Gonzaga Preparatory School

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Controversial Media


In educating, a balance must be maintained, your steps must be well balanced, one step on the cornice of safety but the other into the zone of risk. And when the risk becomes safe, the next step must venture into another area of risk. Education cannot be confined to the safety zone.

—Pope Francis in an address to students of Jesuit schools (June 7, 2013)

Teachers select media for the purpose of challenging and encouraging students to think about and to question the world (past, present, and future). They do not select media for the sake of creating controversy; instead, they select media when the pieces make students aware of alternatives that can lead them closer to or further from the realization of becoming more fully human.

Today’s students are inundated with controversial media. When, however, this media is encountered in the controlled environment of a classroom, the content can be handled intelligently within the context of the school’s mission. Students who are carefully guided through controversial media in the classroom are then better prepared to cope with moral ambiguity when they inevitably encounter it on their own.

The academic syllabi of Gonzaga Preparatory School are geared toward helping students confront themselves and their world—including values and ideas other than their own—in safe learning environments where these confrontations can be more productive than destructive. Life is not a simple, compartmentalized system in which certain predictable moves lead a person toward certain predictable goals. In a Jesuit school, students are called to “discern the spirits” of their surroundings and their world, making informed and reflective judgments about both good and evil as well as both good and better. This latter choice reflects the Jesuit ideal of the Magis absolutely central to the school’s mission and identity. Therefore, the better equipped a student is to make solid value judgments based on an understanding of the world that is as well as the world which ought to be, the better that student—honoring the words of Saint Ignatius of Loyola—can “go forth and set the world on fire.”