HCPSS Response to Recent Violence and Incidents of Anti-Asian Hatred
March 18th, 2021
The following statement was issued by the Howard County Board of Education and HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano on March 18, 2021:
We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 16. Eight people were killed, including six Asian Americans. This tragedy is particularly painful to members of our Asian community in Howard County, and many Asian students are understandably fearful. One month ago on the Lunar New Year holiday, six local restaurants, including four owned by Asians, were burglarized and vandalized. Two weeks ago, a hateful and racist speech against Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and immigrants was delivered during the Howard County Racial Equity Task Force Public Hearing held on March 4th.
Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. We are witnessing in horror the recent increase in incidents of violence, attacks, hatred and discrimination against Asian Americans. Recent reports indicate there have been thousands of incidents targeting Asian Americans across the nation. The Howard County Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano unequivocally condemn all anti-Asian violence, crimes and incidents.
HCPSS is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone in our community. We are enormously proud of our diverse and inspiring Asian American students and families. We are also very appreciative of the Asian American community’s contributions to HCPSS and Howard County. We reaffirm that Asian students are an integral part of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Howard County and our nation. HCPSS staff are committed to offering full support at this time of great stress for our Asian American students and families.
First and foremost, it is critical that we tend to the well-being of our students who require support. HCPSS will not tolerate bullying in any form; we ask that any child who feels victimized to reach out to a trusted adult. Students, staff and family members can easily and confidentially report incidents of bullying on the HCPSS Stop Bullying website. Counselors and staff in all of our schools are prepared to support any students who need someone to talk to. Additional resources are provided below that may be helpful for parents and educators as you discuss these recent events with your children.
We encourage everyone to stand in solidarity with our Asian American community. We urge the leaders of our country, as well as our county, to work harder to stop the hatred and take concrete actions to protect vulnerable minorities, including Asian Americans. As Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” An inclusive, just, and compassionate Howard County starts with treating all citizens and community members with kindness, respect and trust.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides the following information for parents and educators to talk with children about violence:
- Talking to Children About Violence
- Managing Strong Emotional Reactions to Traumatic Events: Tips for Families and Teachers
- Supporting Vulnerable Students in Stressful Times: Tips for Parents
Additional reminders from NASP include:
- Reassure children that they are safe
- Make time to talk
- Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate
- Review safety procedures
- Observe children’s emotional state
- Limit television (and social media) viewing of these events
- Maintain a normal routine
The Mental Health and Wellness webpage provides guidelines, tips and sources of help.