When fifth grade bilingual teacher Raquel Mendoza walked into her classroom after Election Day, her students told her something that shook her to the core.
"I had all my kids just asking me all these questions like: What am I going to do? What's going to happen? I don't really have to try very hard anymore because I'm going to be sent back to Mexico. Just all these things, I was shocked," Mendoza said.
That's one of the reasons A.I.S.D. held a community meeting at Crocket High School. To help deescalate any growing tensions for students and their families.
"It's to reinforce that we are a district of no place for hate. It's to reinforce that we strongly believe in social and emotional learning. And we know there are times when students and families need to process emotions and this is that opportunity to reinforce what we believe that we are one, unified community," Dr. Paul Cruz, AISD Superintendent, said.
More than 70 parents, teachers, and students met in small groups for almost two hours. While the session helped answer tough questions for teachers like Mendoza.
"It was perfect because I don't know exactly what to say to my kids or how to approach it. So I think that this is good because it gives us a piece of mind of how to handle it, how to approach it, and what we're going to do."
For others, it only marked the beginning of a much deeper discussion.
"I know what happens is that we get in the moment and we stop being upset and hurt until something actually happens again and we become reactionary." Richard Franklin III, president of Youth Unlimited, said, "This has to be a proactive movement. Until people feel the pain then they don't think it's real. But pain is a motivator, pain causes people to move in a positive fashion, and to change the circumstances."
Original Letter sent by Paul Saldana, AISD District 6, Vice President
Everyday, I think about all 83,000 AISD student because they INSPIRE me. Within our own District we have a multi-cultural diverse community of students and families with nearly 100 languages spoken in our schools. Like you, I am #AISDProud. I value and respect our student's individuality, qualities, religion, gender, race/ethnicity, LGBT, special needs, language, beliefs, passion, humor, talent, intelligence, creativity, athleticism, imperfections, heart and voices. Simply put, our students matter to me.
Because I know this week has been particularly challenging and uneasy. Sometimes, national discussions, issues, politics and elections can have a significant impact on our daily lives, in our neighborhoods, communities and even schools. I also know that each of us cares deeply about our children and schools I'm hoping we can come together for a community conversation about how WE can SUPPORT an INCLUSIVE SCHOOL COMMUNITY.