Eden Prairie schools plans to help its students process the verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty Tuesday, April 20 of all charges against him in the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.
Recognizing that the event will prompt different reactions in students, Superintendent Josh Swanson in a statement posted on the district’s website Tuesday afternoon, said that schools will provide students with age-appropriate ways to process what has happened.
“We do not presume to know how each person is feeling or what they may need at this time,” he said.
The verdict came a day after hundreds of students at Eden Prairie High School and Central Middle School participated in an April 19 state-wide, student-organized event in solidarity against racial injustice.
The district supported the event by allowing students to leave class to participate in the event.
Brett Johnson, the district’s senior director of communications and community relations, said about 400 students participated in the peaceful high school event.
“Student speakers were forthright and honest, and everyone listened intently to them. There was a moment of silence at 1:47 and then students returned to class,” he said.
Several hundred students from Eden Prairie Central Middle School also participated in a walk-out, according to EP’s Black Student Union Instagram account (epbsu).
Following is Swanson’s complete statement:
Dear Eden Prairie Schools Parents/Guardians,
The conclusion of the Derek Chauvin trial prompts a variety of reactions and emotions across our community, and especially for our Black students and families. This trial was a significant event that heightens everything our community has been through over the past year. We do not presume to know how each person is feeling or what they may need at this time.
As our students arrive in school and in their classes, our staff are ready to meet them where they are. Our focus is always on supporting the whole child, and we are guided by our Core Values. Schools have plans in place to allow students to process this news in age-appropriate ways, while also staying connected to our educational mission. Our social workers and counselors will be available to respond to student and family needs — please reach out to your school as needed.
We are a strong community because of our ability to come together and care for each other. As we move through the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to monitor student needs and support them socially, emotionally, and academically. -Josh Swanson, Ed.D., Superintendent
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