Blog - Barbara Teicher - It's HOW You Say It

Plano Senior High School – Inclusive or Reinforcing Mediocrity?

When we are young, we are challenged to study hard and get good grades in order to open opportunities for us to succeed in our adult lives.  Although I work in effective communication and leadership, I believe talk is cheap at one high school in Plano, Texas.

Plano Senior High School told their graduating seniors they were not allowed to wear the National Honor Society stoles at graduation they worked so hard to earn.  Why?  According to a Fox News article, “Students at a Texas high school who earned the right to wear National Honor Society stoles at graduation were reportedly informed by the school that they will not be allowed to wear them BECAUSE IT IS NOT INCLUSIVE OF ALL STUDENTS.”   When I mentioned this to several colleagues, they asked if the school might cancel graduation because it wasn’t inclusive of kids who dropped out. Point made.

The school claimed it was because of tradition.  Why would you start a tradition that devalues hard work and achievement?  Isn’t that what we challenge students to do? This would allow these National Honor Society recipients a one-day celebration of their accomplishment.  Would Plano Senior High School think of not allowing varsity athletes to achieve their letters because students without athletic abilities, or who couldn’t make the team, may not feel included? I think not.  Plano, Texas is nationally recognized because of the value placed on athletics. These jackets could be worn every day of the school year.  A constant reminder to those not included.

According to the National Association for Gifted Children, the federal government does not provide funding directly to local school districts for programs and services for gifted and talented students. According to the website Sports Day, by The Dallas Morning News, way back in November of 2011, the average expenses for football per school per year in the Dallas area were $229,376.76. Plano ISD spent the most, $442,377.68 per school What percentage of the National Honor Society students go on to college, graduate and in to professional positions and what percentage of high school athletes have a career in the NFL or professional athletics of any kind?

I believe it is time for Plano Senior High school to allow the NHS students to proudly wear their stoles. Show value and support for their student’s nationally recognized academic achievement. Support the future scientists, geneticists, doctors and whatever profession their hard work and intellect leads them to, to reinforce that hard work DOES matter, achievement IS important and academic excellence is something to strive for and be proud of.

BE the difference. It’s not just what you say, “It’s HOW You Say It”®


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