Editorial: Healing, recovery and moving forward with time


In the wake of the arrest of a longtime Harker teacher for misconduct involving a student, the Harker community is experiencing a complex jumble of emotions — denial, grief, frustration, shock, betrayal. 


You may be feeling the jolt of that initial shock, or a blanketing sadness that dulls your excitement to be back at school. You might feel anger or confusion, or feel isolated and unable to express your feelings.

Or you may feel distanced from these reactions, viewing them as troubling, or interfering with the responsibilities of daily life and the bustle of the back-to-school season.

But all of these feelings are okay. It’s okay to feel like crying, to feel like you’ve lost someone or to feel like you’ve been blindsided. It’s okay to feel confused or disappointed or hurt.

It’s also okay to not feel these strong emotions because you don’t know as much about this incident or aren’t as connected to what’s going on.

They are natural reactions to trauma. To provide support for each other, we need to acknowledge that the range of emotions we’re all feeling is just that: a range.

It’s also a natural reaction to want to know more, and to latch onto any information you can get. But what we know for sure is only in the official words provided by police statements—anything else is rumor or speculation, from which we gain little, but lose a lot more.

Hushed speculation is not the right way to proceed. Probing into the details of who, what, when and where does not respect the privacy of those who have been affected or hurt by the news.

With the entire school community reeling, students, teachers and administrators alike, it is important to keep the people in our community who are impacted by this incident in mind when talking to others. Not only has one of our peers has been deeply affected, but their family and friends are still recovering as well.

Spreading rumors on social media and speculation among peers is insensitive to people in pain and isolating to those who have difficult experiences to share. Discussing and speculating prolongs an event that hurt many and misdirects the spotlight:  Now is a time when we as a community must look to recover.

For all of us, whether we knew this teacher or not, the healthiest way to move towards recovery is to recognize our own feelings while understanding that these sentiments may not be mirrored in those around us.

And just as it’s okay to feel, it’s okay to take time to heal. Take a moment to step back from your life and responsibilities and obligations and give yourself some breathing room. Don’t be afraid to reach out to trusted friends, family and adults on campus, from administrators to counselors to advisers, for help. In return, be receptive towards those who look towards you for support.

Remember that when you need someone to pull you up, our community stands by your side.

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on Aug. 31, 2018.