Last week at Marcy Open School, a middle-schooler was wrestling with perception and reality. Solveig, a student there, had seen the news reports of incidents as they'd popped up around the country, but noticed that they didn't match up with her experience at Marcy Open, a kindergarten through eighth-grade school in Minneapolis' Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.
She likened that to "living in a bubble."
"Nobody, at least that I know, ever is racist or sexist or homophobic or anything like that and it just feels so nice," she said. Listening to the news, though, is "just really hard," Solveig added.
At Marcy Open on Thursday, a circle of seven middle-schoolers who were Ecuadorian, black, white and Somali fell quiet as one girl shared a snippet of her weekend: Her family received an email that her grandmother in Kenya — with Somalia written on her visa — couldn’t come to the U.S. It was after Donald Trump's travel ban was announced.
The kids’ responses to news stories? Fear. Sadness. Some hope.
Schools across the metro area have jumped into response mode since the news of Trump’s travel ban surfaced. Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff issued a statement last week, saying diversity is "one of our greatest strengths."
Some schools took varied approaches. At Hiawatha Academies's schools in Minneapolis, fourth-graders penned essays related to immigration, and second-graders read books about refugees, said school spokeswoman Ambar Hanson.
The kids at Marcy Open talked candidly on topics including racism that they'd spotted and stories they'd heard about in the news.
Riyan, another Marcy Open middle-schooler, called topics on the news "nerve-wracking." The bad news she sees pushes her in a different direction, she said.
"It inspires me to think more about good things," Riyan said.