By Abby Jacobs, Samantha Renzulli, and Ethan Weisblatt
We wore pink. Now what? We stood, perhaps united, for a single day, but that material semblance of community has since dissipated. What now? Actions are not made in a vacuum. There is an undeniable cause. We must take a closer look at this source, the origin from which misogynistic thinking is allowed to grow in Fairfield and society.
Does it stem from a lack of knowledge? Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to consider the maturation that was lost during the prolonged period of online learning. For current freshmen, a full school year has not been completed since seventh grade. So much that there is to learn of the world is lost through a computer screen, a fact that is now so clearly on display. Students need interpersonal relationships to understand the concept of respect, not only towards women but all people.
Does this deficit of learning derive from a lack of conversation?
Worksheets, a word wall – practices that were encouraged in advisory lessons fall short. They are not enough nor are they inclusive of the entire student body; students learning remotely, whose teachers may not be properly equipped to facilitate these discussions, and those who are quarantined or at home feel underrepresented.
Warde has the opportunity to address how it values the community and our education outside of lessons in the classroom, outside of tests and the core curriculum.
So how can Warde fulfill its duty?
Through a conversation. This exchange must be led in a thoughtful way. Young, developing individuals are molded by not only their environment, but by what they choose to make of it. Let the students speak. Give us resources and integrate these real and honest discussions into the classroom. Create the opportunity for conversations to be considered after the fact. These thought-provoking exchanges are the basis of a respectful community, and what the administration should be attempting to attain. Let’s better ourselves, and the future generations that pass through this high school, by making ourselves uncomfortable. Because we know this is just that. However, these potentially awkward conversations are necessary because they will promote real change.
Considering this, we also must say that wearing pink alone cannot supplement the need for these exchanges, nor can it be a one time contingency. Rather, a consistent effort must be made by the administration to foster a community in which support can be shown and dialogue can take place.
To the teachers within this community, we implore you to guide this type of environment that is so needed at the moment.
We saw student support from the effort to wear pink, led by Warde’s Voices for Equity club, and subsequently by students who wore pink. While clubs can promote and advocate for the student opinion, the administration must be vigilant to listen and thoughtfully act. In addition to reacting, we maintain there should be work towards proactive measures; systems in place to educate, to raise awareness, and to teach students to hold themselves and others accountable.
What do we now do with this knowledge? The Warde community has confronted and acknowledged our implicit sexism and now we must move forward, not in spite of this, but because of this. As students of Fairfield and members of society we have a voice to contribute. With this we need to take our experiences and thoughts and put them to use in order to bring into being a school that truly embodies the Warde acronym and create a strong platform for our futures.
Our community, which promotes its embodiment of being welcoming, respectful, ethical, cannot falter behind a façade of academic integrity, but must promote humanitarian integrity and ethics as well.