Wednesday, February 27, 2008
American Spirit Day
Every month Sabi's school has a special spirit day in addition to the once a week school spirit day. The special spirit day is a theme based day such as Disney Day, Hat Day and Hawaiian Day. Today was American Spirit Day. Sabina ended up wearing her school spirit shirt, a red turtleneck and jeans for the red, white and blue colors because that is all that she had to match the color scheme. Sabi loves spirit days. She likes the idea of everyone doing the same thing, schoolwide. She also likes helping her class out by dressing up because if they have the highest percentage of kids dressed up, they win some kind of prize.
When Sabi got home she told me that the whole school wrote letters to soldiers today. I started to get a little bent out of shape at hearing this news but calmly asked her why they would be doing such a thing. She responded that since it was American Spirit day the kids were all to make a cut out of their hands and then write a note on them to send to soldiers. I went on to ask her what she did. She told me that she told her teacher that her family doesn't believe in the war and think it is ok. She asked her teacher if it would be acceptable for her to opt out of the project. Her teacher told her that it was ok and that not everyone supports the war and she had the right to opt out.
This brings up some issues for me.
On the negative side...
1) I am really upset that the school would have the entire student body do this activity. It is an endorsement of the military and the war. There is no place for this in a public school. If teachers or administrators want to do something to show their support, by all means they should act. They should not however pull their students into it though.
2) Why didn't the school inform parents about this ahead of time? They made the false assumption that everyone would support the letter writing. I didn't even have the opportunity to opt my daughter out of the activity.
3) What about the educational time lost today when the kids were busy letter writing? With the standards/test prep driven trend that we are currently in, how can time set aside for this be justified?
On the positive side:
3) I am comforted that Sabina's teacher responded so appropriately to Sabina. (Not that I am surprised because she is FABULOUS!) It is quite clear that she has an extremely approachable style that has made her students feel safe about speaking their minds because Sabina had no problem discussing this assignment with her.
4) I was really impressed at Sabina's response. When she told me how she reacted, she was heartfelt and not looking to seek my approval for her behavior. She is really becoming an independent thinker and is not afraid to speak up and make decisions that may not be popular. In my opinion, that is true American patriotism.