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Administrators explain goals behind culture of kindness


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Kindness Wordle

By Lauren Moran

While the phrase ‘culture of kindness’ is new to most students this year, being kind is not a new school initiative according to Principal Anthony Parker.

“As a new school year gets into motion, we are faced with an opportunity – an opportunity to make changes and make the year count,” Parker said.

According to Parker, being kind to one another is important both on and off campus. He said it’s not a “perfect world” where everyone likes each other, but our community should be one where each student is respected.

He also noted that the culture of kindness is not limited to behavior on campus, and it can help to “take down on the cyberbullying.”

One major challenge facing the ‘culture of kindness’ is that students are very engaged with each other online. And if an online conflict arises, it can have ripple effects during the school day.

“Everyone has the right to walk around this building and get their education without having to fear comments in the hallway, ostracizing in the cafeteria, or abuse online,” Parker said.

He noted how in this “small, small town” students are very involved in each other’s lives.

“We’re 700 odd and a lot of folks have known each other a long time. As friendships change and people mature and grow apart we’re still with that same group of people. You play sports with them, go to class with them, live down the street from them. We can’t talk about having tremendous school spirit if you have pockets of animosity,” Parker said.

Regarding dealing with differences, Parker hopes students in conflicts can learn to move on.

“If you’re really upset with someone, learn how to forgive,” he said simply. “You just have to. Say sorry and learn how to forgive and to accept it. And move on,” said Parker. “What’s the one thing that ties all this enterprise of school together? Relationships.”

Assistant Principal Kelly Flynn said she thinks that “more than anything, every student at WHS deserves to feel comfortable and safe.” She said this is a basic right.

She said students can benefit from being more thoughtful in how they communicate. To know that what might be playful teasing to one person may be hurtful to another.

“High school is a challenging time socially for many students.  Students want to be popular and to have friends, and because of this, sometimes they don’t think about their actions,” Flynn said. “For example, one student may make a comment about another student on social media.  He or she may say, ‘I was just teasing’, but then 20 other students give a thumbs up sign.  No one stops to think if his or her action may be hurtful or how they themselves would feel if 20 people were making fun of them.”

Flynn’s goal is for students to be more thoughtful in their action towards one another.

“Being kind feels good,” Flynn said. “The more [kind] all of us are, the better WHS will be for all students.”

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Administrators explain goals behind culture of kindness