Open letter to Franklin School Board, administration

Published 6:47 pm Friday, February 28, 2020

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Members of the Board:

On Jan. 9 at the Tabernacle of Holiness Church in Franklin, a symposium was held on the topic of human trafficking, and an excellent article about it appeared in The Tidewater News the following weekend. I found the information provided in the symposium to be as alarming as it was thoroughly informative.

And as excellent as our reactive capabilities are (such as by way of law enforcement and Social Services), it is crystal clear to me that the most important avenue for our community — any community— to follow in addressing this scourge is to pursue preventive actions. And the most effective preventive measure that a community can take is by way of a proper education of its children.

In my view, our middle school and high school curriculums should include instruction specifically designed to help our youths to understand the insidious nature of human trafficking — and its dreadful consequences.

But I also recommend couching such instruction within a broader framework that will enable our youths to be able to understand, value and recognize what a meaningful, respectful, human relationship looks like; this, to reduce the likelihood of young adults falling prey to — or of perpetrating — selfish, shallow, neglectful, manipulative or abusive relationships, the destructive consequences of which for individuals and for all of society are enormous.

We should hide behind neither the notion that it is solely the parents’ job to properly educate our children in this way nor the assumption that our state and federal governments will surely do all that is needed.

Rather, it is at the community level that we, taking responsibility for our children’s future welfare, will also best set the stage for our community’s own future well-being. Otherwise, to say that “It takes a village to raise a child” is only an empty slogan.

In closing, I will say that the preparation of our youths for healthy, productive human relationships in life must be at least as important as training them to pass government-mandated standardized tests.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


Howie Soucek