Walling Off or Welcoming In: From Justice in Schools
Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education’s Justice in Schools Project is working to “help educators develop an ‘ethical repertoire’ that helps them identify and respond to dilemmas of justice, just as they have a pedagogical repertoire that helps them respond to instructional challenges.” The project is led by Meira Levinson and Jacob Fey, Dr. Levison is a Professor of Education at Harvard who began her educational career as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, Mr. Fay is a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education focusing on the history and philosophy of education. Together they have developed a series of case studies designed to encourage ethical reflection on the difficult choices educators face each day. While we encourage you to explore their wide-collection of resources. We are sharing two of their cases that specifically focus on issues related to immigration.
Walling Off or Welcoming In? Challenge of Creating Inclusive Spaces in Diverse Contexts written by Sara Calleja and Toni Kokenis explores the impact of political rhetoric and policy discussions during the 2016 election on a school. The authors explain:
The case, “Walling Off or Welcoming In? The Challenge of Creating Inclusive Spaces in Diverse Contexts,” describes a School Culture Committee (SCC) at the Jersey City K-8 school. Educators and parents on the committee wrestle with a series of events that challenged their ability to maintain inclusive learning environments that are welcoming to all students. The SCC must determine where and how to draw boundaries between free political speech and offensive or harmful speech that qualifies as bullying or harassment.
This case is designed to help teachers, school and district leaders, parents, teacher educators, and middle and high school students have nuanced conversations about the challenges posed by divisive political rhetoric for school classrooms and communities. The case raises important pedagogical, ethical, democratic, legal, and political considerations, and invites readers to reflect on them both on their own and in dialogue with others.
We encourage educators to use the case in teams, either within or across school communities to explore the issues embedded in the text and consider how it might connect to their practice. To guide that discussion, the authors have developed a study guide.