Political Correctness in Schools
Years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of a war on Christmas, a colleague had her students make tracings of their hands on green construction paper. The tracings were then cut out and taped up on the hallway wall in the shape of a triangle outside her room. During the Christmas season, an irate parent said the display was reminiscent of a Christmas tree so it had to come down. That connection wasn’t the point at all. Indeed, the offending teacher was Jewish. But still it had to come down. Had I thought of it at the time I might have pointed out that there were pine trees surrounding the school which looked, gasp, suspiciously like Christmas trees.
The Fort Worth Independent School District initially banned Santa Claus from the schools. Students could not be caught exchanging gifts. Teachers could not “post something that would foster or promote one doctrine or religion over another – or even give that impression.”To be sure, a public school teacher ought not to read aloud Bible passages or expect students to join her in prayer. But how can a teacher be faulted for giving an “impression?” Should she be forbidden from wearing a cross as an item of jewelry? Should the district’s thought police hide in the shadows and pounce when someone sneezes and the phrase God bless you is heard?
We seem to have arrived at a paroxysm of political correctness. How sad that our schools are the battleground. The Seattle district has suggested that Easter eggs be referred to as “spring spheres” so as not to offend non-Christians. Thanksgiving, they say, is racially insensitive to American Indians. Leaving no PC stone unturned they even excoriate the mention of “Individualism” as being cultural racism.
What’s a teacher to do? We are, after all, not social crusaders. We are employees bound by the rules of our districts, even when they venture into the absurd. But we shouldn’t be threatened by every complaint. If a parent is offended by your American flag lapel pin, the best course is to say, “I’m sorry it bothers you but I am a proud American. You can go to the principal if you like, but until told otherwise I’m going to continue wearing it.” Yes, if your principal is a dolt and demands you remove it, you’ll have to. You are an employee and must do what the boss wants.
What a shame though. We no longer dare to teach anything resembling a value since all values can through some tortured logic be traced back to religion. We’ve fallen into the pit of moral relativism where all complaints are valid. We’ve lost the richness of our culture, the strength once based on morality and the bond of shared values that once held our society together. What a shame.