H-FARM International School: communication to families and the school community

H-FARM International School: communication to families and the school community

The school learned yesterday about a social media post created by one of its teachers from an external source, as the teacher’s profile is private. Naturally, the hateful language which appears in the screenshot is the absolute antithesis of the values in which our school believes in, such as peace, inclusiveness, tolerance, recognition and respect for every culture and religion. 

We immediately tried to reconstruct the incident by asking the teacher about the veracity of the incident, which she immediately admitted to, realizing the seriousness of the situation. A meeting with her was immediately scheduled so as to understand more fully what had happened.

We have addressed this situation with the utmost attention and seriousness from all angles that involve our educational community: first and foremost, our students, the interested party, our teachers and the families of our students.

After the meeting with the teacher and together with her, the Head of School met all the students of the senior school classes in which she teaches to establish a moment of direct discussion. The Head of School, together with the Head of Programme,  will continue to with all the students of all classes up to the first year of lower secondary school to address the topic discrimination and to establish an open dialogue.

The school also met with its secondary teachers and sent its position described below to the students’ families.

A message from Conan De Wilde – Head of School

“We have been informed about an hurtful message published on a private channel of one of our staff members that is against our values and we want to condemn extremist language and explain our approach to building tolerance in an international school.

Diversity of experiences and viewpoints are a strength in international education. It’s one of the reasons why we value diversity. And we value it even when it presents us with significant challenges.

Speech which is hateful or which belittles the suffering of individuals or groups is unacceptable under any circumstances.

Unfortunately, yesterday, a staff member made some unacceptable comments on a private Instagram account. This has, understandably, created outrage among us – staff, students and community members who stand for international values of open-mindedness and tolerance.

Our approach is first to make it clear that this kind of language is unacceptable. Then, instead of calling someone out and targeting them, instead of making someone the enemy, we want to call them in. We should model successful conflict resolution. For this reason we turn, as we do with our students, to the methodology of restorative justice. We have organized a community discussion where those who created pain meet with those who were rightfully upset. We started discussions this morning, with the Diploma students and the teacher who made the hurtful and inappropriate comments on instagram. We will chart a way forward by gathering students and teachers together and establishing common ground. We are a school. This is a moment where real and transformative learning can take place. 

We will come through this incident stronger than ever, because tolerance means nothing if you are not willing to face strong emotions and different beliefs. 

We stand for a type of education where genuine dialogue and deep listening are possible. We stand with all of those who are suffering and we know that our common humanity will prevail over our differences”. 

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