June 5, 2018
Dear Mount View Community,
Our country … our county … our school. We have all experienced significant challenges during the 2017-18 school year. My heart goes out to the students and families of Parkland as they participated in graduation this past week. A time of celebration was impacted by the senseless act of one person. I was also disheartened by the recent acts of racism and hatred by a small group of students at our neighboring school, Glenelg High. The events portrayed on television every day and what can be found on social media have truly increased the challenges schools face in promoting a respectful and accepting environment.
Here at Mount View Middle School, while the vast majority of our students treat each other with great respect and kindness, we had a few students who have treated each other in inappropriate ways this year. Whether it be through comments made in classrooms, hallways or through social media, unkind words hurt and can do harm. Hurtful comments and “jokes” used to demean others based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, personality or physical attributes have no place at Mount View. These behaviors will not be tolerated and will always be addressed.
We believe education is the most impactful path towards understanding and acceptance of the differences in every individual. Throughout this year, we have worked to address these issues through our Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program, Restorative Circles, our anti-bullying initiatives our continual focus on treating each other with kindness and respect. Mount View believes our differences are what makes us strong. We continue this educational journey today and tomorrow with a very special guest speaker.
We are honored to welcome Holocaust survivor, Mrs. Edith Cord to the school today and to speak to 7th grade students. She will speak with our 8th graders tomorrow. A native of Austria, Mrs. Cord fled the rise of Nazism in the 1930’s. Mrs. Cord’s family first moved to Italy and then had to flee to France. Her father and brother were arrested and deported to Auschwitz in 1942. They did not survive Auschwitz. Mrs. Cord and her mother went into hiding in 1943 until she was smuggled into Switzerland in 1944. While in Switzerland, she worked as a nanny until the end of the war when she was reunited with her mother.
Mrs. Cord comes to Mount View to share her experiences and talk with our students about how to rise above unthinkable circumstances, transcend hatred, protect our freedom and find meaning and purpose in life. We appreciate the Howard County Jewish Federation for helping to arrange this special presentation and would like to express our sincerest gratitude to Mrs. Cord for sharing her experiences with our students. Her message of resilience, perseverance and tolerance is central to the core values of Mount View Middle School. We are committed to continuing to nurture our students in a safe and innovative environment where we appreciate diversity and respect for all. We thank Mrs. Cord again for helping us promote these values in our students by sharing her life experiences with us today and tomorrow.
As I close this message, I think of the words of Martin Niemoller, another Holocaust survivor.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out … Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out … Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out … Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me … and there was no one left to speak for me.
Lastly, it is everyone’s responsibility to stand up and work towards making Mount View Middle School a positive environment for all. In the words of our superintendent Dr. Martirano, “See something, say something, do something!”
I hope that this message provides some ideas for dinner time conversation and self-reflection as we move forward into the summer and upcoming years. Thank you for your continued partnership and support.