A Message from the Head: After Election Thoughts

Jason HeissererUncategorized

Friends

I am trying to think and to write quickly this morning; I have been awake and thinking much of the night. Brittyne shared with me via text that our students in Washington, DC are distressed: some are very angry and some very hurt by the outcome of this election. I have received emails from parents who are also distressed, who are not sure how to explain the election results to their children, and who are afraid of what this election outcome means for their communities.

This morning, I sent a few suggestions to teachers about how to respond to students today when they bring a range of emotions to school (including feeling neutral to happy about our election results). I suspect that what I offered is not enough and that going forward we will need more and better ways to think about, to talk about, and to respond to students and families in our community.

I will say that as a community response to our election results and because we are Crossroads, we must stand together, continue our conversations about diversity, inclusivity, and equity with candor, and reflect and refine with seriousness and intention what is and how we live our mission. This must include us all, whatever our stance, and our strategy must be one of learning, one of attention, one of action, and one that supports our dignity and humanity.

Any close examination of our nation’s election results and exit polls will reveal that a majority of white men and women voted for President-Elect Trump while a majority of men and women of color voted for Secretary Clinton. This clear divide (and other divides the data reveal) is concerning to me, and I believe that I must name it to honor the work our faculty, staff, and board has undertaken to understand and analyze systemic racism, that I must name it as a way of pushing against any bias and racism that exists at Crossroads, and that I must name it as a way of galvanizing our work together. I do not believe this divide is reflective of our community. Nonetheless, next year we will offer the same anti-bias/anti-racism workshop half of our board and almost all of our faculty and staff experienced this year to our parent community. This common experience will be difficult and strengthening.

At Monday’s announcements, I reminded students, faculty, and staff (and myself) that we name being ourselves and everyone having a voice as differentiators. I reminded us that on the “other side” of being ourselves is empathy for others’ selves and on the other side of having a voice is listening. We aspire to be a community that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable. Today, particularly, we must be prepared to practice this. We must not avoid; we must be vulnerable; and we must believe, rely on, and continue to be smart and good on behalf of our students, one another, our region, and our nation.

With great expectations,
Jason