This online exchange was sparked by the Spring 2011 story "Your Students Love Social Media ... and So Can You."
Most social media is inaccessible to persons with disabilities or using assistive technology (speech recognition software, screen readers, etc.). Please don’t encourage further expansion of the digital divide between those who have disabilities and those who don’t (yet). Keep people with disabilities in mind from the start, not as an afterthought, and have to then come up with excuses for their not being able to participate. If it’s important to use social media, then it should be important enough for everyone to have access to it.
—Submitted by Gary M. Morin
Please remember there are two sides to every coin and an edge. Social media is fantastic for the deaf and hard of hearing within our schools and communities. It gives them an easier path to participation. Perhaps we need to work to have voice recognition software work with these sites just as much as we need to work to have more TV, movies and online audio-visual content captioned for the hearing impaired.
—Submitted by Andrea
Last issue's cover stories about social media drew an enthusiastic response. They also started a lively conversation on our website about how to use social media to promote social justice.
The Golden rule at a higher level
I love this magazine. It is "do unto others" in sophisticated form, and it is wonderful.
Cathee Cate Romley, via Facebook
Hooked on your blog
I started by reading the Teaching Tolerance blog very sporadically and casually, but I’ve become hooked. Your eloquent posts seem to embody what teaching and learning are about—finding something new and thought-provoking no matter what the subject, and retaining both respect and a profound sense of guidance vis-à-vis your students. And these seem to be life lessons as well.
Beth Lamont, Berkeley, California, via the Teaching Tolerance blog
Cancel my subscription
When I first ordered a teaching packet about a year ago on civil rights, I was pleased with the DVD selection and have since shared it with other home-schooling parents in my area. But as I continued to receive the Teaching Tolerance magazine, I was disturbed about the continual agenda that this magazine promotes.
I do believe we should teach tolerance in respecting other people and showing them love and kindness. But that does not mean that we have to agree with a person’s lifestyle or mindset. We can agree to disagree—while showing kindness, self-control and respect for that person. Teaching Tolerance does not have to promote right-wing or left-wing policy or thinking. We can discuss bullying homosexuals and how to prevent it but not promote homosexuality in the process for those who disagree with that lifestyle. We can promote tolerance and kindness to immigrants and illegal immigrants without stating how to handle immigration.
Your magazine oversteps the boundaries of teaching tolerance and tries to sway people to believe in an agenda. It is too bad, as it could be a quality magazine that does good in society. Please cancel my free subscription.
Christina Brown, via email
Speak English or go home
In response to “The Human Face of Immigration,” Spring 2011:
As a Native American, I am trying to learn my ancestral language to help keep it alive. As a U.S. citizen, I speak American English to provide me with a common bond to my fellow citizens. And I find it offensive when someone suggests that immigration is not a problem. I have relatives who immigrated from several non-English-speaking nations, and they all spoke English as part of getting work and using government services.
I don’t blame immigrants for crime. Many anti-immigrant groups create far more crime than the immigrants themselves. I do blame immigrants for the decay in the social fabric of our great nation. As far as I am concerned, Welcome to America—now speak English or go home!
Rob Utzig, via Teaching Tolerance magazine online
Thank you for bullied
My name is Marina Affo and I am a sophomore at Lewiston High School in Lewiston, Maine. My school is having some issues with bullying and I am a part of a Student Leadership Program that is trying to help reduce bullying here at LHS. We are thinking of putting together a presentation to our students, which is why I watched the Teaching Tolerance movie Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History.
It brought me to tears. When young Jamie Nabozny considered suicide, and then during the trial when older Jamie was so choked up about having his mother hear what he had gone through, it really made me sad that anyone—especially someone who was around my age—had to go through this. I will definitely mention this video to be presented.
I wanted to also say thank you for making this video. I know that people get bullied. Even I have been the victim of bullying. But I still can’t imagine when it gets so bad that a young boy, barely a teenager, would consider running away or committing suicide. This was an extremely powerful video, and I just wanted to tell you guys how much it affected me. Thank you.
Marina Affo, Lewiston, Maine, via email
Teaching Tolerance is the best resource for teachers looking for tried and true lessons about acceptance of all others. ...I cannot rave enough about this association.
Sara Caine Kornfeld
Taught about Special Olympics as an entrée to teaching about bullying and this year am also going to employ the Pearls Project to embellish my anti-bullying curriculum, as well as some new ideas from Teaching Tolerance.
The best part of being a teacher is the chance to reflect on practice over the summer and trouble-shoot. Sometimes there is a quick or easy solution, but in others we just keep trying to engage kids long enough to make them grab the reins of their own education, work hard, be tolerant and leave this world a better place for their having been here.
Teaching Tolerance, you rock!