We have entered a polarizing period in the history of our country. There are those who would seek to challenge our Community Core Values of Compassion, Integrity, Perseverance, Respect, and Responsibility for all by claiming that those who are different from us are not deserving of consideration. And, there are those, unfortunately, who would aim to suppress others, simply because they fear anyone who thinks, appears or behaves differently than they. I want to reassure our families that in the Smyrna School District, all students are welcome. Everyone deserves schools that respect their individuality, celebrate their contributions and value their differences. In our schools there will be no place for intolerance, racism, bigotry, or any other form of expression that interferes with the orderly educational process. We seek to cultivate a climate in which no child is intimidated, and no child intimidates. No child feels threatened, and no child threatens. No child feels dehumanized, and no child dehumanizes.
Some may ask, “So, what about the First Amendment right to free expression of ideas, no matter how base or bellicose? Will this kind of expression be permitted, as well?” To those individuals we say, “No expression will be accepted that interferes with the orderly administration of education.” We want your children to enjoy their education, to feel safe and protected and to flourish and grow. Although our country is experiencing repeated challenges by fringe groups, we will continue to celebrate every child’s individuality, foster every child’s creativity and respect every child’s diversity.
At any point should you have questions about the Smyrna School District, please feel free to contact me directly. Tolerance is the backbone of all five of our Community Core Values, and we will help students to appreciate its importance, not only in a school setting, but in our daily lives, as well. Students who are struggling to learn tolerance will be given every opportunity to learn about its value and demonstrate it in positive and productive ways. As we must all remember, even Eagles come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and species. And each is entitled to thrive.
Patrik D. Williams