I want to share with you something I said to the student body in a Morning Meeting last week. By way of background, St. Francis played Whitefield Academy in basketball a week ago Tuesday. Many students, led by our QSA and our girls’ basketball team, had strong feelings about Whitefield’s recent expulsion of a student (reported in the news) related to the student’s sexuality. The girls’ basketball team wrote a clear and respectful letter – with the support of the SFS administration – to the Whitefield Head of School, explaining that given the recent circumstances, some of them felt unwelcome stepping onto Whitefield’s court. The Head of Whitefield responded with a cordial acknowledgement of the letter. Some of our student body wanted to attend the game at Whitefield to support our team. Around 30 students (and a number of parents) came to the game, most wearing rainbow shirts or accessories, and cheered their hearts out for the girls on the floor. (And it was an epic game: our big halftime lead dwindled down the stretch as fouls piled up. We finished the game with three players on the floor and a one-point victory achieved by two free throws with just seconds left.)
The next day in Morning Meeting, after congratulating the players on their victory, I told the other students who attended the game how incredibly proud of them I was. Often in today’s world, intolerance is met with intolerance, maybe because it makes us feel good, feel righteous. But the opposite of intolerance, especially in this situation, is love. And that is exactly what the SFS students showed. They showed up with and demonstrated love for their classmates playing and for their school. There are other routes our students could have chosen: for instance, to refuse to play or to protest during the game. But instead, by showing up for love rather than hate, the students’ statement was so much stronger.