My name is Talia Higgins, Chris Higgins’ very opinionated college daughter. I’m not going to spend time talking about my dad (a brilliant teacher, talented writer, and dedicated father), as that would embarrass him.
I will tell you about myself though. I was a student at Haddonfield Memorial High School in the class of 2018, something that makes me more qualified to speak on this subject than yourself. Your original letter from July 19 was nearly impossible to write a rebuttal against, as you did not actually make any strong or clear points. If you’re going to present your opinion for the whole town to see, I suggest you speak with some conviction. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
Claiming to “. . . accurately identify the junior class gift as a tell-tale SYMPTOM of possible political indoctrination,” is ridiculous to hear as a former HMHS student to say the least. Any student who has attended our district’s schools knows Haddonfield as a bubble. For anyone who is not white, abled-bodied, straight, cisgender, or Christian, it’s not an easy environment in which to grow up. We tokenize our minority populations, make them feel “othered,” and send graduating white students on their way to experience culture-shock in any diverse environment, forced to rightfully challenge their own prejudices for the rest of their lives.
To suggest that HMHS has politically indoctrinated our children in the direction of the left is both preposterous, as well as wishful thinking. Looking back at my alma mater, I’m seeing it become a better place than when I left it. It’s becoming a place where young people of color and activists can challenge the ways things have always been. The junior class gift, something that I can’t believe people are still complaining about, was an indication of students caring about people other than themselves. How is that a bad thing, Walter? HMHS is a better place than when I left it; why do you want to take a step backwards?
I suggest that anyone who actually cares about the future of Haddonfield schools listen to the viewpoints of students and educators, rather than those who have no stake in the matter.