Acceptance and Tolerance are different

I recently saw a magazine entitled, "Teaching Tolerance", and I thought that's a terrible name for a magazine. As educators we (sometimes unknowingly) step into roles of advocate, caretaker, guide, and even mother or father to students. Students pay attention to everything we say and do. They particularly pay attention to our silence. We may be uncomfortable talking about race, but we can no longer afford to be silent. We have chosen a profession, which—like parenting—requires that our comforts come second to those of children.

Tolerance is a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.

Acceptance in human psychology is a person's assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit 

Tolerance is a virtue. It is a version of the golden rule in that, insofar as we want others to treat us decently, we need to treat them decently as well. It is also a pragmatic formula for the functioning of society, as we can see in the omnipresent wars between different religions, political ideologies, nationalities, ethnic groups, or other us-versus-them divisions. It is a basis for the First Amendment protections that enabled the United States to avoid the religious strife that plagued Europe for centuries. (And it is a reason to be skeptical of slogans such as “Zero Tolerance.”)

Acceptance goes a step beyond tolerance. If a sign of tolerance is a feeling of “I can live with X (behavior, religion, race, culture, etc.)” acceptance moves beyond that in the direction of “X is OK.” You can tolerate something without accepting it, but you cannot accept something without tolerating it. For example, when a son or daughter tells a  about an unwelcome career choice, marital partner, or sexual identity, he or she wants that information not just to be tolerated, but to be accepted.

What does your school teach?