I wish I didn't have to wonder if I should write this

Jul 5, 2006
This is absoultely sickening.

A Jewish family in a small town in Delaware was basically chased out of the school district by an aggressively Christian curriculum, and because they feared persecution for the legal suit they're now bringing. (Good for them.) They and another family, who have decided to remain anonymous, are being represented by personal lawyers who are working with the ACLU.

The list of complaints is a long list of tiny things -- and I mean that not to be dismissive in any way, because a long list of tiny oppressions is a terrible thing, but really they don't seem like things that would be difficult to change. And that's the problem. Don't bring Bibles to school to give to your students? Pray in the name of God instead of Jesus? Are these really awful concessions to make?

My experience in a very Christian community high school wasn't nearly as bad, but some of the things on the list spark memories. (My biology teacher was required to teach two days of religion because half the class threatened to walk out when he introduced evolution. I was shocked when I went to college to find that this sort of experience was so rare.)

Most especially, though, I remember the Indian girl I made friends with my sophomore year. I was already flirting with Paganism by then, but my experience of other cultures was minimal, and I was enthralled by the Hindu altars around her apartment when she invited me over for tea after school. I never got to know her very well; her family had moved to town because her dad was hired by the major local employer, but they couldn't deal with being the "weird ones" any longer and they moved to a larger city. My sister just graduated from the same high school, and while it seems there's a little more diversity now, a dozen instead of two non-WASP students is a small improvement.

The situation in Delaware seems to have been malicious, at least after a certain point -- an awful sense of entitlement that crowded out any sympathy these people might have had for the family they were ostracizing. But it isn't always malicious; most of the oppression going on at my high school was out of neglect more than anything else. It's awful to think, though, that it's so easy for some to cross the line from entitlement into anti-Semitism. I hate to think what Pagan teenagers would do -- in many cases, probably are doing -- in a school like that.


soleclaw said...

I just finished reading the article and almost couldn't believe it.

I say almost because I spent 3 years of my high school career in a school that sounds similar to the one in the article. Our school had FCLA club meetings, but no other meetings for religious groups.

Not to mention that the African American population was so low (a max of 8 black students in a school of 800-900) that the school didn't even recognize Black History Month. That was the biggest shocker for me as a new student. My home town (Gahanna, OH) always studied black history and I always enjoyed it.

It's schools like this that cause me to either not want to move back South, or to homeschool/privately educate my daughter.

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