Last week was sobering. As our family was enjoying a break at the shore, the realities of the world came crashing through like a wave at high tide. As the news and talk surrounding Charlottesville unfolded, we were all saddened by the hatred, senseless violence, and the lack of condemnation that surrounded it. It is never easy to witness your country and its leader taking a turn that you cannot abide. To address the events of the past week, Friends Council on Education has put forth the following statement which “speaks the mind” of State College Friends School:
“The violent expressions of hatred, racism, white supremacy, and anti-Semitism in Charlottesville, Virginia were directly opposed to the values our schools stand for. These events serve to deepen our commitment at Quaker schools to teach our students habits of heart and mind that insist upon a disposition of openness and respect for every member of our community regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, place of national origin, gender identity or gender expression.
William Penn founded the first Quaker school in 1689, one hundred years prior to the formal addition of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. Penn directed that the school educate students from all walks of life, genders, religions, and ethnicities to prepare them to be moral leaders within the Commonwealth no matter what profession or trade that they might someday pursue.
Penn’s school created a program of study through which these young people might together imagine a more ideal society. Today all Quaker schools strive to serve this critical public purpose just as Penn imagined it in the earliest days of what would become the United States.
In times of uncertainty, and deep distrust, Quaker school communities turn to the Quaker values of peace, integrity, equality and community, as well as the longtime practices of peaceful conflict resolution and nonviolence, as touch points for navigating these turbulent waters.
It is our sincere hope that as children everywhere return to school that they may come together, in the spirit of respect for all, to find a way to listen deeply to one another, to value the gifts that all students bring with them to school everyday, that they might, together, imagine an ideal society.
Each of the 78 Quaker schools across the United States is founded on core Quaker values and practices. These principles strive to address issues of societal injustice. Friends schools seek to create inclusive and diverse communities and to live into the Quaker values of peace, equity, and social justice.”
I wish every parent to know that there is no room for hate at State College Friends School and we will continue the hard work of ensuring that every child is exposed to Quaker values such as community and tolerance, and learns to celebrate diversity.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
~Nelson Mandela; tweeted by former President Obama last week.
Please enjoy your day. Look for other announcements later this week.
State College Friends School