b'WELCOME.FROM THEHEADMASTERI am going to ask you to do a rather strange thingBut that is really what I think we should be doing; now, which is to look down at your shoe and thenbecause, as much as we can, we should try to look at the shoes of the people near you as youto imagine what it would be like to have those read The Bridge 2023. experiences, even if we have not; we need to try to If you have been following the news over theimagine how life might be for us, what our concerns past few weeks and indeed months, you willmight be if we were in the minority in terms of our have come across the report that has found arace, faith, sexuality and so on.culture of misogyny, racism and bullying in one ofSome of you will have come across the book by the countrys largest fire services as well as theHarper Lee called To Kill a Mockingbird. It is a story Metropolitan Police. The report said that someset in the Southern states of 1930s America that firefighters interviewed fear for their lives when theydeals with issues of prejudice when a black man go to deal with a dangerous incident because, atis falsely accused of attacking a white woman. other times, their colleagues bully them becauseIt includes the quote: You never really know of their gender, race or sexualityand so theysomeone until you understand things from say that they dont know whether they will be abletheir point of view, until you climb into their to depend on them. Your life depends on yourskin and walk around in it.colleagues, one firefighter said. You have to relySkin or shoes, both are the same ideaand that on them to get out of a burning building safely, andis really what I am getting at. People like me who how can you do that when you know they thinkhave not really suffered prejudice need to try to so little of you and treat you so badly most of theunderstand things from the perspective of those time? who have. Because if we can empathise in this The report found that there was an unacceptableway, perhaps we will be in a better position to make banter culture in that part of the fire service. things better for others, for the right reasons, fairer I should say that I am sure that there are plentyand kinderand that would make society better of thoroughly decent firefighters who would neverfor everyone. A bit utopian? NoI really believe we engage in anything like that, but it is very sad thatshould and more importantly can.simply because of who they areperhaps differentEach and every one of us is different from everyone in some way to otherssome firefighters haveelse and as a community, those differences are a suffered in the way described. I also wonder ifstrength. They provide an opportunity for us to learn there was a silent minority, who recognised that thefrom others and to reflect on how we are ourselves. behaviour described is unacceptable but chose notWithin the limits of what can happen in a school to speak up, not to get involved. we want everyone to be able to be themselvesto You will have heard the expression: Dont judgebring their whole selves to HGS. In this way they someone until you have walked a mile in theircan feel comfortable and fully able to contribute, shoes which is thought to come from the poembeing them as they really arenot an adapted Judge Softly written by Mary Lathrap in 1895. version to fit in with others.As the poem says: So, I would suggest that we have two challenges. Firstly, we should do our very best to make those Pray, dont find fault with the man that limps, around us feel comfortable, to feel accepted for Or stumbles along the road. who they areeven if they are a bit different, Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears, perhaps because of their background, beliefs, Or stumbled beneath the same load. or perspective. We need to see the diversity that others bring as a positive in that it may make us Dont sneer at the person who is down today think differently. Secondly, we need to recognise Unless you have felt the same blow the challenges that others may have had to face, That caused their fall or felt their shame possibly in areas that we simply take for granted. We learn by trying to see things from their point of That only the fallen know. view. In short, by imagining what it would be like to I am conscious that with my background therewalk in their shoes.will be experiences that I simply will not have hadI would like to take this opportunity to thankthere will be journeys I will not have walked inMs Elaine Brown and Mr Adam Kilcullen, as others shoes. So, for example, I do not think I havewell as Rebecca England and Gus MacDonald been teased about my religion, no one has reallyat Ammac Design, for all their expertise and cared who lives with me at home and I have not feltsupport in bringing this publication to print.that I have had to prove myself to be significantlyStay safe and well. better than others, because of my race or gender.Be kind to yourself and others.At school, university and work, most other people looked like me, could access facilities and materialsBest wishes, like methese were things that I have not neededDr Birdto think about, for me.Haec Olim Meminisse Iuvabit.Dr Simon Bird, Headmaster2'