Is “Safe” really Safe?
Recently our local Big Ten university, Northwestern, jumped into the national spotlight when its student paper, The Daily Northwestern, apologized for covering a student protest in a way the protestors found “harmful” i.e., not safe. These “harmful” acts included reporters at the paper taking pictures of the protestors and contacting them for comments. In other words the student newspaper at one of America’s top universities apologized for performing basic journalism.
This wasn’t a surprise. Northwestern administrators, following the trend on campuses across the country, have focused on creating emotionally “safe” spaces for students.
This culture encourages activism, but shields students from responsibility for their own emotional well-being. And it isn’t something that starts in college. Increasingly students arrive on college campuses expecting protection because they were steeped in it in high school, often under the rubric of “Social Emotional Learning.” Such curricula focus on “educating the whole child” beyond reading, writing and arithmetic. One thing kids don’t learn? How to be challenged by thinking that is different than their own – without exploding.
New Trier High School, for instance, has publicly committed in its strategic plan to emotional safety for its students. But if emotional safety means shielding them from ideas they kids might find challenging – or even offensive – instead of encouraging them to sharpen and expand their thinking, are we really keeping kids safe? As George Orwell reminds us in Animal Farm , “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
The Year in Review
Since New Trier Neighbors launched in October 2017 here is what you have made possible. If you like what you see, please donate!
Sustained issue campaigns to inform and educate on the D39 tax levy process and Wilmette’s mandatory minimum wage/sick leave debates.
An evening with famed CNN economist (and New Trier alum) Stephen Moore, attended by nearly 100.
A screening and discussion of the critically acclaimed “How Jack Became Black” at New Trier High School, promoting diversity in racial discussions and attended by 300.
Three “Mix-n-Mingles” in Winnetka, including hosting our local village trustees and school board members, and speakers including Ted Dabrowski from Wirepoints and Bob Muzikowski of Chicago Hope Academy.
Holding productive discussions with senior New Trier High school administrators on both exposing students to more intellectual diversity, and listening to students who are concerned about political bias in the classroom.
Publishing weekly newsletters keeping North Shore residents up to date on politicized “gun walkouts,” sexuality surveys in schools, and other “must-know” information that you won’t find anywhere else.
Growing our mailing list of North Shore New Trier Neighbors to over 1000!
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Mark your Calendars
More than 40 turned out for a great discussion with Professor Jason Hill of DePaul University. Professor Hill discussed the state of affairs on college campuses – including the recent “condemnation” by his colleagues over a pro-Israel article he wrote – as well as his latest book latest book We Have Overcome, which outlines his love for America and its promise to those to arrive on her shores
Stay tuned for future Mix n Mingles!
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