Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Profiles in Courage

School personnel in Massachusetts are taking a hit in the media and on popular talk radio shows. When teachers and counselors sign on to teach and to guide our young students, we make a commitment to keep our students safe. This is a responsibility we take more seriously than any do parents, as does the entire community. When a young girl kills herself after being bullied or a student murders another student, we demand answers and we should.

But answers take time and that is something our culture is short on these days. I drive into work listening to talk radio hosts saying disparaging comments about entire communities and splattering such vitriol that everyone is left diminished. We have become addicted to shortcuts and sound bites, neither of which provide accurate answers and certainly does not lead to real progress and change in policy that can save lives.

Today, I had the honor to sit with a group of educators, administrators, counselors, nurses, and support staff who were quietly and with great courage doing their jobs under duress. No fanfare, no media, no hoopla. I hope we never forget that these are the folks who are truly representative of our schools. The teachers who go in day after day and fan the smallest spark of creativity. The counselors who do listen to what is not said and the nurses who notice who needs a breakfast bar.

Tonight, I am grateful to have seen such grace and dignity. It has renewed my commitment to our field, to doing honorable work, and to support my colleagues who are being tarred and feathered. Most of all, I am proud to say that I am a Massachusetts school employee and I will continue to care deeply about the safety of your children.


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