Refuah Sh’lema, Mr. Reynolds…

The BP Editorial Board

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Although we’re in a school that makes Town Hall announcements encouraging students to support the after-school clean-up staff, no announcement at all was made when our interim Head of School was in a severe car accident on January 31.

Mr. Nat Reynolds, the founding General Studies principal of the school 20 years ago, held a steady – albeit discreet – presence among students as Interim Head of School this year until he was hospitalized at the end of first semester. Except for one visit in April, Mr. Reynolds was entirely absent for the rest of the school year while recovering at home. Over the last few weeks, he has missed two consecutive Town Hall visits for medical reasons, when he had planned on saying goodbye to the student body.

During his April visit, Mr. Reynolds told The Boiling Point that he hadn’t received any phone calls from school community members after the accident, but that he hadn’t assumed that people would call him either.

This is disappointing and contradicts the “stand by me” nature of Shalhevet, a school which prides itself on its values of community and belonging.

In a school characterized by student initiative, perhaps it should have been the students’ responsibility to support Mr. Reynolds during his absence, but this would have been difficult considering the limited contact that students had with him. At first, most students didn’t even realize he was gone.

Instead, the administration, which worked more closely with Mr. Reynolds, should have officially told the whole community of the accident, and teachers in turn should have grabbed the initiative to give students practical ideas for how to show Mr. Reynolds their concern.Regardless of how little we saw him in the hallway, he’s a member of this community and deserves to be treated as one.

And in the past we have done better. Dozens of students got rides to Dodger Stadium in March to support science teacher Ms. Rosales at the Breast Cancer Walk.When History teacher Mrs. Sunshine was on bed rest after breaking several ribs in a car accident last year, students dropped off home-baked goods at her house.

Teachers should recognize that they are considered role models by students, and that in a Modern Orthodox school like ours, Mr. Reynolds’ accident was an opportunity to actively participate in the mitzvah of bikur cholim by supporting the sick.

Mr. Reynolds should have expected phone calls – or something – but it’s not too late. Now’s your chance.

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