A Letter to our Community on the Tragic Death of Tyre Nichols

e-Connections Post

Dear Sac City Unified Families,

Together, we mourn the loss of Tyre Nichols, a former student in our district, and we join the nation in being shocked, horrified, and heartbroken in response to the brutal actions that led to his death.

“On behalf of our community of schools, I express our deepest sorrow to the family of our former student, Tyre Nichols,” said Jorge A. Aguilar, Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District. “Sac City Unified is committed to social justice and our staff will be working to support and engage students as they begin to see videos showing this horrific crime so that we can properly address the grief they will be experiencing and help them feel safe.”

“Students and adults alike may be struggling to process this tragedy, whether or not they view images of the deeply disturbing attack that led to Tyre Nichols’ death,” said SCUSD Board President Chinua Rhodes. “It is normal to feel emotions ranging from anger to confusion to fear and possibly grief. Students are encouraged to ask their teacher, counselor, vice principal, or principal if they need help processing their emotions or need any other assistance. The emotional, mental, and physical safety of our students must be centered.”

Equity, Access and Social Justice are guiding principles of Sac City Unified and we are working to support students as they process this tragedy. By the time you receive this message, video of the beating will have likely been released by law enforcement and will be widely shared on television and social media. Attorney Mark T. Harris, the District’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Monitor, also works for the law firm representing the Nichols family. Mr. Harris has communicated with us that the footage is horrific and is very graphic. Please be proactive with your students as they are likely to be exposed to the content of the video over the coming days.

To help families grieve and process, we have developed a Unity Toolkit for educators to share with students when they return to school next week. This toolkit is designed to be used as a response to the injustices and trauma in our society.

Our SCUSD support staff will be on campuses next week to address the needs of our students and staff. We encourage families to reach out to your school site directly if you believe your student could benefit from any extra social emotional supports at school.

During trying times our hope and desire is to foster a sense of community by intentionally connecting with one another to see the humanity in each other. We can achieve this by all showing up for ourselves, colleagues, students, and community, in a healthy, positive way. The way our community responds to the death of Tyre Nichols should serve as a reminder that social and emotional learning and support is deeply connected with our civic engagement.

We know many in our community will feel the urge to gather to remember Tyre Nichols and march for justice. Mr. Nichols’ family is calling for peaceful protests. His stepfather, Rodney Wells, stated earlier today, “We’re very satisfied with the charges. More importantly, we want peace. We do not want any type of disturbance, we want peaceful protests, that’s what the family wants. That’s what the community wants.”


We know that these are anxious times for our young people. Please consider using the below links as starting points for conversations with your family and loved ones as they will likely have many questions following the release of the videos:

What We Can Do:

  • Pause to notice your own emotions about current events: Give yourself permission to feel the strong emotions and acknowledge their impact on your emotional health. Take a few minutes to regulate your body’s response to the strong emotions by connecting with a colleague or partner to take five collective breaths together. 
  • Create safety: Be available, be compassionate. Help those around us create predictability and a feeling of control. Connect visually or auditorily with others on a regular basis.
  • Provide routine and structure: During times of uncertainty, it is especially important to stick with normal routines – predictability and structure helps all of us self-regulate.  Create routines and rituals throughout the week. 
  • Prioritize health and well-being: Adding more stress will worsen our cognitive ability to adapt and learn. Promote healthy sleeping, eating and exercise habits.
  • Identify individuals who need additional support: Our ability to connect with others can make all the difference. Notice changes in behavior, academics, social interactions, and attendance - get help if concerned. If concerned refer to your school’s Student Support Center and/or to the Connect Center to find links to available community resources.  Check-in with friends, family and colleagues and provide links to the supportive resources listed below:
  • Monitor media use and utilize self care apps: Monitoring use of media is very important and you can check how you react before taking in media or new information.  Set limits on media and opt to use the self-care apps, such as the following: