As an educator for 20 years, I was saddened to read in the Sept. 30 issue of The Shopper that Springfield community school district leaders had accepted the resignation of a valuable and dedicated teaching professional during early September. While I feel for the educator himself, I am heart sore for the school children deprived of an alternative, responsible, and interesting voice in a much-needed dialogue about race.
According to the article, a child was made uncomfortable by the reading of the story “Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice.”
It may be that those involved might have handled all this more artfully, but I ask this question: Are our children and ourselves so tender that we must feel comfortable at all times and with all things? Gains are often uncomfortable, and while it is helpful for adults to know and acknowledge a lack of comfort in children and to help students through their doubts and fears, let’s also recognize children are far more hardy and resourceful than we often credit, and we need to allow them to exercise those qualities.
In this case, the loss is deep and lasting, a deprivation in a Vermont community of the richness and resilience in Black culture. The world is not lily-White, and we are enriched by contacting and appreciating other cultures and views. Why would we deprive our children – and ourselves – of that bounty? As such, my deepest concern is for the whole community.