A Time to Listen, Pray, and Act
As many of you know, Wednesday evening the school was made aware that a picture of a conversation involving racist and hateful language used by a student was shared on social media. The school took immediate action in addressing the situation.
Like many of you, I’ve spent the last two days experiencing a wide range of emotions. I have prayed regularly, asking that God gives all of us the right words and action steps to further his Kingdom both here at GRCHS and outside our walls. Yesterday I spent a lot of my day listening to students share their emotions of anger, sadness, frustration, helplessness, shame, hope, or other feelings. I found myself wanting to have the perfect words to make it all better and have it go away. The reality was that there were no perfect words and is that it was a time for me to listen and hear how our students and parents are feeling.
As you can imagine, the events of the last two days were only a portion of what we talked about. Students articulated so many wonderful things about our community, and also some of the burdens that they carry and ways that they might not always feel fully free to be themselves - the awesome, unique, image-bearers that they are. I learned so much in that short time about many unique experiences. Again, it was a reminder that we need to share each other’s stories and to grow in our understanding.
It is a time to listen, but it is also a time for action. We must not let this incident stand alone without listening to God’s call to take the next step as a community. We are a school community that focuses on learning; we are, however, much more than that. We are a community that focuses our efforts on preparing our students for a life of service to Christ and our call is far bigger than our classroom learning targets.
We recognize that we may not have the skills or resources in our school to fully take that next step and have already begun the process of reaching out to community partners that can help us in this journey of listening, healing and growing. We are committed to teaching our students the skills they need to appropriately fight against and respond to racism and other acts of hate. These skills include:
- How to be an ally to the victim when those around us are experiencing harassment or being profiled;
- How to be proactive in using our voices to create welcoming and inclusive communities;
- How to report an incident to a trusted adult and not to use social media as a platform for reporting;
- How to handle conflict appropriately as a Christian community without threats or retaliation;
- How to reconcile and live together after a hurtful incident.
We serve an almighty God who carries us in the palm of his hand. Although we hope and pray to never experience these types of difficulties, God tells us that living as Christians will not be easy. In fact,1 Peter 4:12 says “do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you.” He also promises us in Romans 8:28 that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him.” We trust that God is calling us to work that will make us a school that loves the Lord and loves each other more deeply. Throughout this difficult time, we rely on God’s promises in Isaiah 41:10 to uphold us.
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Thank you for your continued prayers and for partnering with us.