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New Jersey Teacher Explains The Emotional Reason He Keeps An Empty Chair In His Classroom
CBS New York/YouTube

Most of us were fortunate enough to have at least one really good teacher while we were growing up.

The common denominator between those great teachers? Passing on a lesson that was memorable.

One teacher who will certainly be memorable for the students of Glenfield Middle School is Dan Gill, and it's all due to an empty chair kept in his classroom, and the message behind it, which is one of unconditional inclusion.

Gills' use of the chair began after being invited to a birthday at the age of nine, alongside his best friend, Archie. It is important to note that Gill is white, while Archie, who passed away last year, was Black.

When they arrived at the birthday party, their classmate's mother answered the door and observed the pair of boys. She allowed Gill to come in but said there were no more empty chairs available for Archie, implying that he could not come into the birthday party.

Despite Gills' insistence, and his offers to share his chair with Archie, or to even sit on the floor, the mother refused to let Archie in, very likely because of his race.

Gill left with Archie without attending the party that day, with both of the boys overwhelmed by what had happened.

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That incident taught Gill an important lesson about unconditional inclusion, and when he became a teacher, he wanted to include an empty chair at the center of his classroom as a symbol. Not only was anyone welcome in his classroom, but there would always be enough chairs for them.

After hearing about this teacher's kindness, Twitter was overwhelmed with feelings.





Mr. Gill is 75 years old and intends to retire at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. After retiring, he plans to write a book called No More Chairs that can be distributed throughout schools and made available as a resource to teachers everywhere.

He would like to see teachers all across the nation include an empty chair in their classrooms, but more importantly, he would like all teachers to adopt this mindset of inclusivity, developing classrooms where everyone is welcome and there is room for all.