Thursday, November 1, 2007

Handled Perfectly

Yesterday in Ontario some secondary students came to school dressed as KKK members. A black student was upset by the costumes and complained to the vice principal. The vice principal told her that

"It's Halloween and that people are going to be wearing costumes … and that all he could do was see if she wants to take it off or not."
They talked to the student wearing the costume, who expressed remorse and presumably took off the costume. That's exactly the right way to handle the situation. If the same thing happened elsewhere, nine times out of ten the school would have demanded the costume be removed, probably suspended the student, and maybe banned all costumes at school, or required approval from the principal. Cheers to Cornwall Collegiate Vocational School for upholding free speech in a public institution and acknowledging that you don't have the right not to be offended, while still being respectful and compassionate. Instead of reinforcing childish behaviour and punishing the innocent, they helped the students solve their problem like adults, and surely both students came away happier and more mature. Full marks.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

As I believe that we should have free speach I also believe that we should have compasion for all!!! I do not believe that this was part of free speach...I wonder as the African decendant girl said that if she was going to a Jewish School and dressed up as a Nazi no one should be offended. Same goes for any other race, or religion. Also...I can say that we have ALL been discriminated against for such things and race, weight, colour ect...and we all know this does not feel good and is not right. Free speach is great when it does not hurt another person. Other wise...if you feel that way..great..but keep it to yourself. I feel the school should have told the kids to take off the sheets...and if they did not...to ask them to leave...and I do believe that the nooses were the last straw. I am for peace, love and acceptance of everyone. I am also wondering why high school kids need to dress up?? If they want to have a party do it as an after school dance but I thought school was for teaching and learning. I guess not on Halloween. I dont think these girls need to be expelled but should spend a day learning what the KKK did to innocent people and spend a day with people that have been affected by it.

Jolly Bloger said...

Hey, thanks for reading.

I know where you're coming from, but I don't agree. Yes it is nice when no one gets hurt, but that doesn't make it right to stop people from saying certain things. Life isn't always nice, and it is not ok to censor something just because it hurts feelings.

You don't need freedom to do nice things, anyone can do nice things. Freedom only means something if you have the freedom to be stupid and wrong. It is good that you speak out against things you find offensive, that's healthy. It becomes unhealthy when instead of arguing you try to stop it from happening in the first place. School is in fact for teaching and learning, and that is exactly what happened. The people involved surely learned some very important lessons which they would not have learned if the school had resorted to bans and punishments.