Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

April 4, 2006

What Kind of Lesson Does This Teach?

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:14 pm

What kind of lesson does this teach?

Students at Shaw Heights Middle School [in Westminster, Colorado] are no longer allowed to wear anything that’s patriotic, including camouflage pants, because they have become a political symbol for a version of patriotism.
Myla Shepherd, the principal, said that tensions over the immigration issue were apparent when more than 20 students came to school wearing camouflage jackets and pants, apparently to show what they call their patriotism and American pride.

“We started seeing name calling,” Shepherd said. “Safety is my first concern so I’m going to do things to keep us from getting to a point where anybody is hurt or being suspended for fighting.”

So the lesson taught by the school is: if you threaten and name-call, you get what you want. In other words, threats and intimidation have the respect of those in authority. Peaceful statements expressed silently on clothing do not.

So if you want to get your message across, don’t express your opinion peacefully and respectfully. Just threaten the safety of anyone who disagrees with you. That’s the more appropriate approach, according to the Principal Myla Shepherd.

That’s the lesson being taught in our public schools. And also that patriotism is wrong, or at least something to be kept in the closet. (Literally, since we’re talking about clothes here!)

I wonder what principle of the education establishment would be violated if they taught that name-calling is wrong, that threatening violence is wrong, that one should respect those with other points of view, and that everyone has the right to peacefully express opinions on the issues of the day. Never mind the view that American democracy might be a good thing — that’s been verboten in American schools for a long time.

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