Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Mouths of Babes

What is going on with education in this country? In California, on Cinco De Mayo day, five students wear shirts or headbands with the American Flag on it and are told to remove them or turn them inside out by the Vice Principal. When they refuse, they are sent to the Principals office. They are again told to remove or turn them inside out or face suspension. The claim was that it would be incendiary to wear these on Cinco De Mayo.

Also in California, a young girl was drawing an American Flag with the words "God Bless America" in the center of it. The Art teacher told her that it was an offensive drawing and was told to stop. Meanwhile, another student is drawing a picture of Barack Obama and this child is praised.

The young girls father showed up at the Principal's office for a meeting with the Art teacher. He asked what she found offensive about the American flag? He didn't get an answer. The teacher sat silent. The principal then ordered the teacher to apologize to the young girl.

In Ann Arbor Michigan, a group of students were taken to hear a Rocket Scientist speak. The problem isn't that the students were all black, the rocket scientist was black and the teacher was black. The problem is that the field trip was open only to black students. Whites were excluded.

Personal anecdotes are not my usual style of making a point, but this seems to fit. My high school years were from 1970-1974. This was at the end of the hippie era, in the midst of the short-lived(thank God) Disco, and prior to the yuppies. The war in Vietnam was coming to an end.

Dress codes were relaxed in those days. We had one student in particular that was pretty much a loner. I couldn't even tell you his name. But I can tell you what we called him. We called him "Reb". The way he got that name was because he had a blue jean jacket with the Confederate flag on the back of it. This was before everyone was calling it being racist.

Shortly after people getting used to him wearing that and him getting the nickname Reb (for Rebel or Johnny Reb), he began wearing the American flag. First on the front of his pant leg on his bellbottom jeans. Then on his back pocket. Wearing the flag on his clothes was bad enough to the teachers and administration, but when he sewed it on his back pocket, the teachers and administrators became upset. They claimed he was desecrating the American flag by sitting on it.

Notice, I said he was considered desecrating the flag. They didn't see it as patriotic, they saw it as desecration. The school system was actually trying to protect the flag.

In forty years time, we've moved from having the flag on clothing desecrating it, to having the wearing or drawing the American flag as being offensive or incendiary.

So what's happened? Well, in California, the school board held a meeting last night so that parents could voice their opinions on the issue. They had to move the meeting to a larger hall because so many people showed up. The school board shortened the time down from people being allowed to speak for three minutes, to two minutes per person. The Superintendent of the school system asked why people weren't at the meeting last month. The people voiced their opinions and a lawsuit is being considered.

In the situation with the art teacher, despite having been ordered to apologize to the young girl, she has refused.

In Ann Arbor, when the field trip students returned from their field trip, the students left behind at school booed the group returning. The group has since been disbanded and a lawsuit is being considered.

You can find on youtube another famous incident in the 1970's. On April 26, 1976 two muslims went on the field at Dodger Stadium and tried to light the American flag on fire. Rick Monday, the centerfielder for the Chicago Cubs ran up and snatched the flag from them saving it from from being burned.

It's a little ironic that it was two muslims trying to light the flag and that it happened in California.

By the way, Cinco de Mayo isn't a holiday. Not even in Mexico. It's a day that's remembered for the victory over the French in a battle over a small village. But it's not a Mexican holiday and it's not an American holiday.

Perhaps if schools concentrated on teaching rather than social issues and worrying about other people's "feelings" our school system in this country wouldn't be in such a shambles. Perhaps it should be required for teachers and school administrators to recite the pledge of allegiance before each school day. Our children seem to have it down pat. These children might also teach these school systems about racism. What it is and what it isn't. These teachers and school administrators could learn from our children. The children are making us proud while the education system is more and more of an embarrassment.

You're welcome to comment.


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