On the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, several schools across the state participated in a moment of silence honoring his life, with some of the participating schools either neglecting to inform parents of the event or notifying them mere hours before.
Gov. Tim Walz encouraged a moment of silence from all Minnesotans for nine minutes and 29 seconds in an official proclamation Monday evening. The Minnesota Department of Education followed suit, encouraging schools to participate.
Osseo Area Schools Superintendent Cory McIntyre sent an email to parents at 8:55 a.m. Tuesday, noting that the governor’s proclaimed moment of silence would honor “every person whose life has been cut short due to systems of racism and discrimination in Minnesota.”
“Our schools are choosing to participate in this observance in varying ways,” the email reads. “Understandably, this may be a tough day for some of our students and staff.”
White Bear Lake North and South campus principals sent an email to students and families indicating that “racial incidents” at the school following George Floyd’s death “have greatly impacted all families.”
The principals wrote that they are “committed to creating an equitable, anti-racist environment” for all students, and that counselors and support would be available to students throughout the day on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death.
“We are providing a space for students who would like to participate in the statewide moment of silence,” the email says, a copy of which was provided to Alpha News.
Edina High School observed the moment of silence by allowing students and staff to dedicate “work time, drawing, journaling, or quiet reflection” to “remember Mr. Floyd and to honor his legacy,” according to a statement from the principal.
The Minnesota Virtual Academy, an online school in Minnesota, also sent out information to parents and students regarding measures it would take to observe George Floyd’s death. The school said it would “make accommodations” to class schedules, so students could take time to observe the moment of silence if they chose to do so.
“All who wish to participate have the option to do so without penalty,” the email reads.
A White Bear Lake middle school neglected to inform parents of its participation in the moment of silence until hours after the fact.
Sunrise Park Middle School principal Christina Pierre notified families at 4 p.m. of the school’s invitation to students and staff to participate in taking a moment “in remembrance of George Floyd.” Students were read part of the governor’s proclamation that cited an awakening to systemic racism after Floyd’s death, and were then asked to participate in a “brief moment of silence.”
MDE Commissioner Heather Mueller sent an email Monday evening to “school leaders” advising them that “all Minnesotans are encouraged to participate in this moment of silence.”