Following is a beautiful message from the principal of the Garden City Middle School for the start of the 2012-13 school year:
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening
ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential
to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia
Dear members of the Garden City Middle School family,
In the Middle School, on the first day of school we have always hold grade assemblies
with the children to review with them our general behavioral and scholastic expectations.
This year, the State has passed legislation requiring schools to review the schoolâ€™s
discipline code in child-friendly language so that the students may better understand our
expectations. Thankfully, for our children, this is not a particularly challenging task.
For most of us, what we expect of each other we have learned in our homes, in our houses
of worship, in our community and in our earlier school grades â€“ that is, The Golden
Rule: to treat others as we wish to be treated. It is such a simple, ancient, yet, still,
revolutionary preceptâ€¦to be kind to each other regardless of our differences. And, we
rightfully have high expectations in Garden City – For whom much has been given, much is
Most importantly, we, the adults, need to model these expectations for the children. Far
too often, we are the ones who fall short. Children are not mean. They learn how to be
mean. Still, sweetness needs to be nurtured to further grow. We need to ensure that
hateful words are not uttered in our homes or in our schools. Educators must ensure that
bullying never occurs among adults or among our children. We need to model kindness,
tolerance and acceptance. We all share the same hard road as the ancient Greek
philosopher Philo recognized with his words, â€œBe kind, for everyone you meet is
fighting a hard battle.â€ We also share that hard battle with you.
We strive to teach the children to never stand by when they witness bullying or hurtful
behaviors. It is so easy to join with the crowd or ignore injustice. However, we want
our children to grow into adults with integrity and moral uprightness. We want our
children to have the strength to be â€œup-standersâ€ never bystanders when faced with a
hard ethical choice â€“ although we know deep down that this path may be hard at times.
Doing the right thing is hardly ever the easy thing to do. Are we ever more proud of our
children as when they demonstrate kindness, integrity, and high moral and ethical
character? Are we ever more embarrassed as when they lie or are cruel to someone weaker?
The power to make such a difference is within each of us.
Accordingly, please know that the adults in our school will strive to be kind to the
children you have placed in our care – To nurture the kindness within. We will treat them
as we would wish others would treat our own children here in school. We will strive to
teach them our communityâ€™s highest values. We will try to model the best behavior.
Therefore, when the children come home from school on that first day, you may have a
topic to discuss at your dinner table that evening as well.
With warmest wishes for the start of the new school year,
Peter Osroff, Ed.D.