Staff Editorial: Blake Lacks Conversation, Action Around the Trial of Derek Chauvin


Emily Rotenberg, Student Life and Food Editor

Following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin faced charges for manslaughter, second-degree murder, and third-degree murder in a trial that had the nation watching Minneapolis once again. Floyd’s death resulted in nationwide outrage and protests after numerous unsettling videos were released on social media of Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes. Despite the trial and verdict, there has continued to be police brutality within our nation, including the Twin Cities. 

Throughout the school year, students have received numerous emails from the administration regarding their dedication and commitment to anti-racism within our community. Aside from these emails, the administration hasn’t taken action or readdressed any of these issues. While they have taken a good first step, there is more that needs to be done within our community.

Additionally, multiple Equity Labs surrounding anti-racism invite students and faculty to discuss and collaborate. While both the emails and Equity Labs had good intentions, neither made a huge impact on our community as a whole. Equity Labs are not required for everyone which has resulted in very poor attendance among the student body. Most likely, if these events don’t become required they won’t be as effective due to the lack of student engagement. 

Another important aspect to recognize is that the majority of required classes at Blake don’t have current events built into the curriculum, causing most students to never discuss the Derek Chauvin trial. By not talking about the trial or other current events in classes, it shows what teachers prioritize, which tends to be class content rather than what is going on in our city as well as making us better world citizens. Both are important, and I’m sure most or even all teachers care about what’s going on in our world; it’s just a matter of making time to teach students both. For instance, there is an enormous amount of legal information that frankly students just may not understand, so it would be beneficial to have teachers pause the usual curriculum, to teach us about it. We shouldn’t be separating school from what’s going on in the world outside of our community.  

Although in recent weeks we have seen improvement within our school, through guided discussions in advisory, the student lead walkout, and subsequent conversations about race, it is important to not stop there and continue to take action within the community. One solution is to integrate current events into the usual curriculum in order to help students understand why the class content matters. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand why specific topics and subjects help us to become better world citizens making it extremely beneficial if students are given the opportunity to discuss current events more often and in-depth. For example, English teacher Anil Chandiramani, is currently doing a unit in his junior English elective, Memoir, about race relations. This unit has allowed students to read stories from a variety of perspectives and discuss them with their peers as well as reflect. 

Ultimately, it is important for the faculty, administration, and student body, to continuously take action, make space to discuss, and educate ourselves about what is going on in the world and how we can make a difference.