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We believe this article from Teaching Tolerance Magazine is as relative today as it was in 2014 when originally published. Too many names of innocent black lives that have been stolen at the hands of white police officers have been added to the list discussed here, most recently George Floyd.

We stand in solidarity with all individuals, families and communities of color, Black Americans in particular, who for generations have endured social and economic injustice and reprehensible violence by systemic racism and racial discrimination. Together, we have to create an end to this toxic system of hate.

We believe that children are not born racists, they are taught racism. We encourage ALL parents to spread this message in order to help be part of the solution by raising our children to love all people and every color in the rainbow, to feel empathy for others who are hurting, to seek ways to help and to comfort, and to always, always stand up to bigotry and hatred.

Together, we will change the world…one child at a time.

Source: from Teaching Tolerance Magazine


In 2014, the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York City, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and too many others caused waves of nationwide protest and appeals for stronger protections against police brutality.

These events—along with the lack of accountability for the police officers who shot and killed these unarmed victims—also prompted educators to seek resources on how to address these subjects in the classroom.

Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice ​
The resources below can help spur much-needed discussion around implicit bias and systemic racism, but they can also empower your students to enact the changes that will create a more just society.

Editor’s note: This web package was originally published in December 2014 under the title “Teaching About Ferguson: Race and Racism in the United States.” We update this page periodically to reflect currents events. For the latest statistics on police-related civilian deaths, see the Washington Post resource “Fatal Force.”

BLM coalition supporters honor Eric Garner NYC
The second anniversary of the death of Eric Garner, New York City. (Sipa via AP Images)
Teaching Tolerance Resources
Why the Texas Police-Stop Video Is a Problem
A new Texas law requires that students learn how to act appropriately when interacting with police officers, but it misses the mark by ignoring a history of policing that has not reserved the same respect for its citizens. This article illustrates how such initiatives ignore racism’s influence in police interactions.

Police Violence: New Jersey Bill Puts Onus and Blame On Children
This bill calls for “mutual cooperation and respect” concerning interactions with police—and it misses the point.

Living With the Bear
Constant exposure to violence via social media is harming our students. Learn to recognize the signs to give them the support they need.

After the Flag Comes Down
There was growing momentum to take down Confederate flags after nine people were murdered at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, but our work to denounce systemic racism cannot stop at symbolic markers.

The Revolution Will Be Tweeted
This middle school teacher empowered his students to lift their voices in discussions about Ferguson and Eric Garner—by assigning them to tweet.

Talking With Students About Ferguson and Racism
This teacher believes it’s crucial for white teachers like her to seek out productive ways to talk about race and racism with students.

When Educators Understand Race and Racism
What is the fundamental outcome of educators growing their racial competence? Learning.

The tragic loss of Michael Brown presents an opportunity to help students connect with our collective humanity.

Feature Stories
Teaching in Solidarity
Learn about the annual Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action and how you can participate.

Why Teaching Black Lives Matter Matters (Part I)
All educators have the civic responsibility to learn and teach the basic history and tenets of this movement for racial justice.

Bringing Black Lives Matter Into the Classroom (Part II)
An educator introduces ways to discuss Black Lives Matter across all grade levels.

A District Profile: Black Lives Matter at School
Meet a school district that brought BLM into the classroom—and learn how you could do it too.

Don’t Say Nothing
Educators’ silence speaks volumes during moments of racial tension or violence. Our students are listening.

Why Talk About Whiteness?
This magazine feature story explores why we can’t talk about racism without understanding the social construction of whiteness.

Ferguson, U.S.A.
This feature story explains why hardships faced by communities in crisis are national issues worth teaching. Further, it delineates three approaches to teaching, thinking and talking about the events of 2014 that had the nation grappling with the effects of police violence.

Vigil for Michael Brown
Desuirea Harris, the grandmother of Mike Brown is comforted by Lala Moore at a memorial to Brown. (AP Photo/Robert Cohen)
Professional Development
What Is White Privilege, Really?
This article helps set a firm definition of white privilege, rooted in the context of the historical use of the term and its present-day implications—both surface-level and systemic.

Test Yourself for Hidden Bias
This page defines the terms stereotype, prejudice and discrimination and includes a link to Project Implicit’s Hidden Bias Tests. It also provides suggestions for ensuring that implicit biases don’t manifest in biased actions.

PD Café: Responding to Trauma in Your Classroom
This collection of suggestions and resources can help educators identify how to respond when trauma directly or indirectly touches their classrooms.

Let’s Talk! Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics With Students
Talking with students about race and privilege is hard but necessary. This webinar can help you find the words. (Be sure to read the related publication, Let’s Talk! Facilitating Critical Conversations With Students.)

Let’s Talk! Discussing Black Lives Matter With Students
This webinar addresses the roots of Black Lives Matter, its platform and its connections to past social justice movements. It also offers tools for teaching about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Let’s Talk! Teaching Black Lives Matter
This sequel to Let’s Talk! Discussing Black Lives Matter in the Classroom reviews the education-related policy demands within the Movement for Black Lives’ platform: Invest-Divest and Community Control.

Equity Matters: Confronting Implicit Bias
To create equitable classrooms, educators must acknowledge their own biases and take steps to confront them. This webinar can help.

Preparing to Teach The New Jim Crow
This resource offers strategies and methods that can prepare teachers to support students during conversations about race, racism and other forms of oppression.

protesters march in Ferguson, MO after Michael Brown was fatally shot
Protestors march in Ferguson, MO, after the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Classroom Resources
Talking About Race and Racism
This lesson helps students learn to participate in open and honest conversations about race and racism.

Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System
How does mass incarceration function as a mechanism of radicalized social control in the United States today? What is “the age of colorblindness,” and how does it attempt to mask racial caste?

Understanding the Prison Label
What is the long-term harm and wider impact of mass incarceration on people and communities of color?

Dismantling Racial Caste
What is needed to end mass incarceration and permanently eliminate racial caste in the United States?

Iesha Evans (photo)
This iconic photo of nurse and mother Iesha Evans peacefully protesting in front of heavily militarized police officers became a symbol for the resistance to police brutality and violence. This text provides context for a discussion about the power dynamics of police and marginalized people.

Y’all Still Don’t Hear Me Though
This text for grades 6-8 features a 2015 essay by Lecia J. Brooks as she recounts her perspective as a protester who participated in the Los Angeles Race Riots that followed the trial of those who had committed police brutality against activist Rodney King. Her account details the pervasiveness of police brutality and why demonstrators protest against it.

Black Lives matter protest
Getty Images

Related External Resources
Preparing to Discuss Michael Brown in the Classroom
Developed by District of Columbia Public Schools, this document includes suggestions for how to frame painful conversations, resources for educators who wish to build their background knowledge and a protocol for engaging students. Although the material references Ferguson, it is relevant to all teaching about racial profiling or police violence.

Talking and Teaching About Police Violence
A post from the blog Prison Culture that includes activities to help assist educators in their conversations with students about the role of the police in society.

How to Teach Kids About What’s Happening in Ferguson
Published by The Atlantic, this is a crowdsourced list of readings and resources that support teaching about race, white privilege and incidents of police brutality, as well as civil rights history and other related topics. Although the material references Ferguson, it is relevant to all teaching about racial profiling or police violence.

Compiled by the African American Intellectual Honor Society, this list of readings is designed to help educators discuss the June 2015 massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

On Views of Race and Inequality, Blacks and Whites Are Worlds Apart
From the Pew Research Center, this article summarizes research about how white and black Americans view issues of racial inequity, including perceptions related to the police.

Happening Yesterday, Happened Tomorrow
In this article from Rethinking Schools, a teacher recounts how she helped her students process a series of brutal police-related deaths while also studying the historic connection between poetry and injustice.

Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism
From writer and educator Jon Greenberg, this collection of activities, readings and images offers try-tomorrow approaches for white educators and students.

Image may contain: one or more people, cloud, sky and outdoor

Talking to Children About Tragedies & Other News Events

Talking to Children About Tragedies

​​After any disaster, parents and other adults struggle with what they should say and share with children and what not to say or share with them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents, teachers, child care providers, and others who work closely with children to filter information about the crisis and present it in a way that their child can accommodate, adjust to, and cope with.

Where to Start – All Ages

No matter what age or developmental stage the child is, parents can start by asking a child what they’ve already heard. Most children will have heard something, no matter how old they are. After you ask them what they’ve heard, ask what questions they have.

Older children, teens, and young adults might ask more questions and may request and benefit more from additional information. But no matter what age the child is, it’s best to keep the dialogue straightforward and direct.​

​Avoiding Graphic Details & Exposure to Media

In general, it is best to share basic information with children, not graphic details, or unnecessary details about tragic circumstances. Children and adults alike want to be able to understand enough so they know what’s going on. Graphic information and images should be avoided.

Keep young children away from repetitive graphic images and sounds that may appear on television, radio, social media, computers, etc.

With older children, if you do want them to watch the news, record it ahead of time. That allows you to preview it and evaluate its contents before you sit down with them to watch it. Then, as you watch it with them, you can stop, pause, and have a discussion when you need to.

Children will generally follow good advice, but you have to give them some latitude to make decisions about what they’re ready for. You can block them from seeing the newspaper that comes to the door, for example, but not the one on the newsstand. Today, most older children will have access to the news and graphic images through social media and other applications right from their cell phone. You need to be aware of what’s out there and take steps in advance to talk to children about what they might hear or see.

Talking to Very Young Children

The reality is that even children as young as 4 years old will hear about major crisis events. It’s best that they hear about it from a parent or caregiver, as opposed to another child or in the media.

Even the youngest child needs accurate information, but you don’t want to be too vague. Simply saying, “Something happened in a faraway town and some people got hurt,” doesn’t tell the child enough about what happened. The child may not understand why this is so different from people getting hurt every day and why so much is being said about it. The underlying message for a parent to convey is, “It’s okay if these things bother you. We are here to support each other.”

Talking to Gradeschool Children & Teens

After asking your child what they have heard and if they have questions about what occurred during a school shooting, community bombing, natural disaster, or even a disaster in an international country, a parent can say something such as:

“Yes. In [city], [state]” (and here you might need to give some context, depending on whether it’s nearby or far away, for example, ‘That’s a city/state that’s pretty far from/close to here’), there was disaster and many people were hurt. The police and the government are doing their jobs so they can try to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

A parent can follow-up as needed based on the child’s reactions and questions.

Talking to Children with Developmental Delays or Disabilities

Parents who have a child with a developmental delay or disability should gear their responses to their child’s developmental level or abilities, rather than their physical, age. If you have a teenage child whose level of intellectual functioning is more similar to a 7-year-old, for instance, gear your response toward her developmental level. Start by giving less information. Provide details or information in the most appropriate and clear way you can.

Talking to Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

What’s helpful to a child with an ASD may be different. For instance, the child may find less comfort in cuddling than some other children. Parents should try something else that does calm and comfort their child on other occasions. Ask yourself, “Given who my child is, his personality, temperament, and developmental abilities, what might work for him?”

Signs a Child Might Not Be Coping Well

If children don’t have a chance to practice healthy coping, a parent may see signs that they’re having difficulty adjusting. Some of things to look for are:

  • Sleep problems: Watch for trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, difficulty waking, nightmares, or other sleep disturbances.
  • Physical complaints: Children may complain of feeling tired, having a headache, or generally feeling unwell. You may notice your child eating too much or less than usual.
  • Changes in behavior: Look for signs of regressive behavior, including social regression, acting more immature, or becoming less patient and more demanding. A child who once separated easily from her parents may become clingy. Teens may begin or change current patterns of tobacco, alcohol, or substance use.
  • Emotional problems: Children may experience undue sadness, depression, anxiety, or fears.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a child is reacting in a typical way to an unusual event or whether they are having real problems coping, and might need extra support. If you are concerned, talk to your child’s pediatrician or a mental health professional or counselor.

Don’t wait for the signs. Start the discussion early, and keep the dialogue going.

Additional Information on

​​Additional Resources:

Last Updated
Adapted from an eHealthMD interview with David Schonfeld, MD, FAAP, Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement and member of the AAP Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Dear Village Parents: 
We hope you all are enjoying spring break as best you can with the current “staycation” situation. We want you to know that we believe in us! Village Montessori is far more than a daycare and more than a school. We are a community of like-minded families whose values are rooted in the same garden. We miss your children’s smiling faces and can’t wait to get back to normal!
We want you to know that we are committed to keeping Village Montessori healthy and intact throughout this pandemic. Our commitment includes reopening when it is deemed safe to do so and keeping our Village staff employed. 
Additionally, we are working to ensure that all transitions with your little ones are smooth, seamless and filled with the same loving faces with which our students have grown accustomed. 
We are taking this one day at a time. As you know, the Governor has extended school closings until April 17. We will continue to follow the Little Rock School District’s closure policy. With what we know today, we plan to follow these guidelines and reopen when the Governor permits doing so. 
We remain vigilant and are prepared to make necessary adjustments as new information arises. Meanwhile, we are wishing you safety, health and well being for your family and loved ones.
With grace and courtesy,
Courtney and Jennifer
Your Village Administration

Dear, Village Parents:


We’ve learned that the Little Rock School District has announced it will be closed starting tomorrow, Mar. 13 and reopen on Monday, Mar. 30, 2020.

We follow LRSD guidelines, therefore, we will be closed during the same timeframe. Please check our Facebook page and website for updates.

We apologize for any convenience. Please know that this decision was made carefully and with an abundance of care and concern for our students and our community.



Your Village Administration



Hello, Village Parents:

As you are aware, concerns about coronavirus (or COVID-19) are rapidly increasing throughout our community, the country and the world. We take these concerns very seriously and are being hypervigilant about any signs of illness and have taken steps that we’d like to share with you to protect our Village community.

First, if your child or a member of your family shows signs of illness of any kind, please let us know and please keep them home until they are symptom-free, unmedicated. Additionally, if you or someone in your family believe you have been potentially exposed to coronavirus, please stay home and keep your child at home with you.

The following are some of the things that we’ve implemented these past few weeks and will keep in place for the unforeseeable future…

• We have implemented more frequent and more stringent cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
• We have discontinued the use of playdo, clay and sand in class to prevent spread of germs.
• We have been teaching and reinforcing several personal hygiene practices daily.
~ Wash hands (ask your child about the handwashing songs)
~ Cough and/or sneeze into elbows.
~ Politely but firmly remind others and selves not to touch faces.
~ Politely but firmly remind others and selves not to put fingers in mouths.
• We are running our special industrial strength Blueair air purifiers in each classroom daily (and we kindly thank our PTO for them).
• We are running our essential oil diffusers nonstop in the classroom filled with tea tree oil which disinfects the air while increasing humidity which slows the transmission of germs.

Please note: There are several instances that would prompt closing our school.
• If an adult in our school community tests positive for COVID-19 or has had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
• If LRSD closes all schools.
• If we are advised to close by DHS, the governor or any other government health agency.
• If we are understaffed to the point that we cannot maintain state-mandated ratios.

We will communicate any change to our operations immediately.

Sincerely with grace and courtesy,

Your Village Montessori Administrators

P.S. We also want to provide you with some trustworthy resources to help you keep informed.

While the media has been quick to provide real-time updates on the spread of the virus, we highly recommend you rely on trusted and respected health services when researching and communicating about the novel coronavirus. We are relying on information primarily from the World Health Organization (WHO) at and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at

Below is a brief summary of information and best practices published by the CDC to help you protect yourself from this health concern.

What is the Novel Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses, some that cause illness in people and others that cause illness in animals. Coronaviruses include the seasonal flu and common cold. Novel (new) coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans.

Reported symptoms can include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath and may appear in as few as two to fourteen days following exposure. If you develop cold or flu-like symptoms, especially after travelling, it is recommended to call your local healthcare provider for personalized expert advice.

How It Spreads
According to the CDC, transmission of the virus is primarily spread between people who are in close contact with one another. It is also believed that a person can be exposed to the new coronavirus by touching a compromised surface or object. However, due to the delicate nature of the virus, the CDC has stated that exposure from products or packaging that are shipped or mailed over a period of days or weeks as “very low risk.”

Prevention & Treatment
The CDC and WHO have recommended the following steps to help reduce the risk of exposure and to help prevent spreading the virus.
• Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer and wash for at least 20 seconds
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow, and frequently dispose of used tissues
• Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
• Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
• Stay home if you feel like you have cold or flu-like symptoms