Condemning hate; Supporting one another: A Message from Supt. Nyah Hamlett, 10/12/23

  • CHCCS staff, students and families,

    I write with a heavy heart as I, like many in our community, continue to reflect on Israel and Gaza, the deaths of innocent victims and the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

    First, we condemn the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated last weekend, along with all acts of antisemitism and hatred. 

    We are also saddened for all families who are impacted in some way by the escalating conflict, including those with familial, cultural and spiritual ties to Israel and Gaza who live among us right here in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. I am thinking in particular of our students, their families and our staff members here at home, who are processing these tragic events. 

    We recognize that our Jewish and Muslim students, families and staff may feel the ripple effects of this in different ways. We also recognize there are varied opinions, views and perspectives about how a school district should respond. The purpose of my message is to share with each of you that we’re watching and listening, and we will steadfastly support the peace, safety and wellbeing for all who call this community home. It’s why I think our role as a district is to share a message about the importance of wholeheartedly looking out for one another during this time, and where you can consider turning for additional support. 

    Please know that our district’s School Support and Wellness teams are prepared to offer their support to students and staff. If you or someone you know is struggling, please don’t hesitate to speak with a trusted adult at school. At home, please consider browsing the links below, which will connect you to several additional resources that are being shared this week among educators, including suggestions about how to support our students’ safe usage of social media during this time.

    Also, in working with our local law enforcement partners, we have no reason to believe at this time that there is any event that may affect the safety or well-being of students and staff at our schools.

    Thank you for reading, and I offer my gratitude to all who have shared (either with me, or with our schools) their life experiences and thoughtful perspectives as we address the impact here at home. In closing, our schools must always be places of joy and kindness, where we value the diverse backgrounds that make us a community.

    Through the anguish and grief, we will support one another.


    Nyah D. Hamlett, Ed. D.

    How to talk to your children about conflict and war (

    • Even if a conflict is happening in a distant country, it can fuel discrimination on your doorstep. Check that your children are not experiencing or contributing to bullying. If they have been called names or bullied at school, encourage them to tell you or an adult whom they trust. Remind children that everyone deserves to be safe at school and in society. 

    How to talk to kids about violence, crime and war (Common Sense Media)

    • Remote exposure is when kids understand that something traumatic has occurred but haven't experienced it directly. Unsurprisingly, its lingering effects include feelings of grief, trauma, fear, and other mental health concerns. Kids can be deeply affected by images of war-torn countries, bloodied refugee children, and mass graves and need additional help processing them. Be honest and direct. Older kids can find out what they want to know from different sources, and you want the truth to come from you

    Supporting youth affected by the violence in Israel and Gaza: Tips for families and educators (National Association of School Psychologists)

    • The degree to which individuals are affected will vary. Children and youth (and potentially their families) at greater risk may include those who have connections to Israel and Palestine, have loved ones significantly affected by the conflict, have personally experienced or are refugees from violent conflict or war, or who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, or other mental illness. During conflicts like these, it is important to protect children and youth from bullying and harassment caused by misdirected anger. Promoting and modeling compassion and acceptance can help prevent a tragic situation from becoming worse.

    For additional resources, please refer to our CHCCS “CARES” webpage: