Gay rights on museum bus?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by sue35, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 2, 2013

    Our 6-8th graders are having a museum bus come to school later this month. It is a 45 foot bus that has a museum in it with exhibits on the First Amendment. I teach 7/8 grade. The 8th graders are just finishing up the Constitution so this museum fits in nicely.

    There is an exhibit that talks about freedom of speech/expressions and goes into gay rights. Basically it is a video of a school where students made t-shirts supporting gay rights and the desire for it to be protected by the school policy. A group of Christian students made t-shirts that stated how this was morally wrong and is again their God and their rights. In the end the school board adds homosexuality to the list of things protected against bullying and such.

    Since our school is Catholic, there is some thought of the students skipping this exhibit. Our school is rather "old school" and this could upset many teachers/principal. I think the 6th grade teacher is having her students skip it.

    What would you do? For reasons I can't explain, asking the principal is not an option. I am afraid I might be letting my own beliefs (which are very different than the Catholic Church) get in the way.
     
  2.  
  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Mar 2, 2013

    Sheltering kids from things outside of "societal norms" is only doing a disservice to them and, by extension, society. The kids should be given all of the information and be allowed to draw their own conclusions.
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,353
    Likes Received:
    804

    Mar 2, 2013

    Like anyone, I have strong opinions on many things. I am sure you do too. I have realized that if I only go with my thoughts and beliefs and leave out the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of my P, parents, and students, I will have a very short teaching career.

    I think not knowing your P's feelings on such an issue is dangerous. If you are scared to talk to him on this issue, how is it going to feel if you go against his wishes on this issue, and he only finds out about it from angry parents? I'd love to tell you it won't cost you your job, but I wouldn't be being honest.

    I would suggest through a very carefully written e-mail, I'd ask him what he suggests to do. If you are afraid to do this, then I think you have your answer of what to do. Your P will most likely find out. If you believe in this issue, you need to stand up for it not go behind your P's back. I have seen what happens when teachers hope the P doesn't find out. That is not something I would wish on you.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Mar 2, 2013

    Has anyone considered sending an opt out form home to families regarding this? Parents who send their kids to religious affiliated schools generally share the fundamental beliefs of that religion (regardless of whether anyone here agrees with those beliefs or not)...Let them make an informed choice.
     
  6. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 2, 2013

    I can't ask my principal. It has nothing to do with being afraid, and I truly can't talk about it but just assume asking is not an issue.

    I hadn't thought of permission slips. That might work. But the kids will be going to the exhibits in pairs and will see the video no matter what, because it is a small(ish) bus. Maybe on the permission slip I could send them to the website and mention that is has mature themes (not in that wording, I'm just tired now and can't think) and have them decide?
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    6,167
    Likes Received:
    1,576

    Mar 2, 2013

    I old go with an opt out form for the hole hing, not just a part.

    A short note outlining the entire exhibit, and then an option to opt out. I would have an issue with the choice to skip just that part. What if someone has an issue with only the part? Is that just too bad for them?
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,353
    Likes Received:
    804

    Mar 2, 2013

    I think you owe it to the parents to be completely honest with them. Allow them to know that about the exhibit and what it contains. If you withhold that information from the parents, because you are concerned about their negative responses, that is not fair to the parents. Saying that there is mature material isn't being honest with them. Tell the parents the truth and let them decide. If you can't do this, then you are risking your job by going to the exhibit knowing it might be against the wishes of the parents and administration. You can take that risk. Maybe it is worth it. I do want to warn you that it is a large risk.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 2, 2013

    Hmmm... If this were a public school I'd give no thought to this. Being a religious school I think it's different. What does the Catholic Church say about homosexuality? I'd consider that first. if they are very opposed to homosexuality, I'd guess I'd outline the different exhibits and have a passive permission form (I don't like only a box to opt out...but my personal beliefs are causing that). Anyone without permission must return the form saying so. I realize people would disagree with my choice, but I think that's the route I'd take.

    That said, I think it should be a perfectly acceptable video to anyone.
     
  10. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 2, 2013

    I worked in a Catholic school for 3 years prior to where I am now. I would definitely write up a letter letting parents know what the exhibit is all about and have them let you know if they would prefer their child not see that particular exhibit. I'm sure some of the parents will be okay with it, since it's just showing an issue where both sides are exercising their freedom of speech. But for those that aren't okay with it (and believe me - working in a Catholic school, you will have plenty that will be very upset that you let their child see this without their permission), you can maybe have those kids hang out with the 6th grade class whose teacher is avoiding it altogether.

    And I hear you on the fact that your beliefs don't mesh with the school's...that's a big reason I don't work in a Catholic school anymore.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,116

    Mar 2, 2013

    A bit off topic, but did you think this might become an issue when you initially accepted a job in a Catholic school? Or did you not know the church's beliefs?
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 2, 2013

    I also agree that if they are going to opt out, then they should just be exempt from the whole thing-otherwise I think it's doing a disservice to the whole point of the exhibit. (I think it's a shame parents would go this route it certainly sounds like a valuable segment for kids-it could apply in many different ways to their lives, especially the anti-bullying sentiment).
     
  13. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 2, 2013

    Oh, I knew the church's beliefs. I was born and raised a Catholic and went to a Catholic school my whole life. It was the only job I could get at the time.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,799
    Likes Received:
    1,167

    Mar 2, 2013

    Off topic, yes, czacza, though eyebrow-raising on other grounds.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 2, 2013

    I know it's been discussed here many times teachers working for a religious school when they don't practice the given religion...most often it's Catholic. So it happens a lot, and especially when it's difficult finding a teaching position in so many areas, it's not surprising a teacher would find herself at a school outside of her belief system. It's also very possible a person practices a religion at the time of hire and then changes to no longer agree with the religion. I don't guess I understand why it's "interesting"...
     
  16. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 2, 2013

    Thanks you all for your opinions. How would you phrase the permission slip? Originally, I was just going to give them the website where it explains each exhibit in detail and them tell if they has any questions or concerns they could email me. This way I am not phrasing anything in a negative light. I could go into more detail on the slip but I really want the parents to read all the details and they won't fit on the slip.

    Should I have them check a Yes or No box instead of emailing me? If so, what should it say? I am totally on my own here so I need some help! Is this better than just skipping the exhibit like the 6th graders?

    Also, as for my beliefs not meshing with the Catholic Church I clearly knew that when I accepted the job. I had actually gotten an offer from a very progressive school but went for this one. While I do not agree with their stance on abortion or homosexuality (and some other smaller things) I have never had it come up in class. I am capable of teaching catholic values to the kids, and I do love the sense of community my school has:)
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 2, 2013

    I would write something like this...but I would write it much better. Haha. :)

    Dear Families,

    We are excited to provide students the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the First Ammendment by experiencing Company Name's mobile museum. Exhibits will incude:

    *blah, blah, blah
    *blah, blah, blah
    *Free

    HOLD ON.... Stopping mid thought there. Sorry. But you know, the more I reread your first post in order to fill in my letter, I just don't think this should be an issue and I don't think I'd make it one. It's not as though, based on what you've shared, there is a big "gay rights" exhibit. It seems like it's about free speech which uses the students' experiences involving gay issues at school to help explain free speech. It's the real word. It presents both sides. It doesn't likely force anything upon museum goers. I would put a blurb about the upcoming experience in the classroom newsletter, but that's it.
     
  18. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 2, 2013

    That is exactly what I think! But I am not coming at this with conservative views, which is where I teach. I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill and its hard to see if a permission slip would be doing that. Here is the website link:

    http://www.mccormickfoundation.org/page.aspx?pid=586
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 2, 2013

    Thanks for sharing the link. I'll look more in a bit to see if it influences my opinion, but after reading the intro on guide page as found below, it would make me feel just rotten to then not have students learn about the FREEDOM of these things... Seems so wrong. You know? :)

    ("The Freedom Express is a 45-foot traveling museum that offers visitors an opportunity to explore their First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Interactive exhibits and thought-provoking artifacts illustrate how the First Amendment enables a healthy democracy, where we can freely exchange ideas, consider multiple perspectives, and act on issues that matter to us.")
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 2, 2013

    Okay, me again...sorry.

    The exhibit in question is called "The Struggle Continues". The description begins: "The First Amendment gives us the right to express our views on current and controversial topics that matter to us. Debates over issues such as smokers' rights, gay marriage and private gun ownership—which are featured on the Freedom Express..." I really don't see that even a Catholic school would take much issue with this. At least I don't think they should.

    Let us know what you decide. :)
     
  21. bison

    bison Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 2, 2013

    I agree with JustMe's above posts. I don't really see why it should be an issue. Even if you don't support gay rights, it's NOT okay to bully anyone for any reason at school. I'm sure your school follows this practice. It's not a gay rights exhibit, it's an anti-bullying one.
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,004

    Mar 2, 2013

    I agree with JustMe and Czacza as well. Parents should be given a permission slip simply stating the exhibits. If the parents have a problem with it, their child can simply not attend and do a different activity.

    Permission slips are the norm for most schools so I don't think issuing them is really making a mountain out of a molehill. Most parents simply sign them without reading them, which could lead to issues later on when their students come home and tell them about what they learned, but you have a signed document saying they could come so there's not much to do at that point.
     
  23. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 3, 2013

    :yeahthat:
     
  24. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,942
    Likes Received:
    174

    Mar 3, 2013

    I think gays should have the same rights on the bus as anyone else. As for me I hate riding a bus. Give me a plane, train or car any day.
     
  25. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,203
    Likes Received:
    97

    Mar 3, 2013

    Let the kids make the decision for themselves.
     
  26. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 29, 2013

    It's interesting that teachers don't have to consult parents before discussing civil rights, but when they discuss gay rights there is this great controversy. I don't ever have any intention in consulting with parents first before making any statements regarding gay people being just as good and just as worthy as rights as straight people.
     
  27. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Messages:
    2,061
    Likes Received:
    2

    May 29, 2013

    I know you are worried about asking the principal, but I am also worried by not asking him, you could get yourself in big trouble. I would write a carefully worded email to him asking what to do.
     
  28. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 29, 2013

    I think you should definitely send permission slips home with the children. Parents do have the right to know what the exhibit contains and decide for themselves if they want their children to view the different exhibits.

    I would word the slip something like this:

    On (insert date), the Freedom Express museum will be visiting our school.

    <insert opening paragraph description of Freedom Express from the home page on their website>

    The purpose of this exhibit is to help our students understand the diversity of subjects to which the First Amendment applies and how those subjects impact our citizens individually and our nation as a whole.

    <insert paragraph description from The Struggle Continues>

    The Freedom Exhibit was asked to visit our school because we feel gives the students a chance to see real world examples of how the Constitution impacts the lives of all American citizens.


    Then add the obligatory lines of "Yes, my child may attend this exhibit" and "No, I prefer my child not attend this exhibit". I would place a line asking for parent signatures by each rather than a simple check box.
     
  29. bison

    bison Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 29, 2013

    This thread is from almost three months ago. The field trip has passed.
     
  30. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    913
    Likes Received:
    31

    May 29, 2013


    So we missed the bus??


    :lol:
     
  31. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,942
    Likes Received:
    174

    May 29, 2013

    Did they make the "gay exhibit" go to the BACK of the BUS?
     
  32. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 30, 2013

    I'm sorry. I kind of brought this up again by responding to the post. However, I was basically stating I don't think you should need parental permission to be open about equal rights for gays. Parents act as if they own their children and are the only ones that have a right to influence any of their opinions. Whatever happened to allowing kids to decide for themselves where they stand without censorship?
     
  33. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 30, 2013

    Since parents are the primary caregivers of their children, providing shelter, food, clothing, health care and all other things the kids have, they do "own" them in a sense and certainly have every right to teach their children the values they want them to have.

    As children grow and mature, they begin to develop the maturity to have a voice in some of those decisions and, eventually, start making some of those decisions themselves. Middle school is they time when children really begin exploring the process of establishing their own identity apart from their parents. Much of this process is trial and error as they try different things to see how they like it and also see what kind of reaction they get. This process will inevitably include wrong or bad decisions on the part of the child, all of which part of the learning process. As they get older, their identity and mental maturity becomes more established and they are able to make more decisions on their own.

    As for deciding where they stand for themselves, these kids were ages 12-14 (possibly 11-15. That is not considered old enough to be making "informed consent" on their own in our society. They are not old enough to make legal or medical decisions about their care or well-being on their own. Parental consent and/or advisement is still needed for those decisions. I realize their are those who ARE on their own at these ages and are making decisions on their own, but society in general does not consider that age old enough to make informed consent on their own.
     
  34. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 30, 2013

    Getting back to the original topic, I would like to know what decision the OP eventually made and if any parents voiced concerns or objections about the exhibit.
     
  35. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    166

    May 30, 2013

    I agree with all of this, and would add that these particular parents chose to put their children in a Catholic school. The Catholic church's stance is not supportive of gay rights.

    Let the parents be the parents. Educators do not have the right to override parents' moral beliefs.

     
  36. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,004

    May 30, 2013

    Parents essentially DO own their children until they come of age. And they certainly have a right to TRY to influence their kids opinions. In fact that's largely the main job of a parent. Whether or not they are successful is a case-by-case basis.

    Kids basically have limited rights as people and citizens until they come of age. That's not to say that even when their kids are entering middle age, parents won't still try to affect their kids decisions, regardless if the advice is welcome or not, as I can testify to. :rolleyes:
     
  37. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 30, 2013

    :agreed::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::agreed:
     
  38. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,942
    Likes Received:
    174

    May 30, 2013

    You must not work in the bible belt south..........
     
  39. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 30, 2013

    I don't think it should matter where you are. So you state you support equal rights for gays? What are the parents gonna say, "I want my children to hate and shun gay people."

    I actually do live in a somewhat Bible belt area but generally scare religious people off rather quickly for some reason so I don't really have to worry about them much.

    Although I'm not a fan of generalizing, Christians are pretty much the ones trying to ruin progress and open minded acceptance in this country and use The Bible to justify hateful beliefs. Nobody protests shaving beards, divorce, eating pigs, etc., but somehow a verse in Leviticus about homosexuals causes a great uproar.


    As far as the comments about parents owning their kids is concerned, yes they have a right to influence their children's opinions, but no they don't have ownership over them.

    I'll support the right for parents to remove influence of gay rights on their children's education under the condition that we get rid of Black History Month at schools, as this in the same way influences children in a way that some parents may not approve of as well.
     
  40. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,799
    Likes Received:
    1,167

    May 30, 2013

    SF_Giants66, you're skating on thin ice here - not with respect to championing gay rights, but by framing your post in a manner that seems calculated to offend.
     
  41. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 30, 2013

    So basically you're saying I'm not being tolerant enough of intolerance?
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 204 (members: 0, guests: 188, robots: 16)
test