DUTCH philosopher Spinoza wrote: “I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them.” As an educator, you face the challenge of trying to understand the views, backgrounds, and convictions of the students in your care, including pupils who are children of Jehovah’s Witnesses. At times, such students may take what seems to be an unconventional stand on certain issues. But when such actions clearly spring from a student’s religious and moral convictions, they merit your attention. This brochure is produced by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (the publishing agency of Jehovah’s Witnesses) and is designed to help you better understand Witness students. We hope you will take the time to read it carefully.
Understanding the religious beliefs of another does not require that you accept or follow them, and to inform is not to proselytize. This brochure does not seek to impose the Witnesses’ religious views on you or on your students. Our desire is simply to inform you about the principles and beliefs that some of your students are being taught by their parents so that you will find it easier both to understand Witness children and to work with them. Of course, what children are taught and what they do may not always harmonize, as each child is learning to develop his own conscience.
Like most parents, Jehovah’s Witnesses want their children to make the most of their schooling. To that end, they teach their children to cooperate with their teachers. In return, Witness parents and their children appreciate it when educators treat them with understanding and respect.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians who are known worldwide. However, they are at times misunderstood. Our hope, therefore, is that this brochure will help you to understand better the Witness children you have in your care. In particular, we hope you will see why, in certain specific situations, they may claim the right to be different.