While all of us are focused on the Texas School Board insanity, it's really important to remember it's not limited to Texas. There are a lot of "off the cliff" school districts, boards and administrators out there. Norfolk, Virginia is a shining example.
Oakwood Elementary's principal was placed on administrative leave Friday as school officials investigated why life like, 4-inch-long plastic fetus dolls were given to dozens of third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students.
On Thursday, the school staffer thought to be responsible for handing out the dolls was placed on leave.
I read this twice to be sure I wasn't imagining it. Seriously? I cannot imagine my reaction as a parent to my child coming home with such an atrocity.
Even though the article didn't mention it specifically, I would be willing to bet the students receiving these "gifts" were girls, not boys, too. That's what we need...to intimidate and indoctrinate the girls at a young age while giving boys a pass. Good job, Virginia.
This followed a blast aimed at the very same school by the ACLU for the principal's invitation to students and teachers alike to participate in prayer and Bible study.
Both of these incidents point to shameless efforts on the part of the extreme religious right to indoctrinate children rather than educate them.
Editorial comment follows:
I have three children. Two have graduated high school, moved on to the military in one case and college in the other. My third is wrapping up her sophomore year.
If anyone tried half of what these lunatics are doing with my kids, there'd be holy hell to pay. I'd be in front of every school board meeting reminding them that public schools have a duty NOT to shove any religion or moral instruction down my children's throat, because state indoctrination runs counter to a functional republic with responsible citizens.
In fact, my daughter is reading "A Child of Hitler: Germany In The Days When God Wore A Swastika" as I write. As a somewhat engaged parent, I didn't just buy the book and hand it off to her. I skimmed most of it and read three chapters (including the ending) in depth. Then I handed it to her with this warning: "When you read this, consider how similar efforts may be happening in the United States right now, today. Then think about ways to stop that."
"A Child of Hitler" is written by Alfons Heck. It's an autobiography of his history as a leader of the Hitler Youth, a role he was groomed for beginning in the first grade. Heck spares nothing in the telling. It is not apologetic nor does it soft-pedal the consequences of his activity. Betrayal of friends, violence, and death are all part of the fabric of Heck's youth.
Then, as now, God was used as a hammer to justify man's evil. But this doesn't happen in a vacuum. It happens when people stop paying attention, when they let themselves get so distracted by whatever distracts them -- whether it's Facebook or a round of golf -- and they become complacent.
We're on the edge of one of the most dangerous cliffs I've seen in my lifetime, where our national values are in danger of being hijacked by extremists as dangerous (if not more) as Al Qaeda. The damage done already is deep, wide and ugly.
I can't stress this enough. Even if you don't have children, please pay attention to what is happening in the schools in your neighborhood. Those children are our future. If they're turned into dogma-spouting automatons, we're all going to be off the cliff.
And yes, I did hijack the title of John Amato and Dave Neiwert's new book to illustrate the point. The story they tell can be only the beginning, or possibly a turning point, depending on what we decide to do.
If I lived in that Virginia school district, they'd wish the ACLU was their biggest problem. Just sayin'.