Resources to Help Students and Staff with Capitol Hill Riots

By Joetta Sack-Min

LFA members offer guidance for a wide array of educators and parents who are dealing with students' questions, anxiety, and anger

The political events and images of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 reached schools and homes across the nation and beyond. Several members of the Learning First Alliance are posting statements and resources regarding the riots to help school leaders, teachers and specialists work with their schools, students and communities. This list will be updated as needed.  

The National School Public Relations Association has compiled resources for school leaders to support democracy and politics, including sample statements, policies for teacher opinions and students wishing to protest, and community engagement.

The National Association of Elementary School Principals has resources specifically for principals to lead during times of crisis, including a special Principaling in Place forum. “Already charged with navigating the sprawling impact of COVID-19, as well as working to address systemic racism and racial equity, principals are facing enormous demands to meet students’ needs and navigate their schools through these turbulent times,” the organization wrote. “NAESP is committed to supporting our members work through these challenges, identify teachable moments, and help their staff and students heal from this trauma.” 

The National Education Association has resources for teachers. Becky Pringle, NEA President, stated: “We must come together — just as we did in record numbers in the election — to show our students that we will stand together against politicians who incite violence and those who act on it.”

Key points in the NEA guidance include:

  • The January 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol is an attack on our country and on our democratic institutions.
  • Most children are aware of more than we realize, and many educators and parents have spoken frankly to them about the racism and bigotry that they have experienced or witnessed.
  • Continuing that discussion is critically important in this moment.

The American Federation of Teachers’ Share My Lesson has numerous resources, including a new blog by AFT Senior Education Policy Analyst Lisa Thomas. “This Moment in Time: Navigating Unprecedented Historical Events” provides guidance on holding discussions, key terms, historical perspectives, and math problems.  

The American School Counselor Association has numerous resources “to help students process and discuss this shameful day in our nation's history,” including Helping Students in Troubling Times and Race and Equity Resources.

The National PTA has resources on Discussing Difficult Situations with Your Children.

“This is an important time for all of us to sit down together with our children and talk with them about how democracy and government works in our country, the importance of practicing civility, and the importance of using our powerful voices for good,” said National PTA President Leslie Boggs in a written statement. “Every parent, grandparent, family member, community leader, business leader and educational leader knows it is how we choose to react to situations that makes the difference. Out of every challenge is an opportunity to do things better, think differently and embrace resources we never utilized before.”

Learning Forward has posted recent articles and tools to support school staff. The organization also reached out to members, colleagues, and field leaders for additional resources and advice and have compiled themes, strategies, and ideas that emerged in this blog. The group noted, “Teachers and other school staff – already carrying the heavy burdens of educating during a pandemic and confronting racism and inequity – face the challenging but essential work of helping students process the alarming events and the threats they pose to democracy and civil rights.”

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued a statement:

“Our nation experienced a serious threat to our treasured democracy as rioters stormed one of our nation’s sacred buildings, the U.S. Capitol, intending damage and insurrection. We witnessed a challenge to our democracy that none of us could ever have imagined. Generated by our nation’s President, some Members of Congress, and their denial of the results of our free and open electoral process, this unlawful invasion of the Capitol has left us all stunned. Never could we imagine such an event would occur in our nation’s capital, the seat of our democracy.” (more)

Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued this statement:

“The herculean efforts being done by school district administrators, building leaders, teachers and parents to educate our young learners regarding what’s right and what’s wrong was indirectly challenged following the senseless act of vandalism at the Capitol building. With the holiday season in our rearview mirrors and the new year just a week old, the question before our school system leaders is ‘How do we move forward while at the same time, grapple with the ongoing public health crisis?’ “ (more)

AASA's panel of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year also addressed issues of district responses and student well being in a panel discussion this week. That discussion can be viewed on Facebook.


(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) via NSPRA




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Police guarding U.S. Capitol