June 2, 2020
Dear Teaneck Parents/Guardians, Students & Staff,
It is with a heavy heart that I address you this morning during a time in our country where there is so much pain and confusion. The deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery are tragic reminders of the bias and violence that exist in our society. As a father of a baby boy, and as a sibling of two black men, this incident hits so close to home for me and for those who look like me. Teaneck prides itself on being a diverse community, one that supports each other; and now more than ever, we need to show the compassion, empathy and humanity everyone deserves.
Our District will continue to make resources available to support any student who might need someone to help better process or discuss these recent events - including the fact that we are living through a pandemic. I acknowledge that it can be challenging to provide emotional support in the same way during virtual learning, but our counselors and the Mental Health Initiative clinicians are committed to providing support to our students and families. Please contact your child’s counselor if additional support is needed.
During these difficult times, I urge us all to stay united as a community and to support each other. Students should reach out to their teachers, classmates, friends, and mentors. Again, if you or they are feeling overwhelmed, please make use of our counselors and the Mental Health Initiative clinicians. I have also included some resources below on how to talk with children about violence, racism and traumatic events. I encourage all our families to take time to have honest conversations about the role that bias and racism continue to have in our community.
We grieve together for the recent lives that have been lost along with the too many that have come before them. Let us use this time to foster honest conversations about racism and promote an opportunity to ensure that all of our children feel safe no matter where they may go within our country and no matter what color their skin may be.
I hope you and your family remain safe during these trying times and I encourage you to remain TEANECK STRONG.
Dr. Christopher Irving
Superintendent of SchoolsResources on Trauma for Caregivers and Families Trauma GuidesTeaching Young Children About Bias, Diversity and Social JusticeHow to Talk to Kids About Race and RacismTalking to Children About Racial Bias