Feminism in the Classroom–Folly or Fantasy?

Schools in America are open to a tremendous amount of criticism.  Much of it is even deserved.  However, the increasingly tight control of curriculum based on political correctness is an area that is worthy of conversation.

It’s kind of an open secret in education that we sanitize the hell out of things that don’t portray us in the best light.  The Civil War was fought because those fine, noble northerners found the idea of slavery morally reprehensible (forget the economy).  Lewis Carroll had a fabulous imagination that really resonated with children (redact the pedophilia).  Our involvement in Vietnam was a success (I’m not really sure how we’re able to keep that whopper floating–probably by arguing that we’re not all a bunch of communists–but somehow the myth perpetuates).

Therefore, the idea of facing head-on a subject that will without question raise controversy and–oh, my stars!–make kids think is invigorating.

That Feminism falls under that umbrella, though … I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I recently attended a fantastic training on inquiry-based instruction and assessment in an English Language Arts classroom (a fancy way to say “good English teaching”).  The presenter, who teaches at an inner-city school in New York City, shared lots of great strategies, techniques, and resources.

What stood out the most to me, though, was a unit she shared focused around feminism. It was absolutely mind-blowing … everything from evaluating the degree of impact made by Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen to analyzing the philosophies of Mary Wollstonecraft to ..

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No Hugs

I have serious boundary issues and Mysophobia (fear of germs) so I really don’t like to be touched. Even my family members know better than to hug me, or sit too close. I have a physical reaction to it. That’s not to say I don’t hug people, sometimes I do. I’ve been known to have a cuddle as well.

A while ago a friend sent me an article that said a ten second hug is actually a better mood stabilizer than any prescription. My response was, “I don’t buy it” mainly, because most of the time hugging puts me in a bad mood.  Then I thought about it, I hug my dogs a lot. Hugging them always puts me in a better mood…so there may be something to that theory.

When I stumbled upon an article that said Amber, a twelve-year-old girl, was given detention for hugging I was a little baffled. What kind of hug were we discussing? How does a hug get you suspended? Girls in my school used to hug each other all the time. Even if you just saw your friend ten minutes ago, their reappearance warranted a hug.

I read on, apparently this school in Australia has banned hugging. Amber violated that ban when she hugged a student goodbye and therefore was punished. A school banned hugging. No hugs. Ever.

The ban was put in place according to Gemma Preston, the principal of Abby Road Primary School, when students were giving “overenthusiastic” hugs resulting in bruises and other injuries. “This behavior was getting out of control with students hugging each other several times a day and this was becoming disruptive to classes,” said Preston. Sounds to me like someone didn’t get enough hugs and didn’t like it.

I get it, I used to see boys doing that to each other when I was in school. You squeeze and squeeze until the other person can’t breathe. That’s what kids do. I do not believe that so many hugs were given that it stopped learning. Furthermore, if hugging is the worst problem your school has—you’re in good shape.

What if the article my friend sent me is right? What if all those hugs actually stabilized and helped the moods of pre-teens? It would probably make learning a little easier and have a nice positive association to school. Why would you want to take that away?

Even as someone who is very against hugging, and touching I am very much against this hugging ban. I like all the kids at Abby Road Primary School should march into Principle Preston’s office and give her a big ole hug!



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WTF is Up With Schools Going All PC?

Photo of Wakefield Track and Field Sweatshirt

In the latest situation of political correctness run amok, a sports team from a Massachusetts is being criticized for their team sweatshirts proudly bearing the initials of its school and team—Wakefield Track and Field.

Um, yeah, that would be WTF.

From Fox News:

The Wakefield Track and Field Team in Wakefield, Mass, handed out the sweatshirts to team members last year after the season that had “WTF” printed on the back of the shirts, MyFoxBoston.com reports.

The superintendent of schools, Joan Landers, said that’s not how she wants the student population to be represented.

But several students, including Gregory Hampton-Boyd, told the TV station that they don’t find it offensive.

“It’s kinda funny,” he said. “It’s inappropriate but at the same time it stands for something else.”

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UK Schools Attempt to Ban ‘Distracting’ Skirts

photo of teenager in miniskirt pictures

Fifty years on from the introduction of the miniskirt in the 1960s, the miniskirt is still causing controversy. The item of clothing now faces a potential ban in schools in the UK.

A number of schools in the UK have banned skirts altogether for the new term this month and have insisted that girls wear trousers. In others, letters have been sent to parents to say that the current fashion for wearing skirts as short and tight as possible is causing problems in school and that teachers having to deal with the issues is distracting from teaching. The Guardian this week reported that at Kinross High School in Perthshire, some parents received a ‘stinging’ note telling them:

‘The length of your daughter’s skirt is such that she spends a great deal of time pulling it down. It detracts her attention from the learning process.’

And just last week a Scottish head teacher, Robert Kelly, caused outrage by suggesting that short skirts were encouraging ‘inappropriate thoughts’ among boys. Kelly referred to a recent anti-rape advert in his statement, which caused anger with Rape Crisis Scotland, who said that his comments sent the wrong message to teenage girls. Eileen Maitland, of RCS, said that:

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