Head’s Lines: Responding To The Events in Washington, D.C.

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On the evening of January 6, following the unrest in Washington, D.C., Scott Young sent the following message to the Park community:

In the fall leading up to the election, I reminded our community that central to our mission is an appreciation of similarities and differences of perspective and the interdependence of all people.

I reflected on the fact that no matter what our individual differences, whatever differences we encounter in our communities beyond Park, our community values depend on living the mission and on the quality of critical thinking and empathy it calls for.

The values on display in today’s events in Washington, D.C., are diametrically opposed to everything we stand for at Park. The peaceful transition of power, which our nation has successfully enacted over the course of two centuries, is one of the most beautiful aspects of our democracy. It is one of the finest manifestations of our interdependence as a people, and of the mutual respect we accord each other across differences of perspective. We do not support nor condone the violence and lawlessness we saw today. What we have seen in our Nation’s Capitol is wrong.

We expect that many children will be confused and disturbed by what they have seen and heard today. As Dr. Moorehead-Slaughter reminds us, it’s best if we talk to children honestly, but with honesty “right-sized” to what they can process and understand. We seek to encourage our students to grow as thoughtful, contributing citizens, and today’s lessons model how damaging the lack of that civic commitment can be. As parents and as educators, it’s essential that we help our children and students know that better instincts can and, ultimately, will succeed. We all have a stake in this.

These are unsettling times, and we are here to help take care of your children. We will be watching and monitoring, and making space for age-appropriate conversations. The Park Portrait, which challenges us to join in leadership, compassion, creative problem solving, and advocacy for what’s right, provides a valuable framework with which to guide students forward in these difficult times.

Today should have been a day to celebrate the wonders of our democracy, and it provides an important reminder of our collective responsibility to support that gift.

Please reach out to me, to members of our support team, or to your children’s teachers with any concerns, and know that we will be here tomorrow to welcome you and your children back to Park and to engage in our shared mission.

Scott became Park's 14th Head of School on July 1, 2018, bringing two decades of exceptional achievement to Park as a strategic, compassionate, and effective leader at three nationally recognized independent schools. Prior to joining The Park School community, Scott spent seven years at Marin Academy in San Rafael, CA where he served in the roles of Dean of Faculty and Academic Dean. He lives on campus with his wife Katie, their son Peter, and their daughter Caroline.