Message From The Interim Head Of School
June 3, 2020
Dear Benjamin community,
On top of all the illness, loss of life, and disruption brought on by the pandemic, I have found the murder of George Floyd and the chaos since his death to be almost overwhelming. So much anger, frustration, and confusion. So many issues, problems, and fears.
Earlier today, I spoke with a former student of mine, Michael Gary, who is the head of a major Quaker school in Philadelphia. It was a moment of the teacher learning from the student, as I listened to Michael’s thoughtful words of response to the situation our country faces and considered what he had written to his school community- a very personal statement: “In these moments, being a first-generation private school college graduate with a Master's degree and now head of a historic Philadelphia independent Quaker school does not protect me as a black man in America. And to be reminded of this truth every day because of systemic racism is outrageous and frustrating.”
Despite that feeling, Michael focused on how to help students and families cope with this matter and get through these most troubling days. Yesterday, Susan Poncy sent an email to Lower and Middle school families with suggestions on how to help children process all that they are seeing and hearing about the death of Mr. Floyd, police treatment of African-Americans, protests, and riots. I hope you have found her suggestions helpful. I am resending it, so all families have it as a reference. Additionally, I have added a short list of resources Michael recommended to me.
Let us all work to find the way to peace, healing, and reform.
Thomas J. Reid
Interim Head of School
Here are a few resources to help in the journey of continuing revelation: Message From Student Services
June 4, 2020
Dear Upper School Students and Parents,
I feel compelled to reach out to all of you during this very unsettling time.We have all been impacted, directly or indirectly, by the COVID pandemic, the resulting economic crisis, and, most recently and significantly, the racial protests and violence surrounding the death last week of George Floyd. Mr. Floyd’s death has highlighted the injustices and inequalities that continue to exist in our culture and in our country. If you are like me, and others in the Upper School with whom I have spoken, you are filled with many emotions.
It is at times like this when we need to have meaningful conversation about what is happening. The best thing we can do is to begin these conversations together at home.
As a school, we recognize and bear witness to these feelings. Our commitment, as we restart in the fall, is to continue to offer programs and promote dialogue here at the Upper School that will identify peaceful, powerful ways to be positive agents of change and create and foster a school culture of inclusion.
Please know, too, that we are here to provide support to anyone feeling distressed or hurt by the recent events across our nation. Should you want or need to, we encourage you to reach out to any administrator or faculty member at the Upper School with whom you feel comfortable.
Amy L. Taylor, Ed.D.
Director, Student Services