News from AMS
February 13, 2023
Our Schools are "No Place for Hate"
Every day in the news, you come across stories that feel like they are from a century ago. Swastikas spray painted on gravestones…homophobic comments made at public meetings…racial slurs written on buildings or directed toward athletes from the crowd. While of course I realize that ignorance and hate have always existed, I can’t recall a time in my life when it seemed so out in the open.
In the midst of this volatility are our 11-14 year old middle school students, at an age where they are very, very impressionable – they still have some of the innocence and lack of knowledge of childhood, but they now feel the pressures and impulses of adolescence. This awkward combination causes our students to sometimes do and say things that are really not reflective of who they are.
At this age, our students cannot be expected to understand all the multi-layered opinions and nuances of what’s right and what’s wrong in the world, but I do believe it is reasonable to expect that EVERY person, by the time they are this age, should understand that anything hateful is not only wrong, but harmful to both the victim and the perpetrator of the action.
If, to use an example I saw on the news, you are old enough to know how to draw a swastika, you’re probably old enough to know that it is a horrible symbol. If you are old enough to know inappropriate racial terms or negative comments based on someone’s real or perceived LGBTQ+ status, while you may not fully grasp how deeply wrong it is, you are old enough to at least know that it is hurtful.
So, when these types of things occur, as they do most anywhere hundreds of kids gather, including AMS, I struggle to believe it could be just an innocent mistake. I am a big believer in second chances and that young people should learn from their mistakes. But saying or doing hateful things based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, how much money a family has, etc. are among those few mistakes that kids must learn you simply cannot make. These mistakes will stick with you longer. They could become part of your reputation. Forgiveness for them will be a far longer journey.
There is no doubt that the world in which these kids are growing up is far different than the one we grew up in. But kids have always tested limits and done things for “shock value” or “street cred.” It’s not new for kids to test limits and try out what it might be like to do the things adults do. Kids now, I believe, hear so much (on the news, social media, etc.) about grown-ups behaving badly (incidents of hate, politicians insulting each other, etc.) that they think it might be good to try out those behaviors themselves.
I’m no psychologist (Got a C+ in the one course I took), but even I know that kids are not born to hate. On the contrary, without grown-up driven, external influences, kids will generally show kindness and cooperation. So there’s no question that now, as when we were young, what the adults do tends to trickle down to the kids. As a result, I have never been more convinced that what we do and say as adults in our students’ lives really, really matters. While they may sometimes choose not to hear us, they ALWAYS see us, and they always feel our energy. They always know the example we are setting.
In all sincerity, nearly every single person, student and staff, in this building, is good at heart and tries each day to do right. We must keep trying to fight that uphill battle against all the negative influences our kids experience. We can’t control what other people do or what is reported in the news, but we can control what we do. And in the end, though it may not seem like it sometimes, what we do will matter more to our kids than what they see and hear in the media and the wider world.
Red Sox Equipment Truck Heads to Florida...The Surest Sign that Spring is Near
February 20-24 - Vacation
March 9 - National Junior Honor Society Induction Ceremony
March 16 - Half Day for Students (Staff professional development in afternoon)
March 17 - No school for students (Staff professional development all day)
March 16 - End of Trimester 2
March 17 - Happy St. Patrick's Day
March 22 - Ramadan begins - "Ramadan Mubarak" to our AMS Muslim families
MCAS Testing Dates for this Spring
May 2 and 3 - Science / Technology (Grade 8 Only)
May 16 and 17 - Math (All Grades)
Drop Off / Pick Up
This has gotten better, and I thank everyone for following the proper procedure even when it is inconvenient to do so. But we still have room for improvement. Our School Resource Officer is checking when he can, but it shouldn't take a law enforcement official to make us follow proper school procedures.
Thanks again for your help with this.
National Junior Honor Society
The induction ceremony is scheduled for the evening of March 9.
Important Information for 8th Grade Families
Grade 8 Trip to Philadelphia / New York City
You may contact Grand Classroom directly if you have any questions: 1-434-975-2629
High School Course Selection
Please see this description from our Guidance Department.