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We, at Cultures of Dignity, want to address the op-ed our co-founder, Rosalind Wiseman, published in the Huffington Post on Tuesday, January 22nd titled To The Teachers And Parents Of Covington Catholic High School. As Rosalind wrote in the op-ed, we believe this is a confluence of events that made dignified reflection impossible. We don’t see this incident as the fault of any one group.

The article challenged all of us to stop attacking each other and treat each other with dignity. We have received a lot of the “proof and videos” from all angles about who was in the right.

We are not going to wade into this abyss.  We are reiterating what we believe.

  • Dignity is recognizing the worth and perspective of all people.
  • Good manners and civility are important.
  • Freedom to express yourself is important but so is being considerate about the impact of your behavior on others. That’s treating people with dignity and having good manners.

The event on the National Mall gave us an example to describe our values in a concrete manner:

  • Wearing a Make America Great Again hat for some people in this country is a point of pride and embodies certain values. For others, it is a symbol they fear and values that they don’t agree with. To regain civility in this country we must be considerate of this reality when we are in public.
  • School sanctioned field trips are hard under the best of circumstances; excitement, group dynamics, new experiences, and adolescence, are only a few components to manage. In addition, schools tell students that when they are in public they are representing the school.  This is why schools have rules about appearance and behavior before they send the kids out on these trips.
  • To have school chaperones either not appreciate or know these dynamics and then send their students to the National Mall, especially during protests, sets up the students for altercations. That was why the focus of our op-ed was about the responsibility of the supervising Covington adults.

As people who work in schools and respect the hard work of running a school and educating children, that op-ed was a plea to not listen to the vitriol surrounding them and instead “focus on their boys.” We called on using the values and mission of a Catholic school to guide the members of the community through a process of repair.

If you would like to continue the conversation with us, we welcome the opportunity. Our request is that you do so with dignity. We obviously can’t control how you respond to us but we really are interested in hearing different viewpoints and working together to build stronger communities.

 

In Dignity,

Cultures of Dignity