Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Last Thursday Night

Last Thursday my 17 year old son and I attended an open house at the (redacted, being looked into) Skills Center, and the presentation given for this class (redacted, as under investigation). To make a long story short, I left the presentation extremely shaken, and concerned about the use of public school funds.

The instructor, (again redacted, being addressed), began the presentation with the statement that as a Christian, he reserves the right to pray with our kids, "if they ask me to," and to "tell them about the Lord." He then launched into a 30 minute diatribe, in which he stated that a his job is to "talk our kids out of going into law enforcement," due to the issues of suicide and "broken marriages" that police are at risk for. Then, without warning, we were shown a very graphic film of a policeman who's face was shot off and survived.

I understand the need to be honest, and not "sugar coat" police work...it is indeed a very stressful and risky career. But in the context of a public meeting, along with various other statements (redacted) for the half an hour, the overall affect was extremely concerning. For instance, he stated more than once that he is "against homosexuality," but still has to treat "them" with respect. He also stated that a degree in criminal justice is, quote, "worth toilet paper," so he encourages the kids to sign up for the military. Statements like this were thrown out, in rapid succession, interrupted by him panning the room and asking "am I offending anyone yet?," almost as if he was hoping to do so. This was wrapped up with his continual assertion that he maintains the right to scream at and be "rough" on our kids, and if we don't like it, our kids do not need to be in his class. He then proceeded to say that we needed to stop "powdering our kid's butts" or they would "live at home until they were 40." He made the statement that this would be the "only class in the district where your kid gets to hit their teacher." Oh, and btw, I was surprised to hear that policemen are the "garbage men of society," taking out "human garbage."

I have always assumed that the public school financed classes are OUR classes, meaning the community's, and subject to our input and review. And I am greatly offended by the assertion that any concerns that I may have constitute "powdering" my child's backside.

My son at 17 will not be told that he can not take the class, because I feel that he has the right to have various viewpoints presented to him, and to exercise his own judgement. He still wishes to be in the class, and I don't want to let my concerns interfere with that. I was quiet during this performance, out of deference to my son, who was giving me the "please, Mom, don't make a scene" look.

However, after attending this presentation, I have some grave concerns, not only with the statements (redacted), but also with his overall judgement in making them in the manner and context in which he did. I would go so far as to question his mental stability, if not just his ability to reason properly.

In any case, I was not sure how to speak out about this...I am trying to not "call my son out" for ridicule, ect, but don't feel as if I can just let it go. I did speak with the director of the center,but that was a brief conversation in which he neither confirmed or denied that this behaviour would be acceptable in class.

I felt extremely violated after this open house, as a pacifist with Quaker/Pagan type beliefs, with ties to the local gay community. I got the sense, with ()asking if anyone was offended yet, that I would not have been safe to say "Yes, indeed."

Updated: I received a very supportive call back from an official whom I emailed regarding this, and I do feel confident that my concerns were heard and will be addressed. Will be keeping an eye on the situation, but for now, not naming names.


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