This is a letter from a Headteacher to parents. It’s anonymised but if you have any queries please do get in touch. The template is available here.
Dear Parents / Carers,
It has been a deeply upsetting few days seeing the shocking scenes unfold in the USA following the tragic murder of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests. There are clearly many factors in place in America that have led to the ferocity of the protests. A pandemic that disproportionately impacts on the BAME community, the economic difficulties the pandemic brings which disproportionately impact on the BAME community and finally, but most significantly, a political structure and systems that disadvantage people of colour.
It is too easy to look at the situation in America and dismiss the issues because our police officers do not carry guns. Whilst the right to bear arms clearly add to the problems in the USA, it is not the root cause of the issue. The root cause is the same both in the USA and UK. Our society is built upon white supremacy. On hearing this term our minds immediately jump to the Klu Klux Klan and Nazis. However, white supremacy is much subtler than this. In many instances it is the unidentified bias that sits within the majority of us that white people are superior to people of colour. The world’s systems and structures are built on this bias and this therefore creates White Privilege.
As a school, in a predominantly white area, we have a huge responsibility to ensure that children of all races recognise the existence of white privilege and white supremacy. The curriculum we deliver and class discussions we have, carefully attempt to do this at an age appropriate level. We are constantly evolving our curriculum as we better understand how to celebrate diversity. We aim to educate children so that they are able to make the small adjustments to their own actions which will erode, and ultimately remove, both white privilege and white supremacy.
However, we cannot do this alone. All teachers know that before you can support a child to understand something you must ensure you understand it yourself. We need parents and carers to talk about diversity with their children. Below are a series of links, these will be added to the school website and be updated regularly. They are an excellent starting point to recognise the unidentified biases we all have. During this unusual time the majority of you will have more opportunity than ever to talk to your children. The terrible situation in America can be turned into a positive if it becomes the catalyst for an honest and open conversation with your children. It may be uncomfortable and they will have questions. You don’t need to have all the answers, but opening the dialogue is something we can all do. It will be much more impactful than retweeting a Black Lives Matter poster on Instagram or sharing the latest Nike Video advert on Facebook.
It is not ok to just say you don’t see colour, it is not ok to aim to just not be racist. You must be, and our children must be, anti-racist.
The following links and articles are for adults and are not appropriate to share with children. They are intended to support adult learning: