Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm not okay with that...

Alex only has a week and a half of school left. Time seems to be flying by, but dragging at the same time. I am looking forward to not having to get up at the ass crack of dawn every day.

Her school, which is a small Charter school, has several "Fun Days" at school, for fundraising purposes. Things like Hat day, Pajama Day, Opposite Day, things like that. I have no problem with those. However, last week, Alex informed me that there was going to be a "Nerd Day" coming up. This did not sit well with me. I stewed on it all night, and the next morning I decided I would send a letter in with Alex on what I THOUGHT was going to be Nerd Day, which was last Friday...turns out it was that very day. So for one, Alex did not participate, not that I was going to allow her to do so in the first place. For two, I decided to send an email to the principal of her school. Here is what I wrote:

" I am writing because I have an issue with one of the "Fundraiser Days" that the school is having. "Nerd Day" in specific. Hat Day, PJ Day, Opposite Day; all of those are innocent, but I feel that Nerd Day is harmful. In a time where kids are taking their lives because they are considered different, I feel that Nerd Day is a form of saying bullying is okay, that it is okay for kids to make fun of people who are different than them.

Now of course I understand that is not what the day is SUPPOSED to mean, but I feel that it is teaching kids to make fun of others, that someone who is considered a "Nerd" is not someone to be taken seriously, that it is someone to mock. I am the mother of two teens and a first grader, of which the first grader attends *Insert School Name Here* and I have seen the damage that bullying can do to kids. I am lucky in the fact that my children do not view different as bad, but they were taught to give everyone a chance and not make fun of someone because they were different.

I am just not okay with "Nerd Day", and I was hoping that in the future it can be changed to something else. Pirate Day, Animal Day, *Insert decade here* Day. Something that is not aimed at one type of person, something that is not hurtful and has the potential to ostracize anyone, and make them feel mocked for being who and what they are.

I hope you will consider my thoughts, and give it some thought yourself. There are plenty of other things to do to raise money for the school and not potentially hurt kids.

Thank you for your time,
*Insert real name here*"

So yeah, I was not okay with that at all, but I was nervous when I sent the email. Would I be ignored? Would they make life for Alex hard because I was rocking the boat?

Turns out I need not have worried. I got a phone call not five minutes later, from the school principal. She apologized profusely, and said that when the middle school classes decided to host it, it did not sit well with her, but as she is new, and that is how they always did it, she did not thing to do any thing about it. She said that as the day was already almost over, there was not much she could do for that day, but she promised me that there would never be another Nerd Day or any other type of derogatory day from that point on.

She is a new first time mother herself, so I can only speculate that maybe she thought for a second about her own sons future, and what type of person he may be when he grows up, and how he might be the brunt of a stereotypical joke.

It felt good to know that I was able to facilitate even a small change, that might help my own or some other kid one day. It was the first time I have ever done something like that, and I admit I was terrified at what would happen, but I could not let it go, and still be able to look at myself in the mirror every day, knowing it bothered me so much, and not do something about it.

So that is what I did last week. For those out there who might want to speak out against something like that, but are afraid to, please do not be. Yes, I had a favorable outcome, and a lot of the time it does not work that way, but you never know until you try. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!


Anonymous said...

Inspirational, thanks for sharing.

Iesadora said...

You go Mamma! I sadly have to admit that I totally didn't expect you to get such a quick and positive response.

Your right that you never know till you try and your e-mail shows how to express your concerns. It was polite, to the point, and provided points to back up your concerns. There was no anger, language, or threats.

It's really encouraging that the principal[al was on the same page as you with her feelings on the nerd day. Sounds like shes a keeper and just needs a little support.

Unknown said...

I actually did not expect so favorable of an outcome either. I have read the horror stories of other parents when they go against the school system, and in a lot of their cases, there is actual bullying and abuse taking place, and that makes me sad and angry.

I am fortunate to live in a small town, where people still care about each other ( mostly )and they listen to what you have to say. One of the reasons we chose that school for Alex is because it was smaller than a normal elementary school, and she could get individualized attention should she need it, and as most classes have only 15 to 10 kids at most, I feel that she and the other gets get more attention, more face to face learning time, instead of falling through the cracks of a huge school with 30 kids crammed in to a room. It is chaos and the teacher spends all day just trying to wrangle the kids into a semblance of quiet. ( And that is NOT the teachers fault, in those larger schools. In my opinion, they have to make the best of the situation they find themselves in, and with over crowding in the class room and such, kudos for him/her for doing whatever they need to do to be able to teach! )

So yes, things went in my favor and I am glad for it. I was scared, and if I was, then I bet there are a lot more who are also afraid to speak up about stuff, and I hope I can give them a little courage to try any way. Like I said in the post, never know till we try right?