REEDSBURG, Wis. (AP) – An elementary-school event in which kids were encouraged to dress as members of the opposite gender drew the ire of a Christian radio group, whose angry broadcast prompted outraged calls to the district office.
Students at Pineview Elementary in Reedsburg had been dressing in costume all last week as part of an annual school tradition called Wacky Week. On Friday, students were encouraged to dress either as senior citizens or as members of the opposite sex.
A local resident informed the Voice of Christian Youth America on Friday. The Milwaukee-based radio network responded by interrupting its morning programming for a special broadcast that aired on nine radio stations throughout Wisconsin. The broadcast criticized the dress-up day and accused the district of promoting alternative lifestyles.
“We believe it’s the wrong message to send to elementary students,” said Jim Schneider, the network’s program director. “Our station is one that promotes traditional family values. It concerns us when a school district strikes at the heart and core of the Biblical values. To promote this to elementary-school students is a great error.”
I have two points to make. First of all the parents are paranoid. I’ve watched Monty Python and never felt the need to dress in drag. Even if I did dress in drag my guess is I would simply feel very uncomfortable, scared even. There are aspects of our culture that do more than tolerate (but step short of promote) the transgender and transvestite subculture. Take for example Thomas Beatie going on Oprah and complaining that people may want to kill her kid. Wacky Week doesn’t do that. Most schools, to my knowledge, have weeks like this. The student body hosts it and kids are allowed to dress up in various wacky costumes. It is not meant to promote alternative lifestyles (after all, it’s not like I’ve grown to become a pirate or live all day in my pajamas), it is meant to give kids a break and make them feel like that day isn’t the average school day.
I don’t believe such days make kids feel it is okay to dress in drag. Rather the title of the week is “Wacky Week”. If anything LGBT rights groups should be suing. The entire idea is that it’s ridiculous and out of the ordinary. Not that it is to be accepted. I’m sure that if a kid came in taking hormones, cutting his or her penis or breasts off, and dressing in the garb of the opposite sex, that would cause a stir among the student body. This doesn’t desensitize them.
That said, I also think the parents have a right to complain. Now, the elect few readers of this blog (both of you) may (or may not) wonder where I am going with this. “Surely,” one of you may hypothetically say, “Surely if this day is harmless then the parents should be rebuked.” However, I don’t believe that point A necessitates point B. As an example, suppose someone takes your favorite toy and tries to do something with it you think will damage it. Your friend constantly assures you nothing bad will happen, and behold, nothing does. Now, at that point do you trust your friend to do whatever he or she wants to do with your toys? No, he or she is a douche bag.
Similar with this instance. Yes, I don’t believe “Wacky Week” promotes alternative lifestyles, but the fact is that parents don’t want their kids doing it. I remember I was around eleven when I moved into my new home. My parents always told me not to cross a certain street because they feared for my safety. I always thought that was a dumb rule, but I didn’t complain, I always complied. One afternoon, however, my friends and I decided to sell lemonade door to door. Rather than limiting ourselves to one site of the street, we decided we would solicit both sides. Somehow my parents found out and I was grounded for two weeks. Now, nothing bad happened to me. I will maintain nothing bad would probably ever happen to me. I still find it ridiculous that I was able to cross a four lane highway without my parents watching, but by the time I moved into this residential neighborhood I wasn’t able to cross a two lane street. Regardless, I believe my parents were in the right, because they are my parents and they are responsible for me. For all I know something bad could have happened to me. I also know they only did it because they feared for my safety and I wouldn’t want to cause them grief.
Schools should be a service to parents, not an apparatus of the state. I don’t believe it is moral for a government to force parents to give up their children so that they may be taught things parents don’t want their children to know. Of course I make an exception to the rule when the parents fail to properly raise their child, making them deficient in public life. But if a parent doesn’t want their child exposed to certain ideas or concepts, I say they shouldn’t be exposed. Parents are the ones ultimately responsible in the eyes of God, not bureaucrats. When considering something as trivial as Wacky Week, I don’t believe that the government should impose it on parents because of its triviality, I think they should give up. I am glad that they did. Public schools should be by parents for parents.
This truth is the ultimate issue with public schools, on the moral edge. But I admit there are many dilemma’s concerning education, which I suppose is ripe for another post.