Quote of the day

"We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing. "

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, February 18, 2008

Open Letter To the Mount Si High School Community

We have received an open letter from one of our parents;

February 18, 2008

To the Mount Si High School Community

We have more in common than that which separates us.

We all have children in the Snoqualmie Valley school system and want the best possible education for our children.

I trust we can all appreciate the difficulty of being a teacher and respect those who have chosen this as their profession and who work with our children every day.

We need to teach our children respect, we need to teach our children reason, we need to teach our children personal responsibility, and we need to teach our children to think for themselves.

A public school is just that, public. They receive public funds, as we all know, and as such they are bound by laws which seek to create a level playing field and which insist that all children in our society are welcome and are treated equitably. I believe that Mount Si High School as been reasonably successful in meeting this high standard. Obviously there is room for improvement and there clearly exists a diversity of opinion about exactly what sort of improvement is required or what shape or form it should take.

Some of us, including myself, want the school to be respectful and welcoming to those who are questioning their sexual orientation, which it is not. Others are declaring a ‘culture war’ and seeking to stop the ‘indoctrination of our children’ on the basis of a teacher asking a question and the perception that there is an ‘agenda’ being foisted on students.

Our country was founded on the principle that ‘all men [sic] are created equal’. At the time our country was founded this laudable goal did not include people of color, nor did it include women. It pretty much included those who were making the rules. It is to the credit of our country and its people that we have seen fit to change the rules over time, to be inclusive and to respect diversity. In short, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We are now at a time when the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population has gained some legal protection. As such public institutions, such as Mount Si High School, are legally obligated to not discriminate against members of this community. Like it or not it is the law, just as they can not discriminate against students based on their sex, or race, or religious beliefs.

Clearly this creates a rather challenging environment in which to work and in which to teach.

I would encourage us all to support our teachers, to provide constructive criticism when it is warranted but to also respect the difficulty of the challenge. It is important that we base insights and opinions on the reality that exists. All children are, and should be, challenged to think for themselves, to form opinions, and speak to them. It does not mean they should be indoctrinated by particular political or religious beliefs. Some children are agnostic. I am certain there are times they feel indoctrinated by the majority of students and teachers who are Christian. We need to be tolerant. We need to be supportive. We won’t all agree all of the time but we should remember that we share more in common than that which separates us. I firmly believe we all seek a safe, respectful, engaging, and tolerant environment dedicated to learning and preparing young adults to find their way in the world. It is a world that contains many more challenges, opinions, and diversity than those that exist within Mount Si High School.


Mark Joselyn
Parent of three students in the Snoqualmie Valley School District, 2 at the high school

1 comment:

Mount Si Supporter said...

Well said Mark!...I am so glad we have families like yours in our schools. Here's to open minds!