California Educator

January / February 2017

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Tips to Ease Student Anxiety When discussing current events that may affect students: • Be calm and reassure them that school is a safe space. • Encourage them to think posi- tively about their future, including doing well in school. • Establish a trusting relationship. • Encourage peaceful civic engagement on relevant issues. • Focus on facts and historical precedent in class lessons. • Work with your chapter and school to provide resources. Far left, Muslim students enjoy an event in San Diego supporting diversity. Left, UTLA educator Jorge Boche. could be misconstrued as being illegal, and to be very careful in their social lives and at parties." Many school districts, including Los Angeles Unified (LAUSD), San Francisco, Santa Clara, Sweetwater, San Diego, Santa Ana and Oakland, have passed resolutions declaring schools to be sanctuaries or safe spaces. United Teachers Los Angeles member Jorge Boche, who works with Dreamer students in LAUSD, says UTLA and district staff are providing information about what to do if students are stopped by police or border patrol agents, and LAUSD is creating a "family preparedness plan" in the event of a crisis. It also has a hotline for students traumatized about the election, and educators work closely with immigrant rights organizations to support students. " The hotline assists students with de-escalating their anxiety," says Boche, adding that his school scheduled an assembly around the Jan. 20 inauguration so students could express themselves peaceably — and also learn more about the checks and balances of the U.S. justice system and what to expect with a new administration. Boche says the key to helping students cope is offering hope and empowerment, emphasizing that we can't change the past, but we can work together to improve the future. Asking students to create plans to improve their schools and communities can alleviate this sense of powerlessness. SAN DIEGO TAKES A STAND Telling students you are there for them is one thing; showing them is another. On Dec. 14, SDEA mem- bers, administrators and community groups held an after-school event, "Celebration of Light: Standing Up for San Diego's Diverse Students and Families," at the Ballard Center to make that clear. It attracted hundreds of students, parents and stakeholders. Booths offered a wide array of information to assist diverse youth, including undocumented, LGBTQ+ and Muslim youth. While the message was serious, there was also food, fun and entertainment. Crawford High School twins Zahra and Naimo Aden, 17, who are Muslim, were happy to see such an outpouring of support. "I'm really glad to see people advocating for us," said Zahra. "Plus, it's fun." The celebration launched a campaign by SDEA and the district to provider greater resources for vulnerable students in San Diego, a city that borders Mexico and has a large and visible Immigration and Customs Enforcement presence. "We are just getting started," says SDEA President Lindsay Burningham. "We are sending the message to our students and families: We've got your back." On page 51 is a sign you can cut out and post to let students know they're in a safe zone. 49 January / February 2017

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