Thursday, November 20, 2008

So Frustrated Part Deuce

So I just went and had yet another conversation with Kyley about Mr Science teacher.

I have serious concerns about reporting Mr. Science teacher, because we live in such a very, very conservative, religious, republican area. I am almost positive that if I did contact Mrs. Principal about this, I would be the first and only parent to ever do so. Therefore, I am sure that nothing would come of it. Doesn't Mr. Science teacher need more than one complaint in his 70 years of teaching to change his ways? So this makes me feel like there would be ramifications on my kid. She already had a couple of rough days at school involving politics. The first was the day the students had their "mock" elections, which of course afterward they discussed who they mock-voted for, and she discovered that ALL of her friends thought she was crazy and stupid for voting Obama. The worst day though, was the day after the real election, where she bravely wore her Obama t-shirt, and was chastized, and had complete strangers angry at her for wearing it.

And it's not just Kyley. Poor Brooke got in a raging yelling match at school, 3 against 1, when she mentioned her views on being pro-choice. It went as far as her being called a baby-killer. It was carried on at home, when we found out that her own twin sister was one of the 3 kids yelling at her. Thank-God that my kids are so self-assured. After this happened, Brooke turned the whole thing into an essay for an assignment, on something that she was passionate about. The whole essay was about being pro-choice, and thankfully the teacher saw her passion and (even if she didn't agree) gave her the "A" she deserved.

Anyway, living in a more rural area, in the South, is hard for a girl from Vermont. And I would love for my kids to be able to hear all viewpoints on politics, to be exposed to many different cultures, and religions, and to make their own choices as adults. And these past couple of months really woke me up, because from the start I didn't think I was very political, didn't think that I was doing a good job trying to teach my kids my views. I even wrote it on this very blog somewhere that I am not very politically minded. But obviously I have done something, because in this sea of conservatism, where my kids are getting religious teachings in public schools, where my kids are being told regularly that everything I believe is wrong, they are listening to me. They are forming their own beliefs. A couple of them very strongly are forming beliefs and standing firm in them. All of them voted Obama in their mock-elections, even the kindergarten ones. And they don't all agree with me or each other about everything, but at least they are talking and thinking about the shit.

And that day that Britney had been in the group of kids yelling at Brooke? We discussed it, and we discussed the reasons they both felt the way they did. And then I naturally did what I do, and argued my pro-choice position, and I used the best debates for my opinion that I could think of. And just when I got Britney switched over to my side, I realized what I had done, and how it went against the big picture of what I am trying to accomplish with these kids, and I quickly switched it up. I told Rick I felt bad, and I called her back into the kitchen, and debated to the very best of my ability all the reasons why she should be pro-LIFE. And that night, I knew in my heart that that 13 year old girl new more about the issues surrounding pro-choice/pro-life than many adults. And she had heard both sides, until she was holding her hands over her ears saying "I can't take anymore!" and could now make her own informed decision.

So this is my goal. Not for my kids to be clones of my beliefs, but to be educated, and have their own beliefs. And I am SO blessed to be able to have a conversation with my 11 yr. old kid about her teacher, and for her to first of all realize and vocalize her opposition of having to hear his political views in the classroom. Then on top of it, I know that the reason it bothers her so much is because she has strong political views OF HER OWN, which are the opposite of his. I am just so blessed to be able to deal with this as a parent. It makes me cry the happy tears. I can only hope and pray that in the future I get to have to make more of these hard decisions. Decisions that make it so clear to me that my kids are turning out fucking incredible, and that no matter how stressful it feels in our daily life and how monotonous the days seem, and how they just seem to run into each other with all of our running around, there are some seriously awesome things happening in my household.

My kids are turning out exactly how I hoped and prayed that they would. So do I wish I was raising them in VT, where everyone thinks the same way I do? Yes, on most days I do. Do I sometimes feel like I am doing them a disservice by raising them here, where they have to deal with this shit? Absolutely. But my god, I cannot even express how successful I feel as a parent right now.

Which still leaves me with this bitter-sweet parenting decision. Do I report Mr. Science teacher to Mrs Principal, knowing that 90% (at least) of our area believes exactly like Mr. Science teaher? Do I risk the repurcussions on my kid as even if I do it anonymously the kid with the Obama shirt would be the one suspected? It is wrong. I know it is. I also know it is illegal. But it is also the way of life here. But, (smiling) not in this house.


The Secretary said...

Yes, you absolutely DO report this behavior. It's about teaching tolerance, not about Republicans vs. Democrats. Tolerance for ALL, not just for some. Please report it. The school should not be forcing their opinions down anyone's throat.

I also hope that you explained to your kids that sometimes it's not about pro-life or pro-choice - it's about a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, which should have nothing to do with the government.

Good luck!

Kristine said...

You should feel as incredibly proud as you do about your children. Go you! That is fantastic how they have their OWN opinions and beliefs and clearly feel comfortable expressing them. When I was her age there is no way I would have worn the Obama shirt. Shoot, I'm not sure that I would wear it now if I lived there.

As for the teacher? That is a tough one and I can see your point about repercussions and wether it would even do anything anyway. It's hard to believe he is the teacher for the gifted program, or any teacher for that matter. I agree with you about being happy that she gets pissed at the teacher.

It seems to me, that like your children, you make good descisions. You will know what is right for you and your family.

Mama to a diva said...

I don't know what you decided, but if it were me I would report it. When we talk about bullying at school I always remind the kids that not doing anything can be as bad as the bullying. Not quite the same thing, but at least you will know you stood up for what is right, and for your girl and her beliefs. Just my 2 cents. You know I think you are a fabulous mom!