Leonard C. Burrello
Executive Director
Dena Cushenberry
​Social Media Manager
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The other week, we talked about being the weavers—rather than the rippers—of our national social fabric. In keeping with that theme, we might find wisdom in the words of Ed Schultz, an old friend of Leonard’s from his time in grad school who has had a long career working with students suffering through severe emotional issues and illnesses. In his opinion, there are, at the very core, only two rules that schools really need to enforce:  

Rule #1: You cannot hurt yourself
Rule #2: You cannot hurt other people (or, of course, animals)
Echoing, in many ways, Ed’s sentiments, a 2017 piece in The New York Times offers a series of truths, so to speak, about children and about how they think and feel and are. We’ve reprinted this material below; take a look for yourself.
The truth is kids want to be part of the conversation.
The truth is kids are more curious than many adults.
The truth is kids know that lies are bad.
The truth is kids think cash is still cool.
The truth is kids don’t let differences divide them.
The truth is kids learn something new every day.
The truth is kids are smarter than you think.
The truth is kids can turn anyplace into a playground.
The truth is kids can make a difference right now.
The truth is kids feel things as deeply as adults do.
The truth is kids don’t need candy to feel better.
The truth is kids will inherit the earth.
The truth is kids have big dreams.
The truth is kids want to discover the world.
The truth is kids expect honesty.
The truth is kids think the simple stuff is funny.
The truth is kids bring people together.
The truth is kids appreciate a good story.
The truth is kids can handle the truth.
This brief piece might, in turn, help to form a foundation for educators’ attitudes towards children, their feelings, their developing values, and their senses of how to socialize with others—and some of these truths might thus function as rules in and of themselves. “The truth is kids know that lies are bad,” for example, could well be translated to the commonplace classroom rule that students are not to lie to one another—or to the teacher.
Really, though, what these truths do is reinforce Ed’s basic argument that, at heart, there are very few fundamental rules that need to be enforced in order to encourage children to be involved and ambitious and kind to one another.
But, as always, let’s converse in the comments below! Do you think that Ed is right about there being so few truly necessary school rules? Are we missing something here, and, if so, what is it? Do you get a different reading from the material from The New York Times?