The following guest column by Dr. Mark S. Pritchett, President/CEO of Gulf Coast, appeared in the August 18 edition of SRQ Daily:
These days, we hear frequent pleas for a “return to civility.” Amid 24/7 hyperpartisan politics, trending extremism, and online echo chambers, we seem to have lost the ability to communicate with others who don’t hold our same viewpoint—to disagree without being disagreeable. Just about any issue can quickly morph into a “life or death” debate.
While we can pine for simpler times, we must remember that our children are in their formative years. Our current moment, with its cyber-bullies, Twitter trolls and “fake news,” is their ground zero for developing the values and behaviors that will shape their civic lives. There seem to be fewer role models in whom our kids can see the positive results of bipartisanship and compromise. That’s why I’m so excited about the comprehensive commitment to civility that the Sarasota County school district announced last week.
Sarasota County Schools declared that civility is the gold standard for communicating across the entire school community, now and into the future. From teachers and students in the classroom, to staff members in transportation and food services, to administrators at The Landings, everyone will be given the tools and inspiration to put positivity first.