Aug 15



August 14, 2017
Dear Friends,

Families choose to send their children to The Roeper School for a variety of personal reasons.  They understand the outcomes our graduates achieve academically; they value the small class sizes and relationships between teachers and students; they embrace the way we help each child find their voice and the respect we show for young people.  Yet, at the heart of who we are as an institution is our history and philosophy; we are a school founded by refugees fleeing religious persecution, a family seeking a better life in a country that valued inclusion, respect for human rights, and a commitment to justice rather than power.

The events of this weekend in Charlottesville, VA remind our country, but more specifically our community, that we have an obligation to speak out against hate and bigotry.  White Supremacists and Nazis spewing their racist and bigoted rhetoric are carriers of hate, they are un-American, and un-Roeperian. 

The Roepers fled their home in Germany because good people did not stand against the hate of the Nazi regime.  Good people allowed those who were different from themselves to be scapegoated and blamed for the social and economic challenges of the time.

Our School was created as an institution of learning to stand against racism, antisemitism, bigotry and exclusion.  We exist because Nazi and White Supremacist ideology took from the Roeper family their home, livelihood, and attempted to take their very lives.  We cannot passively watch hate filled rhetoric become the accepted manner of discourse in the United States.  We cannot allow isolationism and indifference be the order of the day when we who have studied and lived history know the outcome of such dangerous choices.

Let us pledge to each other that our work will be thoughtful and inclusive.  Starting in our homes, our School, and in our community, we will stand for civility and inclusion.  In a time when it is easy to call names, use disparaging language, and be hurtful – we will model how to work through disagreements, we will model for our children our expectations for how we treat one another.  We will model what it means to live The Roeper School Philosophy that George and Annemarie labored to teach us.  Let us also model for our children our obligation to not allow hateful speech to go unaddressed, or for those who use such rhetoric to go unchallenged.

We are a school, a place of teaching and learning, a place where we seek to be inclusive of different ideas.  As we have throughout our history, we will continue to be a place that talks through the problems and challenges that surround our lives – being civil does not mean being monolithic.  But let us be absolutely clear – having diverse ideas and talking about diverse ideas, does not create space in our community for hate.  We can civilly disagree about religious practices, political choices, legal decisions, economic philosophy, and a host of ideas, practices and beliefs that make us different.  We cannot be inclusive about belief systems that speak of hate, harm, exclusion, or the destruction of our fellow human beings. 

Last November I shared a message that I believe to be equally true today, perhaps more than ever:  We are a community that treats each other with respect, speaks with thoughtfulness and kindness, and works every day to be an inclusive place of teaching and learning.  Our tenets may not be in keeping with the experiences our students see in the media, and so it is up to us to help them see that we sometimes have to work to preserve our core values.

In our philosophy, the Roepers called upon us to prepare our children for the unknown future.  Let us agree and commit to the principle that civility, decency, and care for one another are the central ingredients to that preparation.  Let us agree that we will not be an isolated community – that instead we will continue to be a school community that stands up for inclusivity and justice.

David Feldman
Head of School

One Comment

  1. David, this helps my heart to see this post. It is appalling that this resurgence is so vocal, so large, and so emboldened.
    The Nolan family stands with all who reject this hatred, and all who will work for solutions and alternatives.

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