I have been watching the news this week with alarm and dismay about the various incidents regarding the police being called on Black people and people of color simply living their lives: writing a graduate class paper in a Yale University common room, barbequing at a city park in Oakland, staying in an Air B&B in Rialto, CA, golfing at their country club in York, PA, and visiting Colorado State University as prospective students. Additionally, Black students graduating at the University of Florida who danced a few celebratory steps after receiving their diplomas were forcibly removed from the stage.
As a white woman, I can move about public spaces without fear of being called out as an outsider or a criminal. No one will call the police when I walk around in an upscale neighborhood, I am not followed around by plainclothes detectives in a department store, and I can sit in a café without ordering while I wait for friends without fear of being accused of trespassing or worse. If I am stopped for a traffic violation, I do not fear that the interaction with the police will endanger my life or my freedom. I am lucky to enjoy these privileges that have come with the color of my skin and not with any effort on my part. Though each day I strive to enact hard work, good deeds, empathy, and a strong moral character, these actions did not earn me these privileges.
I worry that as a society we are going backward instead of forward in our concern for our neighbors and fellow citizens, that we are missing opportunities for inclusion and equity as our nation and communities become more diverse. I worry that we are instead creating rifts and divisions and misgivings. This worry fuels my desire, as an educator and the leader of our school, to ensure that we are fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, which as we know, improves learning outcomes for all students.
At Turning Point School, we are committed to helping students flourish while they are here and to be equipped with skills to thrive in the future when they enter the larger world. We want them to be change makers, to find new ways to co-exist with people who differ from them, to create new systems that allow a larger swathe of people to find success and to live with dignity and honor. I see these efforts reflected in our curricula, both formal and informal, and we will continue to teach our students to embrace challenge as the pathway to discovering their own abilities and resourcefulness.
As this school year comes to an end, I am grateful for all the accomplishments we can celebrate together, and our strong, dynamic community that loves our school and wants what is best for all its members. Relationships are at the heart of a vibrant, prosperous school community; they create the bonds that maximize student learning. We are planning more opportunities for parents and families to engage in dialogue about issues close to all of our hearts, and to continue to nurture our students to face a challenging and changing world.
While we must work hard to keep up with the pace of change and the attention it requires, I take solace in knowing that Turning Point will always be a nurturing community that strives to instill a fundamental sense of integrity and inclusion. Thank you for your partnership in helping us model best practices, both at school and at home. I have no doubt our students will serve as excellent agents of positive change in this world they are inheriting.
Dr. Laura Konigsberg
Head of School