Statement by NYS TESOL President, Executive Board and Vice President of Advocacy of NYS TESOL
on the Act of Terror in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.



June 17, 2016

NYS TESOL, as a professional educational organization, committed to diversity, supports the rights of all people to live a life free of discrimination, violence or the threat of violence, regardless of gender, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, or sexual orientation. We believe dialogue is a key defense against violence regardless of motive.

On behalf of NYS TESOL’s membership and constituents, we unequivocally condemn and repudiate the mass act of terror committed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on the night of June 11, 2016.  We believe this act, disproportionately affecting a sector of our society, threatens the rights and liberties of all.  We also acknowledge that many other attacks of this kind, both here and abroad, have caused great suffering, and extend our condolences and solidarity to all those affected.  In honor of the lives lost, and of the survivors, we focus on how educators can counteract damage to democratic rights wrought by acts of terror. 

Educators are in a unique position to use their personal, collective, community, state, and nation-wide voice.  NYS TESOL calls for a defense of the freedom of speech, assembly, and support of civil discourse.  We live in a time of a deepening political chasm between fellow citizens, despite many common interests.  We call on educators to oppose the stifling of political discourse because it prevents free exchange of ideas, and oppose violence against those assembled, seeking to listen to the views expressed.  This is especially incumbent upon us when violence, intimidation, or intolerant acts are used in educational settings to shut down debate, and narrow opportunities for free assembly, due to the threat to safety and order.  Lastly, the spirit of openness in the teaching tradition guides us to discuss divisions in a candid and civil manner.  In this way, we demonstrate to our students and others, how adherence to democratic principles helps overcome differences, strengthens solidarity and unites a society rather than to divide it.

About NYS TESOL

Our Vision

NYS TESOL advocates, advances, and enriches TESOL education and professionalism statewide.

Our Mission

NYS TESOL is an association of professionals concerned with the education of English language learners at all levels of public and private education in New York State. Our interests include classroom practices, research, program and curriculum development, employment, funding, and legislation.

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