Character Guides Action


Friends and Family,

The national political and societal environment has thrust some difficult topics into the forefront of our academic, health, and emotional discourse, especially in relation to harassment, abuse, and gender role behaviors of our youth and youth of the past. Many adults are having a great deal of difficulty addressing this topic with each other, so you can only imagine the difficulties our students are having with this discussion. I would like to share with you some disturbing statistics:

A recent national survey by Making Caring Common, a frightening 87 percent of 18- to 25-year-old women report having endured at some point in their past at least one of the following: being catcalled (55 percent); touched without permission by a stranger (41 percent); insulted with sexualized words (like “sl^&” or “b$%^&”) by a man (47 percent); insulted with sexualized words by a woman (42 percent); having a stranger say something sexual to them (52 percent); and having a stranger say they were “hot” (61 percent). Half of the men in this survey reported that they’d harassed a woman in at least one of these ways in the past. (Educational Leadership, Oct. 2018, v76, #2, pg. 52-57)

At Sarasota Military Academy, all of our students are “cadets”, a gender-neutral term. In addition, the concepts of “honor“, “respect“, and “integrity” are explicitly taught through our JROTC curriculum and are consistently discussing concepts of leadership. We ask that our instructors, and parents, speak to our cadets and children, both in the academic setting and at home, regarding the impact of an honorable leader (our cadets) on their society, simply by being an active “upstander” (stands up for the oppressed). Talk to your cadets about how this topic has become so divisive in our national setting, and encourage them to be that leader, that “upstander“, that changes his/her immediate societal environment. I truly believe that our cadets can make a very positive impact on their society and lead the way for our national leaders.

SMA-LTC Fred Fout
Head of School
SMA High School Campus