The following message was sent out to all SPFE members this morning:
I opened the paper this morning to yet another tragedy in our city overnight. Reflecting on this September, it has been an incredibly difficult month in St. Paul for our students, families, and our school communities. The walls of our schools are the most permeable of boundaries and we feel deeply the impact and effect of the recent violence, loss and tragedy in our city.
As a leader and member of SPFE, and a white man consistently called to navigate my privilege, I offer this: In varied, meaningful ways, we have all been touched by the recent shootings and find ourselves connected to many stories of significant loss and pain. I encourage us to offer one another the grace of patience and understanding during this time- to our students, our families and to our colleagues.
It is particularly important to name, hold up and hold dear our African American students, families and colleagues who are most directly impacted by this outbreak of violence. We remain mindful of historical harms – structural, institutional, interpersonal – that have more chronic impacts on wellness, opportunity and belonging within our community.
As you likely know, SPFE has consistently advocated for and led our community to explore new ways of being in relationship with each other through Restorative Practices in our schools. This journey also leads us to new ways of thinking about needs, harms and obligations and provides new possibilities for responding to harm in all the ways we are impacted.
In the coming days and months I hope that SPFE can partner with SPPS and the City of St. Paul to convene spaces of healing to process the impact of these events; I commit to the critical conversations and collaboration necessary for a systemic, long term dedicated response to harm in our community. Please reach out to our SPFE leaders with what needs you hold and ones surfacing in your St. Paul Public Schools work.
Thank you for your dedicated work and commitment to our St. Paul students, staff, families and community.
Nick Faber, NBCT