From the Principal - School Culture

February 16, 2017

Before Christmas, we communicated with our students that racial slurs are unacceptable at Bishop Dunne and asked the school community to communicate their concerns to us.

What has been impressive about our students’ responses is the common theme that we need to become even more of a family and a community that respects and loves all as Jesus asks us to do.

A student may say something hurtful to another student, sometimes intentionally, sometimes as a joke, and sometimes unaware of the effects of the comments on others. If parents hear of concerns at home, please let a counselor, an administrator, or a teacher know. If parents hear something inappropriate, please question a student’s understanding of what was said and explain why the comment was hurtful.

We know that students expect us to intercede on their behalf, so we have renewed our commitment to do so in professional development. Faculty are being counseled to understand the following:

  • If someone in authority does not speak up, it empowers unacceptable behavior. The lack of action tells everyone within earshot of the slur that slurs are allowed in the classroom, hallways, and office.
  • People sometimes do not understand the negative power behind words or phrases. It is important to explain why certain words are offensive or why racial, gender, and cognitive slurs can be so hurtful.
  • It is important to question what is meant by hurtful statements and question the use of slurs, indicating that it is inappropriate.

These responses enable our students to focus on making better choices and will provide assistance in dealing with any issue that arises. Group meetings will help students speak with each other about their concerns and the pain that slurs engender.

We are an academic institution, and one of our primary goals is student achievement. We recognize that students achieve better when they feel protected and safe. Our work continues to develop in this area, and there will be more programs.

Please notify either Mr. Johnson or me of any related issues so that we can help.

Dr. Wine