Eliza Byard on Proactively Cultivating Respect for Differences
Eliza Byard is the Executive Director of GLSEN.
"In this situation, we’re looking back on something that escalated to a horrifying degree for these young women for the community as a whole. And for me, it really underscores how proactively a school has to address issues of community dynamics respect for difference and relationship building as part of a learning culture that enables academic learning to take place alongside the moral development that is so much of the work of growing up and so much of what schools need to facilitate in order to prepare students for success in life. So, it’s important not to wait [laughs] – don’t wait until there is a case study in front of you, to begin working with students on these skills. There are such bedrock issues of empathy, of problem solving, of being able to have uncomfortable conversations that are life skills – I mean, this is vocational education for life that needs to be an element of what every student learns. And they should be understood as part of a student’s essential tool kit from day one."