Forgive me, comrades, for I have sinned
A reader sent along this article in Greenwich Patch written by an apologist for this “Names Hurt” day at GHS. The comments are more enlightening than the article itself, and it’s interesting that, while educators involved in the program post their own comments defending the wasted day, not a single one of them will answer readers’ repeated inquiries about what the program costs. Perhaps our BOA would like to share that information with us.
Here’s a description of what goes on, courtesy of “reporter” ( and public relations specialist) Leslie Yager:
The themes of Names Day are bullying and empathy, but the framework for discussion is broken down into “targets, allies, bystanders and perpetrators.”
The morning session is led by upperclassmen who relay their personal stories to an auditorium brimming with curious, but sometimes-suspicious freshmen. In fact, a handful of freshmen opt out because it is not unreasonable to anticipate that no one would brave the open microphones. Yet, “after the first three, a line forms,” said junior Henry Snyder.
According to junior Kate Webster, “The first few people were slow to come up to the microphone. After that, there were so many in line, there wasn’t time for everyone to speak.”
Some of those moved to speak share the pain of having been bullied (targets). Others apologize publicly for having been bullies (perpetrators). By the end of the session, some of the perpetrators confess to having been bullied themselves. Others share their epiphany after realizing that playing the role of bystander can have as dangerous a consequence as being a perpetrator.
“When someone got up and talked about an insecurity of what they’re being made fun of, people shouted out from the audience, “You’re beautiful!’” reported junior Annie Riley.
“Afterward,” said sophomore Alleyha Dannett, “There were so many hugs and tears.”
“Yes,” said junior Angelica Simionatto. “Afterward one girl hugged me so tight and she had tears in her eyes and said, ‘Now I’m not going to stand around when I see someone alone.’”
Snyder nodded knowingly. “At lunch today, you walked around seeing people you’d never expect to be friends sitting together. People were pushing tables together so that no one had to sit alone. It made me feel really good because it means we succeeded.”
After the morning of speeches and the open microphones, students and staff broke into discussion groups. Marji Lipshez-Shapiro, who founded the Names Day program many years ago, reflected on the morning with Bill Foster and Sandra Vonniessen-Applebee, also from the Anti Defamation League (ADL) and a group of students upstairs in the GHS media center.
Our students’ teachers seem to have adopted this concept of group confession from their collectivist allies. From “The Great Soviet Encyclopedia”:
Criticism and Self-Criticism
a method of exposing the contradictions of social development; an indispensable aspect of material and intellectual activity; one of the fundamental principles of the revolutionary transforming activity of Marxist-Leninist political parties and, in socialist society, of the entire people; one of the moving forces of development in socialist society; and a principle of the moral upbringing, self-education, and spiritual development of people. The essence of criticism and self-criticism consists in the recognition and exposure, in one form or another, of the contradictions, errors, or shortcomings that arise for objective or subjective reasons in the course of social practice, in order to overcome them.
The art of self-criticism will be an important one in the new world order, and the lucky members of the Greenwich High School band will have an opportunity to practice that skill during their upcoming trip to Cuba, sponsored and endorsed by our Board of Education. Remember when it was the responsibility of parents and spiritual leaders to instruct children on the Golden Rule, and kindness and respect towards others? Fortunately, we have the state to do that for us now.