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Dealing With Differences (mascot)  andre cramblit
 Jun 21, 2008 11:12 PDT 

From the start, I've felt the debate over
Natick High's nickname presented our community with opportunities. We've
struggled over this issue, to be sure, and it hasn't all been pretty to
watch. While debating this issue, some have felt disrespected, others
not listened to, still others intimidated, afraid to say what they
really think. Clearly, we must work to change these things. At the same
time, struggling over the school nickname has, if more subtly, revealed
many of Natick's strengths.

Underneath the hardness, I've seen revealed values shared by many of us
-- from both sides of the debate. These include what many of us
increasingly feel is an urgent need to learn fully and well Natick's
history, in all its complexity. Only by doing this can we honor aspects
of the past that deserve it, while understanding episodes we don't wish
to repeat and that don't reflect how we want to treat each other today.

Many of us have come to appreciate anew the importance of dealing with
our differences openly, through discussion, while respecting those with
whom we disagree. I hope, too, that we've developed a deeper
appreciation for an education that opens us to others, understanding our
collective fates are inextricably intertwined.

Finally, I've seen how many of us in town, on both sides of this issue,
believe it imperative to stand against hateful or intimidating speech
wherever it's found " on blogs, in the paper, or in the corridors
of our schools.

I'm grateful to live in Natick, especially when I consider that many of
us, despite our differences on the Redmen issue, share these values and

Our town will inevitably face other challenges, some of them,
unfortunately, as divisive as this one has been. After the School
Committee makes its decision tonight, I hope that we can, as a
community, face them together.

Dennis Barr
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