to tighten their schedules in order to balance work responsibilities with staying home to ensure their children would attend online classes. For students in low-income areas, school districts had many logistical issues distributing meals to students in need.
A championship-winning professional football coach, Bill Belichick, doles out the following mantra to his players: “Do your job.” It is a mantra that school districts should immediately adopt and integrate into their conduct and operations, considering the struggles that their students are undergoing during the coronavirus pandemic. Educators should do their job and worry less about national politics.