Melissa Bruehl 0

Petition: Alternatives to Removal of the Giving Tree

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Dear Headmaster Ghory and Harley Administration,

The student body has heard about the decision not to put up the Giving Tree this year due to parent's and visitor's complaints. We are concerned that, by taking this display away, we are not following the Harley ideal of being accepting of all religions and of all people. The Harley School has a long standing tradition of religious inclusiveness from World Religions class to the Mandala display to the annual Candlelight celebration. The student body gains so much from being able to learn about all of these different religions and traditions. We also love how celebrating all of these different religions has become a part of the Harley tradition.

The Giving Tree is a long standing Harley tradition, and it has done a great deal of good for charities in the past. The vast majority of Harley students look forward to the tree as a service project just as any other service project that Harley presents us with (such as the pasta dinner, the soup kitchen, hospice, etc.), and we were very disappointed to hear that it is being taken away.

We, the student body, believe that there is a better solution to the concerns about the tree than simply taking it away without any community discussion. Our main proposal is to bring symbols from all of the other religions celebrated at Harley (similar to the Lower School or Candlelight display) and include them in the display with the giving tree. We believe that this solution is much truer to the Harley ideal of being inclusive to all religions, rather than penalizing certain religions because they are more widely celebrated. Because of Harley's commitment to student involvement, we hope to meet with you soon to further discuss this issue and possible solutions. We also hope to include the students more in the gathering and setting up of this display (or whatever solution we agree on), and, of course, donating to charity. The signatures that you see here are a testament to how strongly the student body feels about this issue, and how much we would like to get involved in finding a fair solution and making it happen.

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