Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Be Loud

By the end of the day yesterday I was very, very angry about how a certain group of parents are behaving in response to our schools. Yesterday was the day when it became horrifyingly clear that they have formed a highly functioning coalition of Hatred United. It’s not just an angry mob. It’s going for a well-oiled machine. And it is doing palpable damage daily in our community.

And here is where they are aiming their hate: 

  • teachers
  • the teachers union leadership
  • members of the board of education
  • the student member of the board
  • his campaign manager
  • and his mother (!) 
  • even a high school principal who has shown the SMOB public support
Yesterday was for many of our students “the day before break”, for others, that will be today. Does anyone even remember what that day is supposed to be like?

I wrote this last night for the Facebook page HoCoSchool Interest. It’s a private page so I wouldn’t share others’ posts I read there. But this one is mine, and it is from the heart:

The last few days before Winter Break are ones that we normally mark with some joy, celebration, sometimes music or a gift. Students share good wishes with their friends, parents thank teachers for their hard work and care for their children. As much as schools have tried to foster those human connections during distance learning, a day like today is achingly difficult and so different than the one we wish it could be.

When this hard time is over we will have to face the consequences of how we have treated one another. Is it truly not possible for us to support eachother through this time? Is there no way to for parents and teachers to lift each other up while also acknowledging what an awful struggle it is that we are in together?

I’m wishing a joyful time to rest and regenerate to all. And to our teachers, admin, support staff: thank you!

I keep thinking about what I said here: 

Our community has invested in recruiting, hiring, training, supporting our teachers and we often say how great they are when it troubles us no more than a Target gift card to say so. When we are forced to acknowledge them as equals in a time of crisis when we feel inconvenienced, our commitment to taking as much responsibility for the good of our children as they do shows itself to be very...thin.

This is what truly galls me: that there are some for whom those gracious days of teacher thanks before the holidays were purely transactional, like a tip for one’s hairdresser. Not a deeply-felt response to the gift of teaching in a child’s life, but an acknowledgment of a service performed which maintains the parents’ status quo.

Let me tell you: right now at this moment I truly loathe those people.

After yesterday I need to remind myself that there are many kind, open-minded, thoughtful people who are just trying to make it through distance learning and the pandemic as best as they know how. Some are openly supportive, some are frustrated, some are flailing, some are crying out for help and some are silent - - but they don’t resort to the language and actions of hate. 

It can be easy, when hate is so loud, to realize that its voice is not the only voice. I often admonish my readers to not be silent in the face of hatred, intolerance, selfishness. Today I’m upping my challenge.

We have to be louder.

The voice of love, acceptance, collaboration, open-minded discussion, patience, respect for others who are different, generosity  of spirit must be louder in this community or when this pandemic is over there will be nothing left worth saving. 

Some folks are burning it as they go.

Last night Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Martirano used his voice to strongly condemn the online treatment of Student Member of the Board Zach Koung. 

How will you be loud today?

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