Inflection Points and Hard Work

Posted by Scott Allenby

10/08/2020

We shared the following communication with our parents last evening, and share here knowing the message others in the Proctor family should read as well. 

The past 48 hours have been as powerful as Proctor has seen in quite some time. The voices of our students were impassioned, honest, and heartfelt as they shared their individual truths. The conversations among students in advisories, on teams, and in dorms have been hard as we wrestle with the impact of recent images shared on social media and how we, as a community, should respond to those students involved.

Proctor Academy Boarding Prep School New EnglandProctor Academy Boarding Prep School New England

There have been tears, hurt, and yet in these difficult moments when division so often takes root, in its place seedlings of healing and hope have emerged as we collectively till the fertile soil of change on which our community stands. The work to make Proctor a more diverse, inclusive, equitable, and just community did not start with student protests this week (much work has been done over the past 18 months), but that moment when much of the community gathered outside Maxwell Savage to listen to our students, and the conversations that followed over the last two days, serves as an inflection point in our collective journey toward progress. 

Proctor Academy Boarding Prep School New EnglandProctor Academy Boarding Prep School New England

We sent a note to students earlier this evening sharing the following progress that has come out of the last two days of conversations: 

  • Students and faculty are revising language to the Greenbook that will explicitly state there is no tolerance for hate crimes, racial slurs, derogatory language and/or symbols in this community. Students shared initial draft language with administration this afternoon and a small group will hopefully meet to finalize language soon. 
  • Plans are in place to revise the structure of the Harassment and Discipline systems; seeking greater representation from our community, including increased student representation on these committees. 
  • Students, Faculty, and Administration will continue looking for opportunities for continued, open conversation around race, student voices, and how Proctor can better support students of color and other marginalized student groups on campus. The first of these conversations happened this afternoon within affinity groups. These structured conversations will continue throughout the week and into the future. 
  • Academic Department Heads and faculty will engage with students to ensure we are offering a curriculum that is inclusive of people of color and other marginalized groups. Academic Dean Derek Nussbaum Wagler will share an initial survey seeking student feedback on current offerings later this week. 
  • Earlier this fall, Proctor launched a Professional Development credit structure for faculty to continue ongoing training in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.

Proctor Academy Boarding Prep School New EnglandProctor Academy Boarding Prep School New England

We know varying narratives have filtered home over the last two days, and in each of these narratives there are individual truths. The feelings our students are real. Our role as adults is to acknowledge them, to listen, to listen some more, and then to guide these young people toward action. Our counseling team and advisors have been actively supporting students impacted by recent events, and will continue to do so moving forward.

Proctor Academy Boarding Prep School New EnglandProctor Academy Boarding Prep School New England

The bullets above are merely the beginning of the work we have in front of us as a community. The important lesson we are seeking to instill in our students is that this work can, and must, continue alongside our academic coursework, afternoon activities, and extracurriculars. The work of building a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just community does not end, and we will ensure the voices of our students are not lost as we return to our regular academic schedule tomorrow.

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