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Relationships Are a Two-Way Street, Speaker Tells Students


Guest speaker Justine Ang Fonte, who addressed the school community on Tuesday, February 7, as part of Healthy Love Week at Loomis Chaffee, asked her audience to think a little deeper than usual about the golden rule.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated as an exercise for empathy,” prompted Ms. Fonte, an intersectional health educator. Applying this principle to relationships raises questions, she said. “Someone tell me what is problematic about the golden rule if we are trying to teach people about consent and asking what other people need and want?” she asked the students in the Olcott Center.

A couple of students answered, the second one allowing Ms. Fonte to echo the thought.

“Someone might not be OK with the same things you are OK with. If I like anchovies on my pizza, I’m just going to assume you all do, too. That’s a big leap,” she said. “Let’s do an update, the platinum rule. Treat others the way they want to be treated. How do we figure out how someone else wants to be treated? You ask, you communicate, you negotiate.”

Healthy Love Week, February 7­–10, is presented by the peer health educators, a group of student leaders. Daily themes include “self-love” on February 8, “love others” on February 9, and “love Loomis” on February 10. The kickoff to Healthy Love Week was a joint effort by the Norton Center for the Common Good and Student Life.

Ms. Fonte has a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, a master’s in education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego, where she also captained the women’s tennis team.

She spoke to the Loomis audience about such topics as boundaries, healthy relationships, and respect for each other. 

“It’s a two-way street,” Ms. Fonte said. “That’s what a relationship is.”


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