This story was originally published by The Denton-Record Chronicle, and can be found here.

In the most recent national, state and even local elections, efforts to generate votes for a candidate or support for a political party have not completely focused on issues. The narrative has instead revolved around personalities or comments about the other candidate or his/her political affiliation.

In today’s political climate, what do the children of our community learn from our actions?

A teacher reminded me recently, “Every day I teach kids that being unique is a great thing. I teach students that differences make the world a better place. I teach children to listen to one another and help each other, but there is so much in our world right now that is showing our kids the exact opposite.”

Our community has an opportunity to participate in the midterm, statewide and local elections this month. Not only do I believe those of voting age have an opportunity to weigh in and an obligation to do so, we also have a responsibility to model civility and collaboration for our children.

If we want our children to participate in the election process, we must work to make it a positive experience. And we must remind them that being part of an election is a process, not just voting on one day. Citizens have a duty to study the issues and research the content that candidates present.

Today, we have a pivotal opportunity to change our behavior and interactions with one another. I challenge each of you to rally around our public-school students and to model civility through our interactions.

Remember to show respect for people, their ideas and different viewpoints. Pledge to research more and interact with people who have different beliefs and backgrounds. Demonstrate the importance of working together so our children see us working together.

We can all agree an educated populace is the “secret sauce” to democracy. The education of all children includes lessons in civility and collaboration. As Denton ISD’s lead learner, I embrace the challenge.

Our children need to know the importance of civility, respect for differing opinions, an overall appreciation for the right to vote, and a sense of obligation to participate in the process. Our country’s future — and more importantly, their future — depends on it.

JAMIE WILSON, Ed.D., is the Denton Independent School District superintendent.

Jamie Wilson
Jamie Wilson

Denton ISD Superintendent

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