Students Consider the Quaker Testimony on Equality

Meeting for Worship for Business

Westtown Lower School Query on Equality

March 3, 2016

Lower School students, faculty and friends entered the Meeting House to peaceful piano music and, after the Meeting had settled into silence, 5th grader Santiago read for our consideration, the Lower School Query on equality. Students in Lower School shared many of their thoughts  in classroom meetings, their journals, as well as today at Meeting for Worship.

Students from all grades in Lower School appreciate having friends with different interests, personalities, religions and cultural backgrounds. As one student said, “ If everyone we knew was the same, that would be boring!” Another student said “It helps to move out of my comfort zone and explore new religions and races.” Knowing a lot of different types of people means that you can have more friends and learn new things. As one teacher shared, “Every human being has an inner light and love to share, so we should take the time to get to know each other.”

Westtown Lower School students feel strongly about standing up for a friend who is being teased or left out. They will take positive action, and stand up for them, making them feel comfortable and safe. It is not right to judge people by the way they look. One student shared, “ We should pay attention to how they act and if they are kind.”

When asked, “Are you willing to risk including someone new or different in your group at school or at home?” the clear and strong response from LS students was YES!  As one student said, “Then they get to have a new friend, and so do you. That person might end up being your best friend for life!” Westtown Lower School students know how to make someone new feel welcome. It is a strength of our community. Some students remember what it was like to excluded at a different school, and they want to make sure that doesn’t happen anyone else. One student reflected, “Instead of thinking of it as a risk, I think of it as an adventure..”

At Westtown, we include each other so we all feel valued and accepted. One student shared, “ A simple act, like handing someone a tissue, says I care.”  We all have something we want to offer the world. Another student shared, “Everyone can think from their own perspective and share ideas.”  A teacher reflected, “It is not that we want to be the same, it’s that we want to value each other and our differences.” Another teacher asked the question, “ What would the world be like if everyday people around the world approached each other, acknowledging that they are different, but eager to learn from each other?”

Towards the end of the Meeting, a returning Friend, shared her memory of being at Westtown, 15 years ago, and how the community welcomed her. She thanked Lower School students and teachers for their messages and encouraged us to continue the important work of making people feel welcome.  

Respectfully Submitted,

Teacher Hilary

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