Healing Our Model Home – Editorial, Issue 5 – Volume CXII


It is 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7 and I am heartbroken. Maybe even more than that, I am angry.

The current misuse of language and messaging being perpetuated in the media by the right wing conservative group targeting our school is dangerous. It is unacceptable. Through the unsolicited filming and editing of a conversation with a beloved member of the Parker faculty, the group has effectively rallied numbers around and against our school’s core values and mission. Our school has long made a commitment to act with courage and inclusivity. This mission is central to “The Parker Weekly.” This includes all of us on the Weekly’s staff. This includes all of you.

At 7:33 p.m. I was made aware that an article published by “the Weekly” had been tagged in a tweet aiming to attack said member of our faculty. In an article published in April 2020 which highlighted this faculty member’s smooth transition to a higher role in the walls of our school and a gleaming reputation among the student body, quotes were stripped of their context and framed to spark disruption.

Disruptive to “the Weekly” this was. An accurate depiction of the article it was not.

Around 8:30 p.m. this same article was labeled as a “propaganda piece” devised to “make excuses/rationalizing for hiring” the faculty member. Through the engagement of a loyal mass following of the right wing conservative group on social media, “the Parker Weekly” was labeled as a publication that produces pieces of “propaganda.” This is the same “Parker Weekly” that reports on your sports seasons, MX speakers, and club initiatives – reporting we take with great pride. This is what the power of a twisted media presence looks like.

As a result of being linked to hateful Twitter threads and conversations, we have made the choice to set “the Weekly” website to private for the time being. A disheartening decision, given the immense effort put in, in 2020, to allow our website the freedom of its own public space online.

“The Parker Weekly” stands firmly with our faculty. I, for one, am grateful to go to a school with such an inclusive education system in place. A system that affirms each and everyone of our students.

This sentiment was deeply attested to in a conversation held with the seniors on the morning of Thursday, December 8. After the situation was debriefed in front of the entire Upper School, the senior class was given the opportunity to stay back. In this moment, my grade shared a moment of vulnerability that was palpable. We shed tears, shared stories, asked questions, and even laughed together alongside faculty members. We felt supported. Many noted that they felt safe.

Without the comprehensive education Parker has provided me, I would not be the curious and thoughtful learner I am today. Without the comprehensive education that Parker has provided all of us at this school, my grade might not have felt as assured to be vulnerable as we gathered in the auditorium.

It is my hope that in these coming days, the work done at the 2022 National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in San Antonio will not be overlooked. This event, which was attended by our peers and faculty, was an overwhelmingly positive experience for many. This conference gave students a chance to connect and nourish community within new groups — communities found outside of ours in Chicago. If you have not already, I urge you all to take the time to acknowledge such advancement in progress in Samantha Graines’s piece: “Finding and Fostering Community,” which touches on the joyous details and learning moments shared on the trip.

“The Parker Weekly” condemns the hate that has intruded itself within our community this past week. We offer unconditional support towards all members of the LGTBQ+ community who have been hurt by this experience and all those hurt otherwise. We refuse to allow a misconstrued and harmful narrative find itself a permanent home within our walls of 330 W Webster.

As a wise person once told me, “What other people have to say about you is none of your business.” It is my genuine hope that in the days ahead these words will provide us all a sense of comfort. What an ill-intentioned group has to say about our school — our community — is surely not any of our business.