Area school counselors commit to anti-racism

In a letter to the editor, Anne Thidemann French and Ward Johnson write, "Our students need us now more than ever as they try to understand and make meaning of the violence in our society."

To the editor:

As an association of Berkshire County school adjustment counselors and psychologists, we are committed to serving and advocating on behalf of the social, emotional and mental health needs of all of our students and their families, especially those who are most vulnerable. Our country reels in response to the murder of Mr. George Floyd; the ongoing pattern of murder and violence toward African Americans and other people of color; the systemic racism permeating our society; and the trauma that follows. Black Lives Matter.

We stand with all of you who have experienced racial violence and oppression. We stand with all who are committed to anti-racism. We recognize our own fallibility. We recognize practices both historical and current within schools that perpetuate oppression of groups of people and that we have a moral and a professional responsibility to advocate for and actively facilitate change. Our students need us now more than ever as they try to understand and make meaning of the violence in our society.

Being anti-racist requires action and as a group, we have committed ourselves to:

  • Listening, learning and giving voice to the experiences of our students of the global majority and their families;
  • Leaning into our own discomfort and examining ourselves, our own personal biases and identities;
  • Focusing our association’s professional development series on learning more about equity issues in schools, implicit bias, culturally responsive practices, racial trauma, and how to be allies and change agents;
  • Teaching our students (and ourselves) how to productively challenge injustices they see; and
  • Nurturing partnerships with community organizations committed to equity.

Our actions will not stop here. We will continue to commit ourselves as individuals and as an association to fighting racism.

Signed by:

Anne Thidemann French and Ward Johnson, Hinsdale, on behalf of the Berkshire County School Adjustment Counselor and School Psychologist Association

Additional signatures:
Melinda Olds
Loriann J Moro
Jennifer Renzi
Anne (Geri) O’ Brien
Teresa Gentile
Donna Weber
Scott Balawender
Sarah Johnston
Carole Siegel
Doug Wentworth
Dominick Sacco
Michael Vecchia
David Wehry
Mary Mullen
Lynn Casella
Christine Viall
Colleen Meaney
Erin Egan
Anna Bienia
Courtney Bopp
Casey Wilton