Letter from the Head of School – Election 2016

Letter from the Head of School – Election 2016

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Dear Friends,

Whatever our personal political leanings we can all agree that the election cycle that ended yesterday was acrimonious and emotional. And today there are many members of our school community feeling deep emotions- some who are excited and optimistic about the result and others filled with sadness and worry. This is also true for some of our students, who have very likely heard adults around them express their feelings and ideas about this election in the strongest terms.

At Schechter Manhattan today our commitment is to support our students by sustaining a safe school environment, where they can participate in the routines of learning to alleviate anxiety that they may be picking up from some adults around them. As during the election campaign, our role is to help students think critically about ideas in an environment of respectful discourse- so teachers are making sure that whatever perspectives students might express for or against President-Elect Trump are shared within the boundaries of the menschlichkeitthat we expect at all times.  Today in a number of classroom teachers guided students through open and supportive conversations about the election outcomes and what they were feeling.

At Schechter Manhattan we aspire for our students to develop the skills and dispositions to be active citizens in American society.  While the divisive rhetoric and feelings of the campaign linger and the divisions in our society seem vast, today we are even more committed to helping our students grow into civic minded and engaged people. More than ever our students need to develop the critical thinking capacities to evaluate ideas and values and make their own good judgments. More than ever they need to engage in respectful discourse with people who think differently than they do. The capacity for, and practice of, perspective-taking and empathy will allow our students to be the future leaders of America, who are ready to listen and work and live together with people who are different from them. And the Jewish value of taking action to repair the world, tikkun olam, will inspire them to work to build an ever more just and equitable American society.

We can expect our children to ask us questions and share their feelings today and over the coming days. We are ready to be in partnership with you as you guide your children and we work together to nurture their healthy growth and development.

Sincerely,

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Benjamin Mann