What a week it has been, it feels like a lifetime ago that I wrote last week’s newsletter. It is a lifetime, because our lives this time last week were completely different to our lives today.
Below is an email I sent out to staff and I thought that perhaps it was something for all of us to think about. I didn’t send it out because we have any problems with racism or prejudice, it is just time to examine ourselves. I widened it to include others who may feel marginalised by comments others make.
I’ve been thinking.
Given this is a week for all of us to examine any subconscious prejudices or casual racism that we may hear, I thought about it in the context of the school.
Sometimes it is very easy to get hooked into conversations that start off fine, but with the back and forward banter it is easy for them to deteriorate which makes it harder for any of us to say ‘ hang on a minute, that’s not right’.
Sometimes, off the cuff comments are made and shared as a joke, but really, if we examine them, they are racist or prejudiced or sexist or ageist.
Sometimes conversations can border on this. The conversations start off and they are interesting, or great or funny, but they can deteriorate into racist, sexist, ageist or slightly uncomfortable territory.
Please let’s remember that we are a school of many cultures, a staff of all ages, a staff of predominantly women where the men are a minority. In the same way that we would never marginalise our children, parents or staff from other cultures, nor would we expect our men to be making sexist or off colour comments, it would be great to remember that sexist and off colour remarks can also be made about men, in front of men. It can also be uncomfortable for our more mature staff to listen to banter about old people.
We have a reputation for having an amazingly supportive and friendly staff. In this week of examining ourselves and our attitudes, I thought it was just a moment to let you know what I’ve been thinking.
Make a Plan
Have you made various plans with your children about what to do if there is an emergency? I use the term emergencies to cover the following scenarios:
- A fire inside your house. Do you have a family plan for evacuation?
- An earthquake. Do you have a family plan about where to meet if children and partners are not at home when it happens?
- A lockdown anywhere – school, place of work, suburb. Do you have a family plan about who would be responsible for collecting children if your place were in lockdown?
- An unexpected delay in you collecting your child from school. Do they have a plan so they know what to do?
- Your child getting lost – perhaps at the mall. Do you have a plan for where they should go?
- Your child being approached by someone in a car. Do they have a plan for where they can go for help?
With everything going on this week, perhaps ensuring our children have a plan will give all of us peace of mind.
I love our children looking smart. Please ensure your child comes to school wearing the correct school uniform. If your child needs to wear something underneath their uniform, please ensure it is black, navy blue or white. Socks also need to be black, navy or white. Junior children are allowed to wear their PE uniform to and from school on the days they have PE and sport but all other children must wear the correct uniform to and from school. Hats are still to be worn for the remainder of the term.
We are having a mufti day tomorrow in response to the Colour Your Day initiative which comes out of Christchurch. Children can wear bright colours and bring a gold coin which will be donated to the Give a Little page for victim support for people in Christchurch whose lives have been shattered by the loss of loved ones.
We have noticed an increase in the numbers of children wearing smart watches to school. Last week, a junior child was wearing one and it rang in the middle of teaching time. The child answered it and it was her mum asking how her day was going! That was a child as well as a whole class whose learning was interrupted. Please leave the smart watches at home. If it is vitally important for your child to have one for contact after school, then please never call or text them during the school day.
Dogs in the School Grounds
Please leave your dog tied up at a perimeter fence as we do not allow dogs on site. This is from a health and safety position around dogs toileting. We also have some children who are afraid of dogs, so please don’t tie them up too close to any gates. Thanks for your support.