Legal Advisory and Policy of the Institute for School-Based Family Counseling* on Making Charged Political Statements at Meetings
The Oxford Symposium in SBFC is an international organization with members from 20 different countries. What we hold in common, irrespective of national, political, religious, or other differences, is the singular commitment to helping children succeed at school and life through mental health approaches that link family and school. Maintaining collegial relationships between members is fundamental to achieving our mission.
The world is, at present, going through a “fourth turning” (Strauss and Howe, 2009), the hallmarks of which include unprecedented social unrest, economic hardship, displacement, war, hunger, and, across the world, the highest levels of political polarization in 90 years, both intra- and internationally. Political polarization restricts ability to empathize with the experience of the other side of the argument.
It is essential that the School-Based Family Counseling professional maintain an even-handed, neutral, and nuanced approach to highly charged political issues, and, when discussing these, to choose words with great care, and with empathy. Attendees at meetings sponsored by the Institute for SBFC, such as the Oxford Symposium in SBFC Special Interest Groups and presenters at the Oxford Symposium in SBFC yearly conference, are kindly requested to refrain from making charged political comments. This is because we believe our ongoing human development involves the synthesis of opposing theses, and, much as we ourselves, as individuals, may prefer one viewpoint, we cannot, as SBFC professionals, participate in demonizing the other viewpoint, which may, or may not be held by other meeting attendees, colleagues, clients, and the populations we together serve.
*The Institute for SBFC is the parent organization for the international association known as the Oxford Symposium in School-Based Family Counseling. The international association carries out its mandate of furthering global support for SBFC through 1) the yearly conference and 2) the Special Interest Groups (the Disastershock Global Response Team, the SBFC Refugee and Immigrant Research and Intervention Team, the Evidence-Based Practice team, the Internal Family Systems Team, the Pine Ridge Reservation Collaboration Team, and the Parent,Teacher, and SBFC Professional Collaboration Team).