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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Principal Uses Students' Bad Behavior as Opportunity to Teach

From ABC News:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (AP) -- A Catholic school principal has organized sensitivity training for students who shouted "We love Jesus" during a basketball game against a school with Jewish students.

The word "Jew" also was painted on a gym wall behind the seats of Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School students attending the Feb. 2 game at Norfolk Academy, said Dennis W. Price, principal of the Virginia Beach school.

Price who also watched the game, said the rivals exchanged chants, "Then, at some point, our students were chanting, 'We love Jesus."'

"It was obviously in reference to the Jewish population of Norfolk Academy; that's the only way you can take that," he added.

Price said he sent a letter of apology to Norfolk. Dennis G. Manning, the academy's headmaster, declined to comment.

Several Sullivan students met with Norfolk Academy's cultural diversity club Thursday as part of a series of events aimed at promoting tolerance, Price said.

He has arranged for the Virginia Conference for Community and Justice and the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater to work with students.

A message left for the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater was not immediately returned Saturday.

Price also has consulted the Anti-Defamation League, a national group that fights anti-Semitism.

"It is important that we work harder at having students leaving here who are tolerant and understand how serious these kinds of things are," said Price, who said diversity training will be incorporated permanently at Sullivan.
In my opinion, Mr. Price seems to have handled this situation in an admirable manner. He has made no excuses for the bad behavior of his charges. Instead, he has frankly criticized their actions, and immediately used this episode as a learning experience to teach his students the proper way to behave - even swiftly incorporating sensitivity training as a permanent part of the curriculum at his school. This is a great example of how to behave in the face of a display of insensitivity, and should be an example to all educators as to how to nip inappropriate behavior in the bud.

17 Comments:

Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

Hopefully competent, relevant, and informed education is a trend that will catch on.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tolerance teaching is a life-time avodah. I wish him success, and doubt that he will be successful in teaching respect, tolerance, and empathy for others.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Jack's Shack said...

On behalf of Jesus I am going to have to file a lawsuit to protect his name.

11:46 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

Well, the problems is in chanting "We Love Jesus" is that we Jews can't yell back "We Hate Jesus" as that would really be over the line. In my day, it went "Jesus Saves but Moses Invests". But usually, truth tell, we used to beat each other up including one melee at Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Forest Hills Queens in 1963 that was right out of the movies. But America has progressed since then, right?

3:53 AM  
Blogger joel rich said...

At a recent hotly contested basketball game between 2 local Yeshiva high schools, the students from the one nearing a hard fought victory started a chant that while not vulgar did not reflect well on their midot. 2 of the younger ("cool")rabbeim, there on their own time because of their dedication to their talmidim, went up into that section and in a menshlich way explained to them the proper behavior required of bnai torah. The chanting stopped, I'm guessing the moment will stay in their minds for some time - torah umada? maybe, maybe not but certainly a chance to learn that torah speaks to all our actions.

KT

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

As someone who converted from Catholicism - this is really low.

Frankly - Jesus was an Observant Jew. Maybe shouting back "Jesus Loved the Torah" would have been a kinder gentler way?

Good for that principal and boo to the parents who went for the antisemitism nonsense!

9:25 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

I was a student at Norfolk Academy in the early 1980's and I can't tell you how IRONIC this story is to me. As probably the most religious Jewish student in the school at the time, (my sister and I were the only ones who demanded and got kosher lunches in the dining hall), I was a repeated target of Anti-Semitism by some non-Jewish students, but mostly from the less religious Jewish kids who treated me as a "threat" to their brown-nosing, assimilationist ways. This was in 5th grade, mind you. There's nothing more nauseating that a 10-year-old kid who already hates himself and has the presence of mind to attack someone else who reminds him of his religious origins. Anywhoo... I AGREE that the Catholic school seems to be doing the right thing. Believe me, the Norfolk Academy administration is probably sneering at this incident and thinking the Bishop Sullivan kids were just "amateurs" when it comes to Jew-hating.

Norfolk Academy has a student body that's about 20% Jewish, and that's been the case since the early 60s. Guess how many Jews have been on the school's board of trustees since then: ANSWER: ONE!

My 5th grade teacher used to read anti-Israel propaganda to the class on a regular basis. She was actually from Manhattan and probably moved to Virginia to get away from the Jews she hated... only to find the local Rabbi's son as a student in her class!

I regularly thank God that I no longer live in Norfolk, VA.

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