Dear School Principal:
In an attempt to balance the extremely patriotic event that had been planned for 9-11-02 for our students, my class worked on a unit about the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. We looked at library books and discussed the fact that the people were like us in many ways. A problem seemed to develop when I taught, as our social studies text lead me, that in order to be good community members we should discuss our problem and try to work out differences and that perhaps our government leaders might try to do this too. I was trying to put a human face on these countries and to suggest hope for a peaceful world. When we placed our banner about Afghanistan and Iraq in the hallway across from the huge US flag, I was only trying to offer balance to the world view that we were teaching our students. It seemed very important that as teachers we help the children move beyond thinking only of our sorrow and ourselves in current world events. I felt this was even more important when you approved the visit of the US marine into classrooms at our school to discuss his recent return from battle in Afghanistan and to share artifacts of battle with 8 year old children. After 20 years of teaching at this school I was filled with sorrow when asked to immediately remove our HOPE FOR A PEACEFUL WORLD banner from the hallway since it had been deemed “too political”. I am no longer sure this is such a free society, since war has administrative approval, but peace is “too political” even in elementary school!
Is there hope for a peaceful world?……………This hope could begin with our children!
1st grade teacher