Equity & Diversity

16 Resources on Talking to Students About Police Killings and Racism

By Debra Viadero — April 16, 2021 2 min read
A demonstrator holds a sign along a perimeter fence guarded by law enforcement officers during a protest over Sunday's fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, on April 14, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. At right on the fence is an image of George Floyd.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, comes to a head, teachers may struggle with how to talk about issues of racism and police violence with students.
The discussions can be challenging and uncomfortable, but they are needed. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the killing last May of Floyd, a Black man. A video of Floyd gasping for breath as the former police officer pinned him to the ground with his knee quickly went viral, setting off a protest movement against police brutality and systemic racism across the United States and around the world.
Days after the trial began on March 29, Daunte Wright, 20, was killed by a police officer in the nearby community of Brooklyn Center, Minn., sparking protests there and elsewhere. That officer, Kim Potter, who was said to have mistaken her gun for a Taser weapon, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Wright, who was Black.
Then, on April 15, officials in Chicago released body camera footage of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo, a 7th grader who lived in Little Village, a predominately Latino neighborhood on the city’s West side.

Attention to issues of racism, race-related violence, and police brutality will likely grow in the days ahead as closing arguments begin in the Chauvin case.

To help educators think about how to discuss these cases and other race-related violence and how to support Black students and other students of color who may be distraught by what they read and see in the media, Education Week has compiled some resources from its archives and elsewhere. Here are a few:

News articles from Education Week writers:

For Black students’ views:

Some opinion essays:

Some classroom resources from national groups:

Maya Riser-Kositsky, Librarian and Data Specialist contributed to this article.

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Creating Confident Readers: Why Differentiated Instruction is Equitable Instruction
Join us as we break down how differentiated instruction can advance your school’s literacy and equity goals.
Content provided by Lexia Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Opinion 70 Years of Abandonment: The Failed Promise of 'Brown v. Board'
If the nation is going to refuse integration, Black people must demand we revisit the separate but equal doctrine, writes Bettina L. Love.
4 min read
A Black student is isolated from their classmates by an aisle in the classroom.
Xia Gordon for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Opinion 'Brown v. Board of Education' at 70: A Dream Dissolved
This anniversary should remind us that progress is not inevitable. We stand now at a critical juncture.
R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy
4 min read
A young Black woman's image dissolves in the smoke.
iStock/Getty Images
Equity & Diversity Opinion Equity? Equality? How Educators Can Tell the Difference
Educators offer advice and examples for giving students what they need, rather than simply treating everyone the same.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity Judge Says State Can't Block Teachers From Discussing Critical Race Theory
The rule stops short of more broadly blocking Arkansas from enforcing its ban on certain topics.
2 min read
Students make their way into Little Rock Central High School on Aug. 24, 2020, for the first day of classes in the Little Rock School District. A federal judge ruled, Tuesday, May 7, 2024, that Arkansas cannot prevent two high school teachers from discussing critical race theory in the classroom, but stopped short of more broadly blocking the state from enforcing its ban on “indoctrination” in public schools. The prohibition is being challenged by two teachers and two students at Little Rock Central High School, site of the 1957 desegregation crisis.
Students make their way into Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., on Aug. 24, 2020, for the first day of classes.
Tommy Metthe/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP