Is your child feeling anxiety or fearful after the election?

SARASOTA, FL - NOVEMBER 07: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds up a rubber mask of himself during a campaign rally in the Robarts Arena at the Sarasota Fairgrounds November 7, 2016 in Sarasota, Florida. With less than 24 hours until Election Day in the United States, Trump and his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are campaigning in key battleground states that each must win to take the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds up a rubber mask of himself during a campaign rally in the Robarts Arena at the Sarasota Fairgrounds November 7, 2016 in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Thursday morning, Austin Independent School District Trustee Paul Saldaña wrote an open letter to students in the district in response to the anxiety and fear many students across the district have reported feeling after hearing news of Donald Trump winning the presidential election. Election results-related anxiety is what led students at two local elementary schools — Sunset Valley and Matthews — to kneel during the Pledge of Allegiance on Wednesday in protest of Trump.

As a parent of a 9-year-old bright and curious child, I appreciate Saldaña’s gesture. I only wish I’d had it on Wednesday morning.

That’s when my 9 year-old son woke up wondering who had won the presidential election the night before. And, unlike past elections, I dreaded answering his question.

It was an especially trying and uncommon campaign season for us both. During most elections, I welcome reading and talking about candidates and the issues on the ballot. But, this election season, thanks to the hostile rhetoric that became to familiar, I did my best to shelter my 3rd grader from news of Trump or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Yet, despite my efforts, we had plenty of conversations about the two candidates vying for presidency during our drives to and from school. Unfortunately, most of those conversations were to specifically address my son’s fears over something the Republican candidate had said should happen or promised to do as president. At times I wondered if I was doing much to help my son settle his anxiety.

So when my son asked who won the election, I froze and changed the subject. What more could I say? I had already spent weeks trying to ensure him that regardless of the winner, he — no, WE as a family and WE, as a country — would be fine. Yet, I knew, news of the winner would be a hard blow for his kind and sensitive soul. As a child of Mexican American parents, the grand-child of immigrants and whose group of friends are as diverse as the fabric of this country, my son took each insult made by Trump as a direct hit to those in his closest circles. So, I told him. Silent tears followed.

Then, the most heartbreaking question came: “Mom, where was I born?”

My son spent weeks worrying about what might happen to his friends who spoke a different language or whose skin color was much darker. Now, with a president-elect that has shown little regard for people who look like my son’s friends and family members, he wondered how he personally would be affected by this new president.

There are families across this country, in this city in fact, having similar conversations with their children. And their taking place at schools, as well. Some educators, like Mathews Elementary Principal Grace Martino-Brewster, have taken the time to personally address this anxiety they see in their students.

Saldaña takes it a step further. He reassures all students in the district that they matter, that they are heard and that they are safe. He also is working to organize a town hall meeting soon to address the issue, he said.

“I have been hearing from students, teachers and parents the last two days and several have requested a community conversation,” Saldana wrote in an email. “Parents are struggling how to broker and/or respond to their children.”

The full text of his letter: