Principal, R.J. Hawkey – Last week I received an email from a mother inquiring into a program at our school. She asked a series of questions, most of which were very typical. One question stood apart from the rest and caused me to think deeply. She asked “Will my son be celebrated as a male, or is everyone gender neutral?”. Wow!
I have been an educator for a very long time and can’t remember a single instance of celebrating a child for their “boyness”, or “girlness” for that matter. Most formal celebrations celebrate achievement; academic, athletic, artistic, or social. Special days also come to mind when I think of celebrating. Informal celebrations are a regular occurrence in an elementary school; high 5’s, hugs, fist pumps, and thumbs up. Yet, I don’t recall doing anything special specifically focused on gender.
I truly believe that each learner in our school is unique and special. At R.J. Hawkey we strive for “Safe, Caring, Connected Learning; Success for All”. I take this seriously, working hard each day to create a school where each learner feels valued and safe to be themself. Each learner should know he/she is cared for, connected to others within our school, community, city and world. We meet our learners where they are in their learning journey, help them to learn more about themself as a learner and achieve success. Does it matter if they are a boy or a girl, man or woman? I’m not sure.
Over the span of my career I can’t recall a student or colleague who identified as gender neutral. I do know, that if and when I do, I will want the same things for the student as I do for everyone else. Like everyone else, I am sure that the student will have lots of achievements to celebrate.