The Mohawk Area School District wants to reaffirm its commitment to a bias free educational environment for all students. This commitment extends to all students, regardless of race, creed, national origin, or any factor that may label a student as different. Our school climate is extremely important to us all, and the district will be taking a proactive approach to making all students feel not only recognized, but also feel that they are an invaluable member of a learning collective, a true knowledge community. We will be vigilant in identifying intolerant acts and taking steps to prevent, through education and empathy, an intolerant environment. This ideal setting is where all students want to be engaged with not just their learning, but their peers as well.
The manifestation of intolerance and hate is sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant. It takes more forms and travels at greater speed than ever in the past. Intolerance shows itself in many ways; name-calling, slurs, sexual harassment, casual put-downs regarding race, ethnicity, gender, size, abilities, perceived sexual orientation or gender identification. It may also come in the form of certain styles or colors of clothing, or music or symbols associated with groups. The internet has added a new conduit for oppression and hatred via electronic means, and enables the cowardly and elusive. It has stretched the bounds of what is school related, as many of these out-of-school incidents carry into the school environment. None of these means of communication, be they verbal, silent, or electronic, have a place in the Mohawk Area School District.
We will continue to educate, as is the primary mission of the School District. We will continue to build a culture of acceptance, not tolerance. We have consulted with law enforcement, community organizations, and many others. We have scheduled speakers, both internal and external, to provide a holistic view, important in the preparation for students for a broader, more diverse world. Most importantly, we will teach and lead by example. We will not accept an insidious subculture of mistrust, bigotry, and hatred. We will not accept the tacit approval of intolerance by avoidance and silence, perhaps the greatest crime of all.
We ask that you join us in providing and creating this culture. Be a valued partner; be a promoter of acceptance; and most significantly; be a role model to all the students in our schools. Contact your building principal to learn how you can help. We look forward to your contribution to the betterment of our schools with our communal “outstretched hand of generosity”.
Mr. Michael T. Leitera
“Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity.”