As each of us reflects on the results of last night’s election and the long and difficult campaign season I know that emotions are running high across our country and within our community.
Being in a school for gifted students and surrounded by gifted adults it does not go unnoticed that we are a community with intensity. Indeed it is this intensity that makes us passionate and caring about others and the world around us. As we sort through the new political landscape of our country our children will certainly have questions, they will have concerns, and they may feel a level of uncertainty.
The campaigns and news coverage highlighted a level of negative discourse, hatred, racism and misogyny that caused many adults to not allow their children to watch the presidential debates. While some politicians seem quickly to move on after the vitriol and negativity of an election as though their words don’t matter, our intense children are not as free with their feelings and emotions, they do not let go with the same ease.
I sent the following note to faculty and staff this morning:
Election outcomes are always difficult, particularly in a country so evenly divided. I know the bitterness of this season will make today particularly challenging. Election results do not change who we are as a Roeper Community, tallies do not change our values, our expectations for how we treat one another, or our philosophical commitment to respect.
The intensities of our students will be challenged today, our need to maintain routine will be critical. Today is a day to hold our philosophy close and practice its ethical teachings.
George and Annemarie Roeper wanted us to be “Citizens of the World” – not to live in isolation. They wanted us to focus on the importance of justice rather than power; they wanted to make sure that we valued the differences in each other and understood that those differences made our community stronger. These core tenets of our philosophy may at times feel counter culture – and that’s okay.
Our Roeper values do not change because of an election – no matter what the outcome of any vote, we are a community guided by ethical principles. 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.