Can “Loving Thy Neighbor” Heal Divisions in Our Schools?

Discrimination Divides

Black, white, Christian, atheist, liberal, conservative, male, female, gay, straight, young, old, able, challenged, rich, poor...different. The list is endless.

Whatever forms of bias your school community might suffer from, it often degenerates into stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. If you are lucky, it may manifest merely as an awkward, self-conscious reaction due to a lack of sureness about what to say or do around those who are different. If not so lucky, it may lead to levels of intolerance that result in emotional and physical bullying, disciplinary turmoil, truancy, health crises, and even self-harm or suicide.

Is it possible to reach across that which divides us? To accept our differences? To put our shared humanity first? The Edge knows it is indeed possible. We have seen it happen time and time again. Let us help you create these conditions in your school.

As Educators, You Have a Problem

Your task today is to manage a school community made up of members from a variety of often differing backgrounds. They may or may not like each other. They may or may not have the skills necessary to contribute to a school community based on harmonious and supportive interpersonal relationships. The result is that student-teacher relations, and student-student relations may be less than ideal, maybe even unfriendly or antagonistic.

How is the situation for you in your school? Are you satisfied with the typical interpersonal relationships you encounter there? If not, can something be done?

The Edge Understands How Hard It Is

Educating our youth can be a thankless job. If you succeed, no one notices that the fair-minded policies you have implemented on campus are fostering a healthier emotional dynamic in your school. Then, when something goes wrong, you're suddenly under the microscope. Some parents and other community members may begin pointing fingers, claiming that a student or group of students aren't being treated fairly; that they are being singled out.

But in a school atmosphere of connection, empathy and understanding—where educators and students have taken the time to learn about one another, to listen to and know one another—inevitable disagreements and problems do not become full-blown crises. Your job becomes easier and relationships within the larger community are easier to maintain.

We Can Fix This Together

Nothing dissolves discrimination and prejudice like understanding and empathy. We believe that every group member has something to offer his or her community. Though we do not give preference to any one group over another (our program does not include religious content), we do honor the verse in the Bible that urges us all to, “Love thy neighbor.” Everyone responds to care and kindness—to love.

Many of us—adults as well as students—may have never experienced being part of a connected school community. One that is accepting. One that gives and receives mutual support. One that all members can thrive in.

The Edge, however, has brought exactly these conditions to school communities throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California for the past seven years. We have seen a light turn on in the eyes of countless students and educators that wasn't there before. We have seen school communities change dramatically for the better after a series of workshops given to the student body as a whole and as many of the educators as possible.

Your school community too deserves the healing interpersonal relationships that The Edge can help you, your students, and your colleagues create. Is this all too good to be true? See what students and educators have to say about The Edge and then decide for yourself.

We Help Schools Overcome...

Please allow us to join with you. Let us help to make things easier for you, for the kids, for all of us. Call, text, or e-mail us today to discuss hosting a free Edge workshop at your school.
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