This is for the kids whose stories I don’t know yet.
This is for the kids whom I haven’t met.
This is for the kids whose names stare at me from class lists, whose eyes shine brightly in their school pictures, who right now mean little to me.
But they will.
This is for the kids who hope we will like them, maybe even love them.
For the kids who need us to have their backs.
For the kids who are scared to share who they are.
For the kids who were scared and shared anyway.
This is the for the kids who were born this way, somehow deemed not normal in our gender/race/religion obsessed society. Who fear the wrath of those who label them different. Who are scared before they come to our schools. Who don’t think they will be able to find a book among our piles that speak to who they are.
This is for the kids who are part of all of the kids we say we teach when we write our fancy vision statements, when we discuss how we are going to create safe schools and then do nothing to create community.
This is for the kids who need us most, who may not even be able to share why they need us, yet look to us to keep them safe as they try to access the education they have been promised.
So as we head back to school. As we start our trainings. As we meet as a community to discuss how this will be the year we try to reach all the kids, make sure we are really talking about ALL the kids.
Not just the white kids.
Not just the money kids.
Not just the cis kids.
Not just the straight kids.
Not just the Christian kids.
Not just the kids that fit whatever default view we have of what normal is.
As teachers, we try to speak up for all of our kids but we need to know that our schools have our back. That we can create communities that are truly safe for all the kids that show up and not just for those someone decided deserved to be protected. That our school boards mean it when they say that this school, this community, is for all kids to succeed, for all kids to have a chance. Not because it is politics, but because it is human decency.
This is for all the kids who dread the first day of school because they are not sure what they will face. This is for the teachers who fear as well.
We may not be many.
We may not be the majority.
We may not always get it right.
But we see you.
And in our eyes, you are normal. In our eyes you are just the child we hoped would show up, so welcome. I am glad you are here.