Submitted by Bre Power Eaton
Lately it has seemed that we cannot agree on anything, ranging from whether pumpkin-flavored-everything deserves its seasonal hype to when apologies are necessary and whom should be doing said apologizing.
Regarding the ongoing debates, both during and outside of school board meetings, I think we all need to pause. To regroup. Not by pulling ourselves ever tighter into opposing circles, but by grounding ourselves, as a unified community, in the values we share. Because we really do have a lot in common, after all.
Amidst all the editorials, Facebook posts, and School Board meeting speeches, I hear people who care deeply about our kids and their education. We all want our children to feel seen, heard, accepted, and lovingly challenged to achieve their fullest potential. This ideal is not divisive. We share it, and passionately so.
Though we may not agree on how to make this educational ideal happen, we should agree to model being the best versions of ourselves, especially when we disagree. Our kids are watching, listening, and learning.
In an anti-bullying story I recently read with my Village first grader, the child who is being treated badly by a “friend” learns to stand up for herself by asking something like, “Does it feel good to make me feel small”?
After seeing a comment posted on Trustee Antrim’s blog that is too vulgar to quote here, I must ask the sender of that remark and those who’ve sent any of the Trustees threats, “Did it feel good to try to make them feel small?” Moreover, do you feel empowered by making them feel unsafe?
During the October School Board meeting, only after prompting from Trustee Valdes-Clayton, Trustee Antrim shared a disquieting burden she and her family have carried on their own. She has been harassed by community members who disagree with her views, ideals–like encouraging civil discourse and promoting research-based, equitable opportunities to achieve academic excellence–that the majority of us are grateful she boldly and bravely defends, even in the face of bullying from the very group that protested against the anti-bullying No Place for Hate Program because they viewed it as an afront to their parenting: i.e. their ability to model for their children how to be kind.
Can you imagine if your personal information and photos of you walking around town with your kids were published online?
Can’t we agree that harassing our neighbors, people who’ve stepped up to represent our disparate voices and perspectives, is not okay?
Amidst all the noise, I hear another rallying cry, “Coronado is a welcoming, loving community!”
When there are consistent, uncivil behaviors at board meetings—like mocking teenage speakers and even Trustee Antrim’s admission of being terrified–honestly, can we continue the charade that we live up to this heartwarming claim?
Can’t we agree that we can and must be better?
Let’s practice tough love and call out uncivil behavior, especially that of our friends, club members, or our own political team. Let’s show our children how to disagree constructively, without making anyone feel small. In this way, we’ll truly live out what it means to be a loving community.
Bre Power Eaton, Educator