Take 2 of The Backpack Attack
It has become impossible for me to ignore this entire backpack issue but the sheer number of people requesting a response is too much to ignore. I am simply sick with what happened today to some students. The point of having a dress code in school was to level the economic playing field. When my son, Colton, was in middle school his therapist didn’t want to pull him out of class for therapy exercises. The rationale was to not single-out a student as being different. Even though Steve and I both said that therapy was more important than peer perception, it wasn’t done. So, imagine how surprised I was to learn today that administrators at GRC purposely singled-out students in front of their peers for lacking the ability to purchase a mesh backpack.
Just like you, my mind is incapable of comprehending why anyone would find it necessary to go to such links to shame and embarrass students. Any attempt at school safety was completely undone the second the decision was made to haul kids into the library for a grotesque display of “the haves and the have nots”.
Before I go further, let me make clear a few things. First, I am speaking opinions that I share with others, some involved in Stand Up Clark County and some not. This is our exercise of our constitutional right to free speech. Secondly, anyone attempting to make this blog about them should save themselves the time and effort. These are statements about a public school system not an individual. If you are an individual, in charge in some capacity within the school system , and you take offense to these remarks, it is only the guilt of your own conscience. Third, I am in no way attempting to create public outrage. I am, in fact, attempting to contain it by encouraging others to peaceful, meaningful and acceptable ways of challenging public regime by elected officials.
Today, a report was released stating that Kentucky scored the absolute lowest in the area of communication between school district policy makers and the community. That has been the central focus of Stand Up Clark County from the onset. There is no way this school district will ever be successful as long as there is no open, on-going dialogue between school officials and the community. At this point there is nothing more the community can do. We have spoken. We’ve made our point and cast our ballots. We must now rely upon our governing educational system to, at the very least, attempt to find a middle ground.
As parents, it is imperative for us to keep a cool, rational mind. We are an example to our kids. There is no harder job than for a parent to remain calm, cool and collected when we perceive our kids have been done wrong. But it is only with a clear mind that we will achieve success for them.
Today, some students at GRC, got an embarrassing lesson in the ramifications of poor leadership. To those students I would like to say, you have done nothing wrong. You are not less than anyone. You are valuable, intelligent and worthy. You have a tremendous future in front of you. In the words of Elenore Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Do not consent. Do not be angry. See this moment as an opportunity for personal growth. It takes a tremendous amount of character to avoid responding when you feel slighted, yet to do so offers unspeakable rewards.
To the students that had mesh backpacks and were not singled-out, I ask you to go out of your way to help your peers. Show your own integrity by refusing to participate in singling-out students already scorned. The difference in what you carry on your back means nothing if it doesn’t make a difference in how you behave.
School employees, I am well aware that many of you were surprised, disappointed and embarrassed by today’s events. My advice to you is to always act appropriately but to also stand up for your students. If you are unable or unwilling to go to your supervisors at the very least go to the kids. Make sure your students are not carrying emotional burdens in-place of mesh backpacks.
As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our kids always respect employees of the educational system, yet they need to know they have support. Talk to your student about today’s events and determine the level of importance your student assigned to it. Gage their thoughts and emotions without inserting your own. Afterwards, if you feel it necessary I suggest you address the board at the next meeting, which I believe is January 15th.
All of that being said I must again clarify the legality of these statements. I, Joan Graves, am writing these words based upon the overwhelming response to this backpack issue. I am not in any way telling anyone how to behave. I am only pointing out a legal, peaceful, and logical way to express an opinion on the matter at hand. I am in no way encouraging community outrage, contempt, hatred or conspiracy. These remarks are not intend to annoy, slander, annoy, ridicule or defame anyone within the school system. And absolutely, under no circumstance would I be intending to alarm an individual, disturb his/her fragile emotional state or in any other way cause harm or injury to another’s reputation.
So……Stand Up Clark County but only if you want to.
- Back to School Shopping: 5 Backpacks for Under $10 (savings.com)
- Fabulous Fall Backpacks (fabsugar.com)