I strongly recommend that your District’s parents, staff, and teachers receive some guidance from you regarding how adults may speak to our children (students) about the hatred, racism, white superiority which is ‘being voiced’ by members of groups such as the KKK, neo-Nazis; etc.
Both parents and their children need some exposure to evidence that an education institution such as yours is concerned enough about what has happened at Charlottesville, VA, Barcelona, Spain, and elsewhere where these extremist individuals commit actions which are over-exposed on our mainstream media (especially TV) without any ‘explanatory discussion’ by leaders of our school districts. Timely ‘Push-Back’ by an educational institution is needed and essential.
Adults need to address these issues by talking to their kids (your students) in an age sensitive manner; and to relate the wrongs that have happened to the usual and accepted standards of civilized behavior.
In my opinion Mr. Superintendent, these recent events, including President Trump’s actions and reactions, present an opportunity to remind everyone that the accepted standards of American behavior is to honor all ideals embedded in the U.S. Constitution…concepts of equality under the law of the land; access to justice; access to opportunity; and having freedom from fear, want, anxiety, and persecution.
The Founding Fathers were ‘refugees’ from Europe, especially the United Kingdom, where several groups experienced some type of persecution or exclusion. And they convened to document their ideals which resulted in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. This nation is an example that diverse groups can live together; can share the natural resources provided to American by Divine Providence…and these resources need to be shared rather than coveted as one’s own through ‘ownership documents’.
The Koch Brothers had nothing to do with the creation of all that crude oil which enabled them to become ultra-wealthy; what they practice is ‘bottom line decision making’ into which needs to added social stewardship actions which enables them to pay their taxes which fund the many social service and welfare programs governments provide to the low-income/no income folks and those who are afflicted with disabilities.
There are many ways to assist the initiation of a discussion which turns hatred and feelings of white superiority towards reaching a state of mind that forgives but does not forget, becomes committed to non-violence; learns to use respectful language which does not slander, perform character assassination; defame, etc. and which allows us all to live together amicably by adoption of an attitude to ‘live and let live’; to let go and trust in GOD; to do what it takes to live as a single community containing many diverse cohorts.
It would be totally wrong to stay silent (especially as an educator and leader) concerning these public events without pointing out the wrongs and the rights all of which are embedded in the U.S. Constitution, which incidentally, is still a work in progress. This means that as we learn about each other, we have recognized the wrongs of slavery (indenture); women’s right to vote; to receive equal pay for equal skill sets; etc.
Each one of us must learn that today’s freedoms were, in ages past, not commonly practiced; these freedoms are not entitlements…they were earned by continuously defeating any and all incursions on them. That is why our past historical experiences need to remain documented and preserved. If we do not know our historical development, we are doomed to repeat past experiences on all issues.
Issues such as freedom of speech, the right to assemble peaceably, the implied agreement from each of us to be governed; to practice and behave honorably; issues of respect, authority, dignity, and agreement on what is right and what is wrong, etc. all become opportunities for a discussion leading to a higher level of understanding and voluntary willing compliance.
These unfortunate events present an opportunity to ‘bring the past into the present’ in a very constructive and vital manner…and that is what is exciting about all these challenges. BUT TO STAY SILENT IS TOTALLY AN ABDICATION OF EDUCATIONAL RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP bordering upon complicity by parents and officials. The parents need your guidance. Plus, they need instructions concerning the ‘age-sensitive’ vocabulary which is most effective.
Hatred, racism, white supremacy are always with us…to keep silent; to not have ‘that talk’ with your kids, is an abdication of adult parental responsibility.
Hilbert Morales, M.P.H., M. Sc., EO Publisher-Emeritus; 408-718-9590
P.S. Do check out El Observador (EO) est. 1980 (online at www.el-observador.com). This weekly bilingual (English & Spanish) publication is entirely posted ONLINE each and every week; local college students are assisted by paid internships which are really scholarships providing a ‘hands-up’ (not a hand-out) to aspiring and deserving local students (since 1986).