State Superintendent says schools must be 'safe havens'

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COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK
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Michigan Department of Education State Superintendent Brian Whiston released a statement yesterday, and it's a sensible one. In light of several reports of bullying and harassment at schools since the last week's election, including one that took place in Royal Oak, Whiston declared:

Since the U.S. Presidential election last week, there have been a number of reported incidents in Michigan schools of students harassing, bullying, intimidating, and using hateful speech toward other students.

I realize that certainly at the national level over the past year, we saw the debate go to a new low, and that is impacting the actions, demeanor, and mood in some of our schools.

Our schools must be safe havens for our children – free from hate; free from intimidation; free from bullying; and free from fear.

We need to cultivate and develop in our students a steadfast respect for all others, inclusive of race, religion, orientation, or social-economic standing. We must not let political rhetoric and actions diminish the positive learning environments we’ve worked so hard to nourish.

I ask that educators at all levels, from principals to teachers to parents, help their students understand that bullying and intimidation – in word and action – is unacceptable and will have consequences.



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