By Nancy Reistenberg
Nov. 16, 2016
Howard Zehr reminds us to watch for both the intended and unintended consequences of our actions. Some unintended consequences are harmful, and but sometimes they are positive. I have been thinking about what could possibly be a positive outcome of the increase of reported bullying and racial, sexual, religious harassment in schools in the wake of the election. Stories of both individuals and groups of students threatening, harassing and grabbing other students certainly challenge the schools who are charged with teaching all the nation’s children.
The good news is that there are stories all over the country, where educators—teachers, educational assistants, and whole buildings with the support of the administration—are responding proactively by changing routine, and giving both staff and students time to talk. Circle outlines have been developed so that adults, who may have many feelings themselves about current events, are able to remember to say, in the middle of their circle, ”My ears and my heart are open to whatever people would like to share.” Feelings are never wrong.”