Opinion

Is Day of Silence good for learning?

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I actually received not one but two phone calls from people upset that we took an ad from Dr. Ken Hutcherson condemning the Day of Silence. Nobody has called to complain about taking an ad in support of the Day of Silence. But what this illustrates is varying levels of acceptability. Some are for censorship when their view conflicts with that of others.

If the Day of Silence is conducive to learning, then I am all for it. I really don’t have an opinion one way or the other, but tend to be tolerant of varying opinions. I think the school has done a great job of informing parents and community members of the process and expectations for the Day of Silence. Will it be conducive to learning? I think the fact that so many community members have spoken out, for or against the Day of Silence, should indicate to students how we exercise our right of free speech, our right to assemble and our right to protest.

But there is a down side to the Day of Silence. I have talked to numerous parents of Mount Si students who kept their children at home, not because they don’t want them to understand what the Day of Silence is about, but because they doubt that real learning takes place with so much disruption. Many also fear for the safety of their children, although I believe the school district and our local law enforcement do a great job in protecting the students.

The school board needs to decide if the Day of Silence supports the district’s mission statement. Potentially there is a learning element here, and it has to do with being involved citizens. Mount Si High School appears to be using the opportunity to teach students tolerance and respect for others views. I hope that individual teachers are open to respecting both sides of the concerns being echoed in the community.

I was mowing the lawn last week and while I mow I do a lot of thinking... Mowing a lawn is very therapeutic for me and in fact, some of my best ideas come while mowing the lawn. OK, some may not be so good, but while mowing, I thought back to all the teachers I had over my time in the Snoqualmie Valley School District. The most memorable did instill and support some of the values I carry forward today. In first grade, Mrs. Eshe instilled compassion and acceptance. Mr. Hepworth, in fifth grade, instilled discipline and drive. Mrs. Skeritt, in high school, instilled a sense of accomplishment. Many more teachers had an impact on my values, and I would hope that the teachers of Mount Si recognize that their actions and values can have a huge impact on the success of their students. How they dealt with the Day of Silence was noticed by their students,and I hope the example was a good one.

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