Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist, once said, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
On March 14, those students at Suffield High School and Suffield Middle School, who chose to participate, were provided with a school sanctioned walk-out of class to express their support for the students of Parkland, Fla., in their concerns about school safety and to honor those who lost their lives. Student leaders met with administration and faculty to plan the event.
Our student leaders are impressive as they demonstrated empathy for human suffering, concern for their fellow students who have differing perspectives and motivation to improve school safety. 127 SHS students and 390 SMS students walked out of class at 10:00 a.m. on March 14 and participated in a respectful solemn gathering at their respective schools. A few students were signed out of school by their parents and expressed themselves by walking down to the Suffield Green.
The Suffield Public Schools encourage active citizenship, respectful student voice, listening to seek understanding and treating each other with kindness. All of our students, whether they stayed in class, walked out of class to the auditorium, or walked to the Suffield Green, were provided with the opportunity to think about the issues and the choices in front of them and choose accordingly. There was no one right answer.
The Suffield Public Schools code of ethics states that, “Our mission is to engender the spirit of learning: to inspire wonder, awe and curiosity; to nurture and motivate young minds, to enable students to pursue learning for self-fulfillment, responsibility to society and family and for invention, creativity, and productivity in their personal lives.” We can only do this well by upholding professional integrity and teaching children how to engage in rigorous thinking and respectful deep dialogue. We believe that in our public schools, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
The Suffield Public Schools are committed to providing a safe educational environment both physically and intellectually where students are given the best opportunity for success now and in the future.