Arlington Public Schools Are Canning Elementary School Colonial Day Because Kids From Different Cultures Shouldn’t Have To Dress Up As Their Oppressors
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The best part about growing up in Massachusetts is the fact that we’re sitting at the forefront of American history. The American Revolution started here because we were BY FAR the most bad ass of the 13 colonies, and we didn’t take crap from redcoats who thought they could push us around. From Plymouth Rock, to Bunker Hill, to Lexington and Concord, to the Freedom Trail, to Faneuil Hall. All the things kids across America learn about in social studies (or at least used to learn) happened here.
Well, the town of Arlington celebrates “Colonial Day” day so kids can reenact the history of the state they live in. And it’s apparently something that kids in particular look forward to a lot:
An annual tradition for third-graders in all of Arlington, Colonial Day is a chance for students to dress-up and actually re-enact all the things they have studied in their History class’s unit on Colonial Times. The students churn butter, dip candles, play Colonial games, punch tins, make sachets and wear their Colonial best. “This is a great hands-on experience,” said PTO Co-President Kristen Garrigus, one of the parents helping to run the event. As for the third-graders themselves, they all took to the games and even practiced some on their own during free play.
One group of girls, in particular, spent part of the morning playing “Oats and Beans and Barley Grow,” a game they likened to Ring Around the Rosy, only ” a lot more fun,” explained Peirce third-grader Venice Mountain-Zona. The costumes are kept through the years and passed down. The district has been doing the event so long, it is not easy to say when it started. “I know high schoolers who still talk about Colonial Day,” said Brenda Kokubo, one of the organizers at Peirce. As fun as it is for the students, the parents also join in the fun, dressing up, playing the games and helping to facilitate the transitions between activities.
So let me get this straight. Kids learn about history, pickup valuable life skills such as sewing, and they still have a great time? Obviously no one would ever have a problem with this, right? Oh wait, I forgot – it’s 2017 and everything is offensive to everyone. And this is the same town that banned the pledge of allegiance in schools. Here’s an email sent from Arlington School Committee President Paul Schilchtman, which was drafted by superintendent Kathleen Bodie. The email is italicized and our rational thoughts follow in bold…..
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:10:40 -0400
From: Paul Schlichtman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Leah Okumura <email@example.com> Cc: A-List <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: [arlington] sad – finding a good solution for Colonial Message-ID:
Please see the following email from Superintendent Kathleen Bodie pertaining to Colonial Day.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Within the past few weeks, we have received feedback from parents regarding the decision to eliminate costumes as part of third graders’ Colonial Day experience. While there were many families who welcomed this change, there were other families who felt that the change so close to the event did not seem reasonable given the time and resources parents had already put into planning their child’s costume.
The intent of the original decision was to create a more inclusive experience for all students in response to concerns expressed by families and community members who believe that because of their family’s history or cultural heritage, the historical narrative of Colonial Day has not been reflective of what their ancestors may have experienced. We realize, however, that information about this change could have been communicated more clearly, earlier in the year, and have been informed by additional input from parents and community members.
So let me get this straight. We can only encourage third graders to participate in a historical reenactment, so long as the history being reenacted is something their ancestors experienced? So that eliminates Colonial Day for pretty much everyone, except for the one percent of kids who can trace their lineage in Arlington back to the 17th and 18th century. Did your ancestors immigrate through Ellis Island? If not, then Colonial Day does NOT represent your history, and thus should not be forced upon you in school. Because any kind of history that makes you feel uncomfortable should be forgotten about.
For this year, therefore, in the elementary schools that have a “Colonial Day,” students will be given the option of wearing a colonial costume, but will not be required to do so. Students are also welcome to dress in a manner that represents their culture and heritage.
So…….then it’s not really Colonial Day anymore. It’s multicultural day. Latino kids have to come dressed in sombreros, Irish kids come with kilts and lice, Italians come with meatballs and gravy, and black kids come dressed for Kwanzaa. Because what better way to learn about different cultures than to pretend like no other cultures exist besides your own? What do you think this is, some sort of melting pot??
Next fall, we will convene a committee of parents, teachers, and administrators to examine Colonial Day as an event – how it fits into the social studies curriculum and how it can be meaningful, relevant, and inclusive for all students. We apologize for any undue stress or confusion that the recent announced change may have caused. We hope to use this experience to create a wider dialogue about issues of diversity and multiculturalism in our schools.
Hey morons, we’re talking about third graders here. They’re just trying to get dressed up and churn some butter. They’re not actually imperializing or killing Native Americans. They haven’t learned about any of that stuff yet, but they will when they’re older. But for now they’re just kids getting dressed up and reenacting life like kids their age who lived in Arlington did 300 years ago. Oh, and ZERO KIDS have a problem with this day. They all like it. It’s jut a few whiny WHITE parents, who are riddled with white guilt, and feel bad that their kids dress up as the “oppressors.”
This is School Commitee President Paul Schlichtman:
Check out his Twitter and Facebook page and you’ll understand what we’re dealing with here:
— Paul Schlichtman (@schlichtman) April 18, 2017
He’s just another partisan hack trying to make children swallow his politics. These are the type of people who become administrators in the public school system.
*April Letter to Parents Regarding Colonial Day:*
The modification of not having students dress up for Colonial Day is related to Arlington Public School’s commitment to creating an inclusive community. Over the past few years there have been some concerns expressed by families and community members who believe that because of their family’s history or cultural heritage that the historical narrative of Colonial Day is not reflective of what their ancestors might have experienced. Learning about our country’s history is a significant part of the social studies curriculum, but doing so in a way that is inclusive and welcoming to all of our students is also important. Ultimately we want to everyone to feel like part of the “we” and not the “they” in our community.
Once again, “some concerns expressed by families and community members.” In other words, they’re allowing a group of small but vocal perpetual malcontents to dictate policy in the elementary schools, and take away a day that kids enjoyed while also learning about American history. But then again, the needs and desires of the children aren’t nearly as important as the sense of satisfaction a social justice warrior gets when they arbitrarily decided what is and isn’t offensive.
We feel that the modifications we have made as an administrative team will help make all families and students feel comfortable and preserve the main social studies curricular goals. We would encourage parent volunteers to continue dressing up in colonial clothing so that students still have the experience of seeing what people wore in colonial times. In the end, we want all of our students to feel excited and welcome every day when they enter our school buildings. Small steps like this which open up a greater dialogue about our wonderful, diverse community contribute towards this aim.
Kathleen Bodie, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools email@example.com 781-316-3501. Paul Schlichtman Arlington School Committee firstname.lastname@example.org “I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wonderful and diverse community? Ummm….check the facts. Less than 3% of the town is black or Latino. As usual, “diversity” in these wealthy, elitist Boston suburbs really just means “we have some Asian people.” Most kids in the district are white, and those white kids more likely than not have no genealogical ties to any sort of colonists in Arlington. Yet they suffer through the pain and oppression of dressing up like people who they have no attachment to once a year. Remarkable.
From the looks of it on the Facebook machine, most Arlington residents seem to agree with Turtleboy:
But your kid’s memories are actually microagressions and hate speech, and it simply will not be tolerated by the tolerance patrol.
Of course the superintendent could easily just tell these parents to calm down. But that would require actual guts, and people like superintendent Kathleen Bodie don’t get to where they are by having any sort of principles. They get to where they are by being as politically correct as possible, and giving the loudest person in the room whatever they want to shutup.
The bottom line is that yes, there have been lots of racial and social injustices perpetuated by a large amount of white people in this country’s history. These injustices should most definitely be taught in schools, as any well-rounded graduate should learn about history from more than just a Eurocentric point of view. But we’re talking about third graders here. They don’t have the mental capacity to get into that yet. They just like to get dressed up and see what life was like for kids their age in Arlington 300 years ago. And God forbid we allow children to be children.
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