The conflict in our community with regard to the school has pushed me to reflect on the many conflicts that have threatened to divide our community in the 30 years I have lived here.
This current situation is unique to all involved. The pain is real, deep and for some, may be life-changing.
It should not be minimized, and for this I want to credit our current school board.
I have been intimately involved in the school for most of my years here and I have watched school administrations and school boards grapple with problems inherent in the enormous task of providing public education.
I came away from the Sept. 25 meeting feeling awe and gratitude for the thoughtful skill offered by the school board. Each and every person attending was encouraged to share their experience and viewpoint no matter how painful and raw.
The school board listened intently with purpose and respect. They did not attempt to explain decisions, clear up misconceptions or defend the process they are bound by law to follow. They simply, generously listened.
We have had deeply divisive conflicts in our school and never once has a school board offered this kind of reflective, respectful forum for airing concerns.
This is the beginning of a process that may continue to take us to places we would rather not go. It may continue to urge us to listen to each other’s pain and trauma.
It is my hope that we will take the opportunity to rise to a higher level as citizens and neighbors as we listen and learn from each other.
I know I am not alone in being the recipient of awe inspiring love and support from this community when I have needed it most. This is how we live here and we can continue to care for each other even when we are in conflict. In spite of the deep hurt that our community is experiencing this may be an opportunity for our children to learn a more valuable lesson than they will glean in a classroom. Thank you Lopez Island school board for modeling this lesson.