An Open Letter to our Parent Partners:
Reflecting back upon this year of PRESSING ON and “making every effort to add” good things to our faith, there is much to share that is praiseworthy. In fact, last week, I commended our faculty and staff en masse for their focus and a litany of mission-driven accomplishments that push us forward.
Our school and society are facing pressures that relentlessly push back against the well-being of our golden triangle of home, church and school. When I speak with Mrs. Chami and Mr. Neff, they are quick to point out that our number one disruptor of healthy student life is toxic social media and digital communication. The largest portion of our time on discipline decidedly pertains to texting and the use of social media. I am convinced you and I can be victorious in this area of student life if we stand united.
Before I remind us all of our present stance on communication and social media, let’s start with our mission – we exist “to serve families … by providing … [an] education characterized by excellence in the pursuit of truth from a Christ-centered worldview.”
As Warrior leaders, our job is to advance and protect the mission while serving the needs and safety of our students. To equip us to do that on a day-to-day basis, we have a strong policy framework on which to operate and make decisions. Let me review by paraphrasing the major points of our communication policy with you. [Our student handbooks elaborate upon our rules and consequences in greater detail.]
1. Corrosive communication, especially toxic and inflammatory digital communication, once publically identified, has no place in our school community.
2. Threatening communication, even threatening digital communication, once publically identified, has no place in our school community.
3. Sexual communication (outside of marriage) is inappropriate.
4. Reputational harm, once publically identified, is unacceptable.
Yes, there are consequences for violating these boundaries. But, since character is more than mere obedience and since discipline is more than consequences for disobedience, school leadership seeks to address a person’s heart/attitude as well as their behavior. That said, persistence in non-constructive behavior will be dealt with decisively.
In the case of a boundary breach, school leadership will examine each case as it is made known to us. We will examine the evidence, the context and the damage done. We will ask for your help since most boundary breaches do not occur at school. Together, we will discern the openness of the heart to change direction. Discipline and mercy will flow from that in measures fitting of the circumstance.
Thank you for your commitment to parenting well. Our mutual hope is for students to use media for good. We stand with you to that end; we trust you will stand with us.
In His service, at your service,
Gary B. Arnold, Ed. D.
Head of School