Message from SSWAA’s President and Western Rep. and resources for staff and students after the violence at the Capitol

Hi, everyone. I hope you are healthy and well in this new year. 
Some of you are back at work and some are still on break. Those of you who are back at work may be struggling for words to explain to children/teens the rioting and deaths that occurred on Jan. 6. We have some resources below. Please reach out if you need any support or further resources and certainly share the resources below. We are here for you. đź’“  
On a personal note, we were all already struggling with the pandemic and hybrid/distance learning. My family has been personally affected by the pandemic with illnesses and deaths and these current events have caused further dismay and disbelief. It’s all a bit overwhelming. 
This is the time to lean on our colleagues and just offer an ear or just be present with each other. Unexpected care, patience and kindness can go a long way on our campuses and virtually. Please take care of one another as we all take good care of ourselves. 
Here is Christy McCoy’s message below:
The violence and chaos of events that occurred at our Nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021 undoubtedly will have an impact on students of all ages, our staff, families and communities we serve. Our students are observing the responses of adults and having to face additional uncertainty in the midst of the pandemic. As school social workers, our expertise is needed more than ever to be a bridge in navigating the profound effects caused by the polarization and divisiveness in our country. Our skills in holding safe spaces to help students, families, staff to process their thoughts and feelings is vital. At the same time, our willingness and necessity to engage in courageous conversations about racism as well as to use our voices to stand up to social injustices is critical to the promotion of healing historical as well as present day trauma. In November, SSWAA developed a Position Paper titled “Guidance to Supporting Students, Families and Staff Post Election” and we would like to provide a link to this resource again to support your responses today as much of the information will hopefully be of use in your responses and interventions. https://aab82939-3e7b-497d-8f30-a85373757e29.filesusr.com/ugd/486e55_fcc8ec1ee4144a15a6a8d84888ae19f1.pdf.We also want to provide a few tips for moving forward in work today:1.  Make sure to check in with yourself – notice any feelings you are experiencing and utilize your colleagues, friends, family, self care practices  to help you find grounding. 2.  Intentionally create safe and supportive space to listen to the thoughts and feelings of your students, families and staff. Be mindful that the responses of adults may differ from the responses of your students. 3. Share the Facts and Speak the Truth4.  Encourage and connect students and families to social connections, resources and supports within the school and their community.  5.  Help your staff recognize the importance of modeling calm and optimistic behavior that instills hope in the face of adversity. 6.  Provide tools and training to teach healthy coping skills in the wake of a crisis. I would also like to share a few additional resources:  When Bad Things Happen – https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/summer-2013/when-bad-things-happen. CASEL – Building a Culture of Equity Through SEL with Robert J. Jagers, Taryn Ishida, Roberto Rivera, Dena Simmons, and Meena Srinivasan. Conference Plenary VideoResources for Teachers on the days after the attack on the U.S. Capitol – https://beyondthestoplight.com/2021/01/06/resources-for-teachers-on-the-days-after-the-attack-on-the-u-s-capitol/?fbclid=IwAR3SBAlBJT-miqRnPEgwoqqGPCG3enDaeuCkkNCnLbPo8auuh0cKqx2SZmgNPR – Now is a Good Time to Talk to Kids about Civics https://www.npr.org/2020/10/31/929578004/anxious-about-the-election-your-kids-can-tell-heres-how-to-talk-about-itWatch for webinars, tools and other resources on our SSWAA website and in the EBells sent to members to enhance your practice.  Also feel free to reach out to your Regional Representatives (that’s me) or any SSWAA Board Member. 
Christy McCoy MSW LICSWSSWAA President and MSSWA Legislative Chair School Social Worker

Thank you.  
Regards, Michelle C. Santiago, MSW, LCSW, PPSC

Main SSWAA Logo.png Western Representative

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