March 24, 2011

What Are We Teaching Our Kids?

Growing up, I was always taught compassion from my parents, relatives and everyone around me. You're not supposed to make fun of those who have special needs, you don't tease other kids. But in the end, kids will be kids. There's always playground antics. But in the end of all that, someone still gets hurt.

In Florida, a 6 year old girl has an allergic reaction to peanuts. Actually, it's so severe, it anything with a peanut residue. Now, the school has made accommodations for her. According to the school district, "the severe allergy falls under the Disabilities Act and that by law, it has to accommodate the student." 

However, parents of the other first graders are bitching up a storm, because their kids have to take a minute or two out of their overly busy afternoon schedule, to wash their hands and rinse their mouths before school and after lunch. Seriously? First off, It's excellent hygiene. If they weren't doing it before, guess what, they are now.

One parent, who doesn't agree with the 6 year old girl being in the public school has gone on to say, "We want our children to be treated fairly and to not lose out on their school day and their school time.” Treated fairly? Does this lady actually think this 6 year old girl asked for this? How about teaching your child and your students compassion. Unless this child is a grave threat to any other student, by passing along a virus that will harm them as well, I say ease up. She also states that "the 30-minute daily regime her daughter goes through adds up to 2 1/2 hours a week, or up to 80 hours each school year." Really? Two and half hours a week is all it takes to teach someone compassion?

One parent even said if it was his children, he would keep them home. Okay, so here's a challenge to this parent, with no excuses. Keep your child home the rest of the year. Home school them, change your daily routine to evolve around the child. I bet you will be begging for the kid to go back to school. 

The protest from the parents isn't to ease up on the restrictions. It's because they're afraid. They afraid to teach their own child compassion. 

 This reminds me of a story from back home. There was a young boy who so desperately wanted to play football. But due to his medical condition, one good hit to the chest would kill him. He would go to every game, cheer the teams all the time. he even went as far as becoming part of the cheer leading squad. Finally, before it was going to be too late for him. His parents and the football league came to a decision. Yes, it was a decision that put their child in harms way. But it was also a decision, showing the young man, that because he had a condition, no one was giving up on him or separating him from the others. 

All of the other teams were made aware of this man and his condition. Now, he didn't get a lot of playing time. But he did get some. When he was placed into the field, the other coaches gave their team the heads up. This young man scored a few touchdowns. But he also got hit as much as all the other kids. But the difference here was, the other teams knew they couldn't hit him int he chest. So they did the next best thing, they tackled him like they were taught.

When this young man came off the field each time, you could see the smile on his face. He went on to graduate high school and is even a father now.

So all I have to say to these extreme parents in FL, lighten up. Teach your kids. The wold is not safe, the world isn't fair. If these kids grow up with compassion now, who knows, one of them might be the one who finds the cure for this illness or any others like it.

I for one, say let the girl stay in school. Let her be around her friends. Let her learn. Let others learn from her.
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