Jax Schools Respond (Or Not) to Capitol Insurrection

In response to January 6th insurrection, few Jacksonville schools released official statements.

Bolles did not release a statement, but neither Episcopal. “As an Episcopal student, we did not receive any email or commentary from the school about the attack on the Capitol,” Maddy Carroll (‘22) said.

Mike Drew emailed faculty and staff, calling for unity within the Bolles community, along with some supplemental materials to help teachers lead and guide classroom discussions. Mr. Hodges released a statement about how screenings of Biden’s Jan. 20th inauguration were to be conducted respectfully.

However, other high schools across the country released statements more publicly. For example, Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Delaware called for their community, including alumni, to “recommit to unity.” The principal of Tower Hill, Elizabeth Speers, invoked Jacksonville-born author, James Weldon Johnson’s world renowned hymn, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” at the beginning of her letter.

Although Bolles did not publicly respond, many teachers used the resources in Mr. Drew’s email to give students time to discuss events at the Capitol, for example, AP Language teacher Mrs. Clubb and US History teacher Mrs. Gomez.

According to a Los Angeles Times article, civics and US history teachers across the country used the insurrection as a teachable moment. “I can’t, in good faith, teach government and not teach this,” said Brianna Davis, a history and government teacher at Rancho Campana High School in Camarillo, California.

Neither Duval County School’s website had anything regarding the attack, nor did public schools, including Paxon, Stanton, Fletcher, and Wolfson.

Students speculated Duval schools have not released a statement because of politicization. “Since the attack has become political, it might have been smart for Wolfson to not make any public statements because as a countywide policy, the schools aren’t really allowed to push political views,” said Cecelia Bailey (‘22) of Wolfson.

While Stanton admin did not issue an official response to the violence, Stanton’s student paper, The Devil’s Advocate released an opinion piece called “How Did We Get Here?” by Fabrizio Gowdy, in which Gowdy wrote about root causes of insurrection.

Neither JU nor UNF officially stated anything.

According to the National Association of Independent Schools, which Bolles is a member of, the first thing schools should do after a traumatic event, is help process the event, stating “Schools may find themselves serving as a hub for the community’s recovery efforts.”

In the words of Julia DeBardelaben, Paxon (‘22) “I think we could have maybe talked about it a bit more in class because it was definitely a historical moment.”

Following the withdrawl of Pollyanna, Bolles students, parents, and alum voiced their thoughts on social media.

“It’s a private school. It can do what it wants.”
– Bolles parent

“You’re silencing people trying to start a conversation towards change.”
– Class of ‘21

“So when those Alumni letters come asking for donations, can I just send them a hundred copies of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me?”
– Bolles Alum

“I made my thoughts known to them on Wednesday, noting that the strategy of wading in and out of important issues speaks volumes about the values of ‘courage, integrity and compassion’…”
– Bolles Parent

“Disappointed, but not surprised. @bollesschool do better.”
– Class of ‘20

“It’s absolutely disgraceful to see my high school halt progress and become stuck in time. People’s rights are not a game.”
-Class of ‘19