Thursday, January 7, 2021

Franklin Public Schools: Message from Superintendent Sara Ahern re: Washington Election Certification

January 6, 2021

Dear Franklin Families,
I am writing this evening from a place of strong emotions -- fear, anger, sadness -- over the violent events that erupted in Washington, D.C. earlier today. I know that I am joined by fellow educators and by Franklin families with these feelings.

The videos of rioters breaking into the Capitol to disrupt the certification of the 2020 Presidential election is contrary to the very foundation of our government and the tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. And as I write, I am listening to members of Congress reconvene with what I truly hope is a turning point on the divisive rhetoric of recent years as they denounce the violent actions and seek to affirm confidence in the election process. Just as it is important for our elected officials to make these statements to the American people, it is important that we, both educators and parents/guardians, as trusted adults provide the children in Franklin with the reassurance of safety and education about our civic processes.

Our faculty and staff will, first and foremost, work to reaffirm safety and reestablish a sense of normalcy. This year, more than any other year, our faculty and staff have created safe spaces that foster opportunities for children to speak about their feelings in developmentally appropriate ways. We are providing families with the following two resources, which have been shared with our faculty/staff, as they may be helpful to you in processing the violent actions with your children.

 NASP Online
 When Bad Things Happen

Please know that our staff will be observant of student social-emotional needs and will connect them to resources for SEL support (e.g. counselors, administrators, and trusted adults). Please do not hesitate to reach out as well if you have concerns about your child.

In addition to processing the crisis and violence of the day’s events, the events that transpired represent a regrettably historic moment for our country. As educators, we take very seriously our responsibility to educate students about the history and current events in the United States and about the importance of civic engagement to our democracy. Doing so connects directly with the Franklin Public Schools Portrait of A Graduate, the community’s consensus set of essential skills that each child in FPS will practice and develop during their PreK-12 education. We are committed to the development of “Empathetic and Productive Citizens”: citizens who demonstrate social awareness through inclusivity and consideration of various perspectives, and citizens who develop an understanding of civics and democratic principles.

I am encouraging educators to be talking to our children (as developmentally appropriate) about these events.

Our approach is not to tell students what to think about issues, but rather, how to gather and examine information, think critically, engage with their peers, and draw informed conclusions. Our faculty and staff do not approach or teach from one political perspective, but rather remain neutral, while creating a constructive forum for students to explore and discuss the issues. FPS educators will, however, take a firm stance that violence is never a constructive way to problem-solve.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s school if there is anything we can do to further support your child.


Sara Ahern
Superintendent of Schools 


Franklin Public Schools: Message from Superintendent Sara Ahern re:  Wwashington Election Certification
Franklin Public Schools: Message from Superintendent Sara Ahern re:  Wwashington Election Certification

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