Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Forcing Inclusiveness

I am officially crotchety.  And while I am still struggling with the label (really?  crotchety?  Can't we find another term that doesn't have such a vivid mental picture?), I'm OK with it.  So, what makes me crochety, besides teenage daughters, freezing cold weather and stupid drivers texting while driving?  Well, it's Homecoming Week.  Enuff said.

WAY back when my son was a senior, we had a similar issue that is happening this week and I'll be honest with you when I say it scares me that school administration JUST.DOESN'T.GET.IT.  So, not so much the t-shirt issue but this whole idea of "inclusiveness", and it's getting out of hand.  Let me explain.

The HS is a 10-12 grade school (and has ALWAYS been that way) and the school colors are Black/Red/White.  No idea when this happened, but each class has their "designated" color:  seniors are black, juniors are red, sophomores are white.  Now, here is the kicker...THEY are all A-OK with this rite of passage.  THEY know and embrace this, because like the real world, to climb the ladder of success you have to start near the bottom.  When they have pep fests the students actually separate themselves into classes and sit with their class, dressed in their class's colors.

For some reason, the administration has decided to frown upon this act of unity, AS A CLASS, and is attempting to FORCE the students to act as a school, not just a class.  But here's the thing.  They DO come together as a school for the games, although they do separate themselves into classes for the games with a set hierarchy to the student section.  If they're having a black out, they all wear black, or a red out, they all wear red, or a pink out (cancer awareness)...you get the picture.  The pep fest is an opportunity for the students to show their CLASS spirit, and I can't for the life of me figure out why the administration feels the need to bend the students to their will, AND do so unsuccessfully.

So, I'm going through my email this morning and from the principal (he is new this year, but apparently he has been briefed) there were these two little blurbs in his "Student News and Announcement" email:

Please show us your SHS spirit by participating in Homecoming Spirit Week:  ...Friday is EVERYONE, including students and staff, wear the color red.

So, Friday is the day of the Pep Fest and typically the day the students show their school/class spirit by wearing their traditional class colors.  There is an entire week of spirit activities in which students can participate in school unifying activities, why is it such an issue that the students have their one day to show their class spirit while also showing their school spirit?  My daughter has said she's not sure if they'll be sending students home if they choose not to follow directions and wear red (which would probably mean the entire senior class and sophomore classes will be sent home), but that I should expect a phone call Friday.

Pep fest:   We really want to promote Saber Unity during our school pep fests!  This year when you enter the gym for the pep fest on Fridays, please mix it up and sit all over the gym!  We will not be separating by grades-we are all Shakopee Sabers and we are better together!

I'm curious as to how they are going to enforce this because the students themselves do this.  They WANT to sit with their friends, most of whom are in the same class as they are.  My sophomore daughter has already said...yeah, that ain't happening. (She's a SOPHOMORE and gets this).

Do schools really not have enough to do that they feel to create problems where there are none?  Has anyone actually thought to take students aside, let's say a good representation of all students in all grades, and actually ASK if they feel like the division of students into grades/colors creates a divisive atmosphere or is it just good-natured healthy competition?

I have 4 more years after this year and I suspect our school system and I  are going to go toe-to-toe MANY more times before my youngest graduates.  And what I find completely disheartening is that I have always been one of the number one cheerleaders for our district, even when the scores of standardized tests put us below the state average, I KNEW there were extenuating circumstances and had faith.  Now I have difficulty recognizing what the school has and will become.

So, I stay vigilant.  I hope other parents are as well.

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