Monday, April 20, 2009

The Country's Hallways

Somewhere in the country a high school staff e-mail arrived with the following alert: "Please be aware there are some racial tensions between students today. Be visible in the hallways during passing time and let us know immediately of any student conflicts."

What would you do with this information as a staff person, a parent, a community member?

Tomorrow I am attending an all day training titled, "How to Create Inclusive Organizations." I have a responsibility to my family and to my work place to improve the places we learn, the places we live, and the places we play. I'm going to start building some expertise so that I can be an effective leader. I want to make a difference - I need a good tool belt for this job. I'm excited about formally starting this journey - building a resume as an anti-racist parent and anti-racist teacher is important to me.


Rachel said...

Speaking about racism... I really hope you were able to see our school's performance of Ragtime. It really did change the attitutes and relationships between everyone who was in the cast. I can honestly say it changed my views on "black people." It was amazing to see these people come into the musical department. They had no idea how large it was, they didn't even know we had a pit! It was an amazing experience and has made school a lot more fun because of the variety of people I now know and spend time with.

Mindy and Baldwin said...

You're the perfect person to help create an "all inclusive organization". Good luck on your journey!

Anonymous said...

I'm not in a school environment, so it's tough to say. But it seems that beyond just looking for conflict, adults like us might need to try to reach out and talk to students and learn what's going on, and teach/facilitate some dialogue and mediation. It's tough to know how to do this--I don't know if kids would speak up freely in a group setting like a classroom, but trying to talk one-on-one requires you to discern just who to talk to, which could upset some kids. Maybe using existing student organizations, like the student council, etc., as a forum? And bringing in good resources on conflict mediation, so that it's not just a free-for-all? It's not quite right, but I'm thinking of Seeds of Peace camp in Maine, which brings together Israeli and Palestinian students at a summer camp, and facilitates "coexistence" seminars and other conflict resolution techniques. If these kids, who are immersed in far more divisive circumstances and ideologies than kids of different races in the US (and I say that not to minimize racism here, but to put it in a context) can learn a lot about overcoming prejudices and stereotypes, it seems our kids can too. --mlw