LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

You Spoke, We Listened

Reader responses to Teaching Tolerance articles and resources.

Reader Exchange

“The Leaf Rakers” from the Fall 2013 issue stimulated online discussion.

I really appreciate where this story is trying to go! I would love to see a model that shows kids how to appropriately handle the more-than-likely defensiveness and difficulty that comes with these conversations. If it were this easy, we’d speak out a lot more.
–submitted by Atena Oyadi

I used this simple, thought-provoking story with two 6th grade classes as part of the intro to the novel Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. The classroom discussion, particularly in one of the groups, was right on target with the broader concepts and themes of the novel. Well done, Teaching Tolerance.
–submitted by Jettie McCollough

Our Fall issue generated thoughtful feedback on student concerns and the concept of race. Readers said “The Shame Game” was a helpful resource to reduce stigma about mental illness in schools.

“SHAME GAME” ARTICLE NEEDED

I was heartened to see an article which stepped into the commonly stigmatized topic of mental illness. … I observed a dear sibling suffer from an illness that took him from Homecoming King to schizophrenia in a matter of a few short years. … His “alma mater” does not recognize him or his past accomplishments, and have indeed shunned him. … It is my hope that Teaching Tolerance not stop highlighting this topic, as there truly is a need.
N. K. LENDBORG
Madison, Wis.

 

TT FILMS ENGAGE STUDENTS

[Viva La Causa] truly keeps my 8th graders engaged the last days of the school year. Usually a few weeks after they were engaged by The Children’s March. Thank you TT supporters!!!
STEVEN HALL
VIA FACEBOOK

 

LIMITED BULLYING VIEW

I read [“There Are No Bullies”] with a sinking heart. … There was nothing there about the relational aggression that girls (especially, but not exclusively) practice on one another. Those who engage in relational aggression … tend to be the “leaders” of the school, the “popular” girls who are more than happy to plan and participate in “Mix It Up” day at lunch, but who may at the same time be humiliating and isolating girls who are overweight, poorly dressed or socially awkward. The girls who bully in this way have their own set of problems—they often come from highly competitive families, or have a history of being ostracized that they have overcome by over-conforming to cultural norms. It would be very helpful if your magazine could do a story on them.
MEGAN MCLAUGHLINI
VIA EMAIL

TT Responds:

Thanks for the suggestion, Megan. See what one of our bloggers had to say about the topic here.

 

“INCLUSION” CREATES DIVISION

It appears as though the magazine’s agenda is to divide students into groups and then select which ones are in need of inclusion, protection, and special attention. I would argue that all of my students deserve my very best. The irony of the progressive movement of the last 50 years is that it has done exactly what it proclaims it wants to stop — it has labeled, targeted, and excluded.
JOHNNY BERNHARD
VIA EMAIL

 

PIPELINE A SAD REALITY

I am a senior high school student in a public school system. … My current high school has gained new policies within the start of this school year that has made the atmosphere more like a prison. … Now each day I must walk through a metal detector while having my personal items checked. … I always felt content to go to school, my teachers encouraged me to try, and I felt safe, nothing like when I was in middle school, but now that might not continue. … I am afraid of what will happen if the comfortable atmosphere my school once had disappears. I love my school but now [it’s] starting to feel suffocating. I don’t want to see it change for the worse because of this so-called “extra safety”. … I don’t know what to do but I hope this strange system will stop before the students, especially the freshman, start to adjust to criminal treatment.
ANONYMOUS
VIA TEACHING TOLERANCE MAGAZINE ONLINE

 

STUDENTS BENEFIT FROM TT

I am white, privileged, and … almost certainly racist on some level. … I think racism is deeply embedded in the consciousness of even the most enlightened white Americans. We have to keep striving to eradicate it; it doesn’t help, obviously, that racism is so broadly institutionalized in this country ... At any rate, I applaud the work you are doing, and I hope that … your ideas and thinking can be increasingly implemented where it is most needed—in settings where young people are growing and learning.
BARBARA ROMAINE
VIA EMAIL

Excellent resources and teaching materials, and lots of thoughtful articles on how it all plays out in the daily grind of the classroom. User-friendly enough to browse through and use DURING the school year. Highly recommended.
- Amy Quattlebaum

 

Stellar Tweet

Karina Bolivar
@KariBE92 I think all education majors should follow @Tolerance_org. They have some good things up there!

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