Statement from County Superintendent on the Derek Chauvin Trial
Following is a statement by County Superintendent Steve Herrington on the Derek Chauvin trial and recent current events that resurfaced issues around racism and social justice.
Last summer, the violent death of George Floyd shook our community, as it did communities across our country. In the wake of the shooting and the widespread protests that resulted, I heard from many students of color about the trauma and stress those events created in their lives. They eloquently shared their need to feel seen, heard, and supported at school as one way to begin to address the injustices and inequities in our society.
We offered one such opportunity for students of color to be felt, seen, and heard during our Student Voices forums last fall. As educational leaders, we found it very enlightening and beneficial to hear directly from students about how issues of race, equity, and social justice impact their ability to focus and learn in school. You can read more about the students’ insights and the importance of hearing their voices in this Student Voices Report (draft).
The trial of Derek Chauvin has resurfaced many of these intense feelings for students in our community, and some may need additional support processing these current events. As educators, it is important to provide safe and respectful spaces for children to process and have productive conversations about civil disagreements, and to work together toward a more equitable and just society. You can access our resources to support civil discourse on these challenging topics, as well as provide mental and emotional support to students who may be struggling, at scoe.org/socialjustice.
Steven D. Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools