Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Injustice for all...

The Patriotic jingoists strike again! (Found this via David Grenier) An eight year old boy in Southern California made up his own version of the Pledge of Allegiance and recited it during the morning Patriotic Devotional. Here is his rendition...

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Federation of Planets, and to the galaxy for which it stands, one universe, under everybody, with liberty and justice for all species.

I don't know about you, but I like it. I like the sentiment and creativity. A parent in the class did not. The incident was reported to the principal. The boy was suspended for a day and ordered to write the Pledge of Allegiance FIFTY times as penance.

His Mom was called in to pick him up with no explanation beyond that he was suspended. Did I mention that the school is near a military base and many of the students have fathers on base?

The link to the story is a link to her blog containing her recounting of the events. You won't find this in the news as the Mom has not decided to alert the media. I really like the way she handled it.

First, she laughed when the Principal told her why he was suspended. When she saw how serious the Principal was, she decided not to say any more and took her son home to do his penance. She let him watch Star Trek. The more she thought about it, the more she decided that the school was really wrong. She told him not to do copy the PofA even once. The next day, she marched back into the school and demanded they remove the suspension from his record and cited all the reasons why they were wrong. She told her son that he could keep reciting his pledge, but to do it silently so as not to disrupt the class. She further let him know that he did not have to recite any pledges or oaths that he did not believe in.

The suspension got rewritten to a warning, which I suppose is progress. I would have pushed for an apology from the teacher and principal, but I suppose if the boy knows his mother is on his side, that's the important thing. She also read him all the comments of support over on her blog. He's been buoyed by that.

Also noteworthy for relevance to the "School Administrators are Morons" meme is this story on Thing of Ugly. Short form is that two boys planned a scientific experiment to show the dangers of BB guns. They had adult permission and oversight. Anyone who looked at their work could see that this was not just an excuse to play with guns. (It might have been an excuse to play with ballistics gelatin...) The administrators disqualified the project as too dangerous.

To a lesser extent is another story on my friend Jenn's blog. She took her Kindergartener to be to a school tour to experience the teachers she may have. The teacher their group met with read the Rainbow Fish and then asked the class, "Is it right to be so beautiful, or should you share with others so that you are all the same?" There's a good message for you. Don't achieve. Don't be the best. And if you are, then find ways to conform so others will like you. This teacher then went on to guide the kids on an art project. She stressed the *right* way to do it, right down to the colors that MUST be used.

So. Remember kids. Don't think outside the box unless you want some institutional beatdown. It's American Survivor! Conform. Consume. Concede.