Kuehnle Delivers Statement Concerning Presidential Election Result

Principal Jonathan Kuehnle spoke during the Nov. 9 morning announcements to address feelings about the presidential election. Kuehnle delivered a statement comprised primarily of a Nov. 8 blog post written on the Huffington Post by Dr. Ali Michael, though he also included his own message. The statement appears below.

“In the wake of this year’s presidential campaign and yesterday’s election, I struggled to find the right words to share with you. Thanks to one of our parents, I found and was inspired by a blog post by Dr. Ali Michael. Many of her comments are included in my statement to you today.

As a father, a citizen and a professional educator, it is my responsibility to help you understand what has transpired and how we can begin to move forward. As Americans, we will honor our electoral process and our Constitution. We will honor the outcome of the election, but we will continue to fight bigotry, hatred and intolerance with acceptance, kindness and love. Two hundred and forty years ago, when the Framers designed our system of government, they wisely built in processes to limit the power of the President, the Congress and the Supreme Court. Thanks to these checks and balances, we are protected from the excesses or extremes of any one of our three branches of government.

Bigotry, hatred and intolerance are not Democratic values, they are not republican values and they are most certainly not American values, and they will not be tolerated in our school. Acceptance, kindness and love are the values we hold dear. As Gandhi said, we need to be the change we want to see in the world. As your Principal, I am here to tell you that as an educational community, we will stand with our Muslim families, we will stand with our same sex parent families, we will stand with our gay students, we will stand with our black families, our white families and our families of every race, creed, color, religion, ethnicity, nationality and orientation. We will stand with our female students, we will stand with our Mexican families, we will stand with our disabled students, we will stand with our immigrant families, we will stand with our transgender students and we will stand with our Native American students.

Harassment, intimidation and bullying are not tolerated in our school. As your Principal, I will not let anyone hurt you, deport you or threaten you without having to contend with me first. Silence is dangerous; we need to speak up when something is wrong. We will stand united as a school community and we will protect each other. Our faculty and staff will work tirelessly to give you the skills you need to enter a society that does not always know how to do this. This will not be easy. Such work requires persistence and perseverance, but we will be ready. As an International Baccalaureate school, we strive every day to produce students, graduates and citizens who are principled, open-minded and caring.

We will help you learn how to be responsible members of a civic society. We will help you learn how to engage in discussion- not for the sake of winning, but for the sake of understanding and being understood. Responsible citizens need to learn how to check facts, to weigh news sources, to question taken-for-granted assumptions, to see our own biases, to take feedback and to challenge one another. We need to learn how to disagree- with love and respect. These skills will be priceless in the coming months and years as we work to build a democratic society that protects the rights of all people.

Finally, I encourage you to be reflective. Realize that, while we may disagree with each other on various issues, many of us are motivated to do what is best for ourselves, our family and friends, our community and our nation. We need to engage with- and actively listen to- each other. It is only through a climate of mutual respect that we can move forward together. Pay attention, learn all you can, get involved, and we will make a difference. Be safe, be respectful, be responsible and go Shaker!”

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