Discussing War and Violence

Dear community member, 

Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the devastating violence in Israel and Gaza. We know the effects of this conflict are far-reaching, with members of our school community among those with familial and cultural connections to the region.

In moments like this, it is essential for our school community to maintain its commitment to fostering a safe, inclusive and supportive learning environment for all of our students. Santa Cruz County schools do not, and will not, tolerate bullying, hate speech, or targeting of any student because of their national, racial, ethnic, or religious identity. 

At the same time, we understand this conflict is bringing forward complex questions and emotions, both inside and outside of our classrooms. Parents, caregivers, and educators are faced with the challenge of explaining violence and war to children. Although difficult, these conversations are extremely important and in the context of human history help us work towards peace.

We encourage parents to be vigilant about the sources and content of information that students are accessing, both in terms of its reliability as well as the violence depicted in imagery that may not be appropriate for younger children.

To assist with these challenging and important conversations, the COE has provided a curated list of resources to educators and families. These resources are intended to place these events in historical context, addressing social-emotional impacts, and promoting empathy and inclusivity at all turns. 

While our goal is to support access to reliable information, these resources are far from exhaustive. Educators know their school community best and should evaluate any resource prior to use to ensure it meets their unique needs.

Yours in education and equity,
Dr. Faris Sabbah
County Superintendent of Schools