The Smoke Signal

Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

Back to Article
Back to Article

Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






(Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this letter are not necessarily those of The Smoke Signal or its staff.)

Dear Editor,

I could pretend to be surprised. Many people are doing so. Symbols of hate have been carved into stalls in the boys bathrooms, and perhaps it was a shock to some, but not to me.

One year before my class entered Pascack Valley, a scandal broke out about white supremacy within the school. Like a stubborn weed, or a bad virus, it has apparently “returned.” When did it leave?

Antisemitism and white supremacy have always persisted within our schools, workplaces, and country, but they have always been something to hide, to be ashamed of. In today’s society and politics, there has been a resurgence of pride in the hatred of others, a quiet and internal rebellion turned outwards into a spew of violent speech and actions. But did these hateful views grow anew? People wait for these symbols appear before they act as if this is a new issue, but the mentality is omnipresent.

If a body shows symptoms, you look for a cause. If a garden is overrun with weeds, you don’t leave the roots. We as a community need to look within ourselves and ask “why” instead of just “what”. We all know what’s wrong. We’ve found the weed, the fever. We cannot follow our past mistakes. We cannot simply cover it up with a band-aid or an assembly, push the virus into the dark in blind dismay where it can propagate and return.

We need antibiotics. More than that we need antibodies that will recognize what sickened our community and safeguard against further growth. But what do we do? How do we as a community move on?

I’m not sure that I’m qualified to say. The first step is that those in charge need to care. For whatever reason, administrators have stepped in and taken the lead. I’ve heard many argue that those in charge don’t care about the students as much as they care about the reputation of the school. As a public institution, I personally don’t fault the administration for caring about public image. Problems come when institutions care more about reputation than students. We need to remember the students that are affected by this. We need to help them heal, and that requires transparency.

We need to keep the parents in the loop as well. We need to remember that they are a pivotal part of the school. We need to connect beyond our community and find out what causes injustice and hatred, not just what to do about it. We need to decide consequences. We need to decide together what will happen, as it will affect us all.

Because as John Donne said, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” We all need to take responsibility for this infection within our school. It has thrived only in the absence of consequence. We have all allowed for a normalization of bigotry, a climate of “I was just joking” and an environment that is awash with silent intent. A lack of offense at this moment is akin to acceptance; staying silent is the same as laughter. It’s time to not only vaccinate the school against hatred, but ourselves as well.

-Shauna McLean

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
1 Comment

One Response to “Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’”

  1. Jeff Jasper on November 21st, 2018 10:16 pm

    Ms. McLean speaks softly but intensely. We should all heed and take note. Look for the person in the glass. What do we see? If I read Shauna correctly, it is a clouded image. Let’s work together, with compassion, caring and inclusion to treat people as our parents once told us when we were five: treat others as you want to be treated.
    Thank you Shauna for the advice.
    Jasper

Both first and last name must be included in order for your comment to be approved.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    Anti-semitic grafitti discovered at George G. White School

  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    ‘Outrage followed by disappointment’

  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    Hateful graffiti discovered at Pascack Hills

  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    ‘Actions speak louder than words’

  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    Pascack Valley participates in ‘Movement of Unity’

  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    ‘Student-led Movement of Unity’ planned for Wednesday

  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    Hate crimes on the rise across United States

  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    PV students, teachers tell their biggest takeaways from student council meeting

  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    Students discuss solutions to anti-Semitism

  • Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

    Graffiti Coverage

    Anti-Semitic drawings under an ongoing investigation

Navigate Right
Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’