September 2019

If you already have not experienced the “Back to School” adjustment yet, it is almost certain that this week will be that time in your community. The beginning of the school year always seems to come with new hopes and goals - not just for the students, but for our educators as well. One of the biggest hopes that our students walk in the door with is whether or not they will feel safe or comfortable in their classrooms.   We have students that need specific policies, procedures, and practices in place to make sure they learn in environments that can be as safe as we can possibly make them.  Does your district have a Safe School resolution in place? Do you ask students to note their pronoun choice? Do you make an effort to use non-binary or inclusive pronouns? Has there been an effort to make sure that you or your district participate in the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action?  Make sure you sign up for their emails!   The increase of mass shootings recently has once again put a spotlight on lockdown drills in our schools. Two issues repetitive issues we keep seeing from this are educators being subjected to alarming practice active shooter drills and attempts to normalize these drills for our students. We know we need a better solution. The Parkland youth activists have been busy developing their own vision for a solution.  We should always be looking to the youth to center their voices and working to elevate their work. This is why we look towards our youth that are leading the Climate Strike this month. They have extended an invitation for adults to join them in demanding climate justice for everyone.

If you already have not experienced the “Back to School” adjustment yet, it is almost certain that this week will be that time in your community. The beginning of the school year always seems to come with new hopes and goals - not just for the students, but for our educators as well. One of the biggest hopes that our students walk in the door with is whether or not they will feel safe or comfortable in their classrooms.

We have students that need specific policies, procedures, and practices in place to make sure they learn in environments that can be as safe as we can possibly make them. Does your district have a Safe School resolution in place? Do you ask students to note their pronoun choice? Do you make an effort to use non-binary or inclusive pronouns? Has there been an effort to make sure that you or your district participate in the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action? Make sure you sign up for their emails!

The increase of mass shootings recently has once again put a spotlight on lockdown drills in our schools. Two issues repetitive issues we keep seeing from this are educators being subjected to alarming practice active shooter drills and attempts to normalize these drills for our students. We know we need a better solution. The Parkland youth activists have been busy developing their own vision for a solution.

We should always be looking to the youth to center their voices and working to elevate their work. This is why we look towards our youth that are leading the Climate Strike this month. They have extended an invitation for adults to join them in demanding climate justice for everyone.

We have been watching through some of the discussions within our membership and have seen a few themes stand out. To begin within, safety can start with the messaging that a student can be their true self in any space, at any time. We know that this is not the case for everyone - but you can do your part to make it that way in your classroom, your building, and your district. This goes beyond just welcoming and accepting who they are, it even extends beyond inclusion of materials from different authors. Decolonizing your classroom should also include an analysis of space and structures with an overall focus on centering those for who this is being done.  We have seen a lot of posts recently about activities that have been done in the classroom that were designed to highlight stereotypes that exist, or the use of texts and other materials to generate discussions around racism. It’s great that we are seeing more of an effort to create culturally competent classrooms. But please know that this extends beyond just writing the lesson plan. Research and training is absolutely necessary before and during this work.  There are many resources like the ones below that will help you on this journey. Decolonizing the classroom extends beyond alternative seating and cool posters. It creates a home for the students that you build with them; and all good homes start with a strong foundation, without causing injury or harm in the process.   Teaching Race in Schools in the 21st Century    Decolonize your Syllabus    Decolonizing your syllabus? You might have missed some steps

We have been watching through some of the discussions within our membership and have seen a few themes stand out. To begin within, safety can start with the messaging that a student can be their true self in any space, at any time. We know that this is not the case for everyone - but you can do your part to make it that way in your classroom, your building, and your district. This goes beyond just welcoming and accepting who they are, it even extends beyond inclusion of materials from different authors. Decolonizing your classroom should also include an analysis of space and structures with an overall focus on centering those for who this is being done.

We have seen a lot of posts recently about activities that have been done in the classroom that were designed to highlight stereotypes that exist, or the use of texts and other materials to generate discussions around racism. It’s great that we are seeing more of an effort to create culturally competent classrooms. But please know that this extends beyond just writing the lesson plan. Research and training is absolutely necessary before and during this work.

There are many resources like the ones below that will help you on this journey. Decolonizing the classroom extends beyond alternative seating and cool posters. It creates a home for the students that you build with them; and all good homes start with a strong foundation, without causing injury or harm in the process.

Teaching Race in Schools in the 21st Century

Decolonize your Syllabus

Decolonizing your syllabus? You might have missed some steps

Our schools must be safe places for all students!  This is not debatable.  But there are two over-shadowing issues in this country right now that greatly affect how safe our students are feeling in our schools.  Gun safety: As schools opened for the 2019/2020 school year we watched the rollout of the new safety drill procedures. Unfortunately we have witnessed procedures and practices put into place that do not do anything towards increasing the safety of our students or educators.  Hearing from educators that have experienced being shot at in role-playing activities leads us to ask if these schools have any idea about what to do/not do to incorporate trauma informed practices.  Reading about songs that children have learned, or how they go home to tell about what they learned that day and the only thing their mind is focused on is the safety drill (fear is a powerful force that etches an imprint in the mind) should be a flashing red warning light to everyone that we are harming children.  We agree with  Evan Gertsmann:  "There are much better uses for the resources that go into these unproven, traumatizing active-shooter drills. In terms of protecting schoolchildren from the very small risk of active shooters, the money would be better spent on hiring more counselors."  As activists and advocates, we need to make sure we keep pushing for comprehensive gun control. The Parkland students have not stopped and neither should we! Make sure you read the " March for Our Lives Peace Plan "  Immigration: We know that all schools do not yet have full policies that will ensure the safety of our immigrant and refugee students. Have you checked to see if your district has a policy in place, such as a Safe Haven/Safe Zone resolution?  Here is some  legal guidance  that you can start with   NEA also has some great  information and resources

Our schools must be safe places for all students!

This is not debatable.
But there are two over-shadowing issues in this country right now that greatly affect how safe our students are feeling in our schools.

Gun safety: As schools opened for the 2019/2020 school year we watched the rollout of the new safety drill procedures. Unfortunately we have witnessed procedures and practices put into place that do not do anything towards increasing the safety of our students or educators.

Hearing from educators that have experienced being shot at in role-playing activities leads us to ask if these schools have any idea about what to do/not do to incorporate trauma informed practices.

Reading about songs that children have learned, or how they go home to tell about what they learned that day and the only thing their mind is focused on is the safety drill (fear is a powerful force that etches an imprint in the mind) should be a flashing red warning light to everyone that we are harming children.

We agree with Evan Gertsmann: "There are much better uses for the resources that go into these unproven, traumatizing active-shooter drills. In terms of protecting schoolchildren from the very small risk of active shooters, the money would be better spent on hiring more counselors."

As activists and advocates, we need to make sure we keep pushing for comprehensive gun control. The Parkland students have not stopped and neither should we! Make sure you read the "March for Our Lives Peace Plan"

Immigration: We know that all schools do not yet have full policies that will ensure the safety of our immigrant and refugee students. Have you checked to see if your district has a policy in place, such as a Safe Haven/Safe Zone resolution?

Here is some legal guidance that you can start with

NEA also has some great information and resources

***The Badass Teachers Association Board of Directors officially supports the Global Climate Strike!***  Do you have students in your district that will be participating? Are you planning on attending a local event? Are you incorporating Climate Justice into your lesson planning?  There are different levels at which we can all get involved - the most important thing is to GET INVOLVED!   Climate Strike   Join in on social media by using the hashtags  #climatestrike  and  #climatestrikingeducators    Sign for your support   Amnesty chief  urges  schools to let students participate in climate strike NYC  plans to excuse students  that participate in the Climate Strike   Students across Oregon  plan on participating:   Climate Strike toolkit for workers    Resources:    Portland resolution  to develop an implementation plan for Climate Literacy:   Teaching Tolerance   What is Environmental Justice   Analyzing Environmental Justice     NEA list of resources  to teach climate literacy   Zinn Education Project -  Teach Climate Justice Campaign     Duke Environmental Justice Workshop  K-12 Lesson Plans

***The Badass Teachers Association Board of Directors officially supports the Global Climate Strike!***

Do you have students in your district that will be participating? Are you planning on attending a local event? Are you incorporating Climate Justice into your lesson planning?

There are different levels at which we can all get involved - the most important thing is to GET INVOLVED!

Climate Strike
Join in on social media by using the hashtags #climatestrike and #climatestrikingeducators

Sign for your support

Amnesty chief urges schools to let students participate in climate strike
NYC plans to excuse students that participate in the Climate Strike
Students across Oregon plan on participating:

Climate Strike toolkit for workers

Resources:
Portland resolution to develop an implementation plan for Climate Literacy:

Teaching Tolerance
What is Environmental Justice
Analyzing Environmental Justice


NEA list of resources to teach climate literacy

Zinn Education Project - Teach Climate Justice Campaign

Duke Environmental Justice Workshop K-12 Lesson Plans

Our BAT Quality of Work Life team is hosting their second webinar "Bravery the Badass Way!"  Join us to learn from others that have moved from fear to empowerment and discuss ways that you can to!  Sign up to receive the webinar link!  Bit.ly/QWLFF2

Our BAT Quality of Work Life team is hosting their second webinar "Bravery the Badass Way!"

Join us to learn from others that have moved from fear to empowerment and discuss ways that you can to!

Sign up to receive the webinar link! Bit.ly/QWLFF2

Melissa Tomlinson