Neal M. Brown, Ed.D., Head of School
Sadly, the time lapses between senseless incidents of hatred and violence in this country are getting shorter and shorter. It is hard enough to know what to think or what to say to adults, let alone to children or to adolescents. These recent events—including this past weekend’s horrifying shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue and last week’s racist attack in a Kentucky convenience store—place an even greater spotlight on the critical role that you as parents and we as educators play in teaching our kids to be informed about what is going on around us, to respect all people, to speak up when something isn’t right, and to work out conflicts peacefully. They also highlight everyone’s inherent but fragile right to feel safe for who they are, where they come from, and how they worship.
Some of you are also aware that the federal administration is considering revising Title IX to define sex as “either male or female, unchangeable and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.” If this change goes into effect, it would further diminish the safety, dignity, and rights of many people in and beyond our community. At Green Acres, just as we stand for the dignity of all peoples, we stand firmly in support of all transgender, intersex, and non-binary members of our community, including students, staff, alumni, parents/guardians, grandparents, and extended family members.
At Green Acres, we purposely model and teach our students about the respect that every human being deserves, about demonstrating true compassion for all, and about the efficacy we must all feel in working toward a better world. We strive every day to create a community where kids absorb these values—and where they can be their true selves, in a climate of physical and emotional safety. We are committed to a community and to a wider world where no one is vulnerable to hatred in its many forms, and where no one is made to feel less than fully valued.
This week, among staff, we shared the attached documents from the Anti-Defamation League and the Association of School Psychologists to inform our conversations with students. Please take a moment to review these as you think about how you might respond to any questions or concerns your children may raise about what is happening and why. Please also be in touch with your child’s homecorner teacher or advisor with any trepidations that your child may be expressing at home about the spread of violence and intolerance. Our Lower School Counselor, Barbara Koltun, and our Middle School Substitute Counselor, Lori Seifter, are also available to provide counsel, information, and reassurance as needed.
Since our school’s inception, we have always believed that one of the greatest gifts that we can offer our children, staff, and families, is for them to participate in a truly caring and inclusive community. Here, all of us get to be fully accepted and cherished for who we are. We all deserve to live in a world free of hate and violence—and we at Green Acres understand that achieving that world will hinge on future generations who will respect others and who will be willing to stand up for justice, respect, peace, and kindness.