Silence is not the answer

Thirty years ago, a committee of Plainfield citizens, representing Town and school officials, as well as local civic organizations, came together to select and define what has been known ever since as our Community of Values. Throughout the school year, each month, we highlight and honor students who are nominated by classmates and teachers, who best live the example of that month’s value.

In Plainfield Schools, we emphasize these values and teach students what it means to develop strong character and to care about others. Character education is part of our state’s educational standards, and modeling those standards through our Community of Values provides a cohesive and meaningful way to connect our students with the greater Plainfield Community.

In January of each year, we celebrate our core value of Equal Opportunities. Students learn what it means to be a  part of a community that values equal opportunity. They observe adults around them, and they model those behaviors.

Most of us could not have imagined, just a few short months ago, the role this discussion would take in our daily lives.

Schools, like families, come together around shared values and beliefs that make them stronger in times of adversity. Without question, 2020 has presented us with moments of adversity unlike anything we could have anticipated.

Regardless of our individual adversities, however, most of Plainfield’s school families cannot speak to the experience of racism. For many, finding the words to comfort a friend may be difficult. Finding the words to kindly disagree with a loved one may be uncomfortable. Finding the words to respectfully communicate with a boss or co-worker may feel impossible.

Silence, however, is not the answer.

Our staff WILL find the words to have fair and honest conversations with students, their families and our colleagues. It’s likely that we’ll stumble occasionally, but we will learn together. We cannot continue reciting these values which define our community and our schools if we don’t stand up and model them. So we will do better.

The fact is, as a community of values, we must continue to stand up for the character traits that we stand for, or we stand for nothing.

In January, Plainfield honors Equal Opportunity.

In February, Plainfield honors Honesty.

In March, Plainfield honors Reliability.

In April, Plainfield honors Respect for the Environment.

In May, Plainfield honors Integrity.

In August, Plainfield honors Truth.    

In September, Plainfield honors Dignity.

In October, Plainfield honors Responsibility.

In November, Plainfield honors Respect for Others’ Rights.

In December, Plainfield honors Kindness.

 

We will not tolerate racism.

We are a Community of Values.

Given that, we must live as a Community of Equality.