Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
68° Rockville, MD
The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Microaggression presentations put on pause after sophomore behavior

School+artwork+reflects+values+of+Diversity%2C+Equity%2C+Inclusion+and+Justice+%28DEIJ%29.+
Kaylah Goldrich
School artwork reflects values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ).

On Sept. 18, the school hosted a speaker who talked about microaggressions with the freshman and sophomore classes and expected to return the following day to speak to the rest of the high school. This was not the case, however, as the second set of presentations was postponed due to inappropriate behavior in the sophomore class meeting.

The speaker was from Molina Consulting, a diversity consulting group within the area that has previously worked with other Jewish schools. The goal of the program was to educate students on microaggressions and implicit bias, according to High School Principal and Head of Upper School Campus Dr. Lisa Vardi.

“Last year on our campus, both in classrooms, hallways and some public spaces, there were interactions between students where language was used that was inappropriate, sometimes even hateful…and we felt like we needed to do some education,” Vardi said.

The speaker first worked with the freshman class, and the program went smoothly according to Vardi. Issues arose with the sophomore class when Vardi said students asked inappropriate and disrespectful questions.

“The goal is to educate our students around the impact their words have on others, not their intention,” Vardi said.

Sophomore Lilah Waldman thinks that there may have been a misunderstanding between the students and the speaker.

“A lot of questions people asked, people didn’t have bad intentions with, and I think instead of saying that was a bad thing to say, the speaker should have explained why it was a bad thing to say,” Waldman said.

Waldman also believes the speaker’s lesson was unclear, and found it difficult to understand how it impacted her personally. However, High School DEIJ Coordinator Debra Dilworth thinks that microaggressions are very prevalent in everyday life.

“Microaggressions occur every day whether we like the word or not,” Dilworth said.

The administration intends to bring the speaker back when the community is ready, Vardi said. She, along with Dilworth, believe that it is an extremely important topic for the community to continue to be educated on.

“We pick on each other all the time and we say mean things to each other and those things have to be addressed. It’s just the way they are addressed and how they are received,” Dilworth said.

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About the Contributors
Gigi Gordon
Gigi Gordon, In-Depth Editor
Gigi is excited to continue her time on The Lion’s Tale as In-Depth Editor. She is committed to sharing new and exciting articles and information with the community. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Gigi is the president of Green Team, a three-varsity sports athlete, founder of the NCJW club, and editor-in-chief of the Bohr Franklin Science Journal. She cannot wait for another great year on staff and to see everything the paper will achieve.
Kaylah Goldrich
Kaylah Goldrich, Editor-in-Chief
Kaylah Goldrich is so excited to continue her work on Lion’s Tale as Editor-in-Chief after previously serving as the Sports Editor. She enjoys writing and editing articles and loves designing spreads for the monthly print edition. Outside of the newspaper, Kaylah is a proud co-captain of the debate team and a player on the varsity soccer and softball teams. She spends her free time being a diehard Yankees fan and can always be found watching a sports game. Kaylah is very excited to take on this new role and cannot wait to work with the new editors and reporters.

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    JDS ParentDec 10, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    As a school parent, I read this and was left with more questions than answers, as the article gives vague descriptions and few or no specifics. I would like to hear more details about what transpired at the event, why the speaker was brought in in the first place, and more specifics about the comments and questions that some felt were inappropriate and others no doubt felt were asked in good faith.

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