Seek First to Understand
As the nation and our students watch the events of the past week play out, there are more questions than answers. Our students are caught in a confluence of current events that includes the coronavirus pandemic, economic recession, senseless death of George Floyd, and the protests for racial equality.
As educators, we are called on to help our students process the pain, confusion and anger of recent events. This represents a teachable moment. Our secondary students have lots of feelings, comments, and opinions about these events and they need a space to voice and discuss what they’re thinking.
Our educational community needs to address the complex themes and challenging questions that have arisen. We have a responsibility to promote our core values of equity, empathy, tolerance, critical thinking, compassion, and resilience. We need to encourage the logical examination of all sides of the issues and the consideration of different viewpoints. We also need to commit ourselves to helping our students make the world a better place. The best gifts we can give our students are the abilities to think intelligently, discuss passionately, disagree agreeably, and to seek first to understand before being understood.
Over 50 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Our school district embraces the culture of love that Dr. King described, and that culture provides us with the courage to acknowledge and address the difficult issues that have surfaced.
Geoffrey M. Hicks, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools