Through ‘staying connected’ we have talked to lots of students, who have been sharing their thoughts and reflections about what has been happening in the USA and the UK prompted by the death of George Floyd. A number of students have been finding it difficult to process what has happened and how it has happened. A number have said how much they are missing school as a place where we so often discussed topics that were prevalent in the news, or challenging to process and comprehend.
We have been encouraging students to talk during their online lessons and discussions, make contact with their Tutor and other staff – and a number of discussion forums have been happening across the year groups. There have been lessons with a specific focus on the Black Lives Matter Campaigns, and reflections on the death of George Floyd in English, PSHRE and in topics through other sessions. We shared the message below with students on Monday and Tuesday this week; through a range of different mediums.
Our message as a school community is clear: We stand alongside the many millions across the world who are standing up to racism and discrimination. We stand in solidarity with those protesting peacefully in response to the death of George Floyd, and in defence of values such as respect, tolerance and equality. We continue to be vigilant, to listen, to make sure students and staff can be and are heard; we celebrate the wonderful diversity of our school community and now more than ever, we make it clear that there is no room for racism in our society, that black lives matter, that all lives matter.
We are very proud (but not at all surprised) that even through school closure, our students have been have been so proactive in challenging unfairness and injustice, for being vocal about their values and about respect, and for airing such important discussions throughout the online school community and our new ways of learning remotely, online but together.
We are missing seeing you all onsite, but are really enjoying staying connected with you in so many different ways. Stay safe.
Message to students:
I know that you will be watching and listening to the news about the protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, both in the US and here in the UK. I am sure that you will be having discussions with your families and friends about what is happening. The GFM community is richer for its diversity. We are committed to building and sustaining a school community in which nobody suffers from prejudice as a result of their identity, whatever their race, class, gender, religion or sexuality.
This is an amazing moment in history and many people are hopeful that it will be the beginning of real, positive change. If we were in school this is something that we would be really excited to work on with you. There is a lot of powerful content in circulation on social media, as well as the mainstream media. Please be thoughtful about what you consume and what you share. Please be mindful of your own and others’ mental health- and think carefully about what you are exposed to.
Please talk to us if you feel unsure or uncertain – or want to talk about what is happening. There are live lessons in English and PSHRE (Citizenship) across the secondary phase on what has happened with George Floyd and since, your tutor and the PSHRE team have a wide range of resources that we can put you in touch with if you’d like to; stay connected and stay safe. We will be hosting an online session at 12.00 on Tuesday 16th where we can talk through what is happening and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to send any questions you would like answered and we will answer them anonymously in the live session. Mrs Harlan and Mr Candy