Wednesday, May 28, 2008

In the limelight

A few days ago there was an article in the Herald, I can't for the life of me find it, or remember when it was written but it spurred me to write a response. The gist of the article was that some students at Chestermere Lake Middle School had worn home made T-shirts to school with slogans like "homophobia is wrong" and "homophobia is gay" with the "gay" scratched out and replaced with "lame". Anyway, the teachers sent the kids home and/or forced them to change their outfits. The teachers said that the shirts were offensive and could be taken the wrong way.
This is the letter I wrote in response to that article:

(They titled it "Out of Line")
"I am writing to express my disgust of the students at the Chestermere Lake Middle School. Wearing T-shirts with positive messages about homosexuality is a sure way to promote tolerance and understanding. How dare they upset the status quo by expecting people to be tolerant of others. [I had a period but the editor changed it to a ? for some reason...idiots] Their parents should be ashamed fo themselves for raising socially aware, kind children who try to defend the downtrodden. Hopefully, any readers will have picked up on my sarcasm. My disgust is aimed at the school staff. I'm not sure what could possibly be considered inappropriate about a shirt saying "homophobia is wrong." If the shirt had said "racism is wrong," would the school have shunted the kids out the door in a panic? As for statements that the shirts could have two different meanings, that is a load of bollocks. I think the teachers are woefully unaware of how savvy children are. As for people who found the T-shirts offencsive, perhaps it is your world view that is offensive - my heart goes out to any gay people you may come in contact with."

I thought that would be the end of it, but today there was a response to my letter.

(the Herald Title it "Teachable moment")
"Re: "Out of line," Letter, May 24.
It is unfortunate Sarah Rean was so quick to conclude that staff at Chestermere Lake Middle School were not aware of how "savvy our students are" and that our "world view is offensive." The T-shirts had the phrase "Homophobia is gay," not "Homophobia is wrong." I don't feel that wearing a shirt saying something is gay (with the connotation that it is stupid) is appropriate for an educational facility for students in grades 5 through 8. Some students I discussed this with suggested it was insulting to gay people to use the word in that way. School is a place of higher learning and respect, not the mall or the street.
This was a case of actions by a group of students who were not suitable for this venue. In Grade 6 social studies, we teach students about being politically active and fighting for their beliefs, yet we also stress that being a good citizen includes following rules and laws and being respectful of others. Our students are bright and are learning the best ways to express their beliefs. They will make mistakes along the way. I embrace this incident as a teaching opportunity on how to get our message across without breaking rules and being offensive to others.
Tracey Bowes,
Tracey Bowes teaches Grade 6 at Chestermere Lake Middle School."

So, I've written back, I don't know if they'll publish it but we'll see. My letter is:
"In response to Tracey Bowes response to my letter I feel I need to clarify a few things. According to the article in question, the children's T-shirts had the phrase "Homophobia is gay" with gay scratched out and "lame" written underneath. It was also reported that some of the T-shirts had the phrase "Homophobia is wrong." I was fully aware of the "gay" T-shirts but felt that using them as an example, while doing nothing to further my point, would be grammatically awkward as you can see from the above example. Actually, I found the "homophobia is gay" with the gay scratched out and replaced with "lame" to be a better example of the student's ability to wittily get their point across. In one stroke they said that homophobia is lame and that the word gay should not be used in a derogatory manner. Kudos again, to them.
You mentioned that some of the students you discussed "this" with suggested it was insulting to gay people to use the word in that way. Obviously they didn't get the point of the shirts either. I would much rather see the kids painting the word gay on a T-shirt than other words that have been used in the past. Perhaps these, "insulted" students should learn about irony.
You also mentioned that "school is a place of higher learning and respect, not the mall or the street." I agree wholeheartedly with that. However, if students do not learn respect at school, they most definitely won't learn it at the mall or on the street. I think you, and other administrative staff, must have missed the point these kids were trying to make. They obviously feel that there needs to be something said about the way homosexuals are treated. Instead of stifling them why don't you engage them in an honest debate?
I enjoyed the irony in your second paragraph. "we teach students about being politically active and fighting for their beliefs, yet we also stress that being a good citizen includes following rules and laws and being respectful of others." Apparently you are unable to see the contradiction in your own statement. Obviously your students felt that it was necessary for them to be politically active and fight for their beliefs in order to respect others (homosexuals). I'm sure they felt like the lone student in front of the tank in Tiananmen square. Hopefully their fighting spirits will survive your teaching them how to get your message across. They already know how to be inoffensive to others."

It looks like I just manage to piss everybody off. :D

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


WOW! 2 posts in one day, you're not going to know what hit you! Just writing to give a couple of updates, also to escape the cacophony in the kitchen (Chris is cutting holes in the arborite to fit the sink, also drilling something). Item number 1, I have acquired a job (maybe temporary, maybe permanent, who knows) it's 3 days a week at the Rockyview. The irony of it is, I applied for the job through the CHR's website but have been offered the job through as a temp position. Hilarious. Item number 2, we have someone coming round to look at the piano tonight so, fingers crossed, hopefully it'll sell! (I'll let you know later)

Don't say it!

I know, I know I'm a delinquent! I haven't written in about 500 years! Don't be mad though, the reason I haven't written is because my life is about as interesting as a lump of compost. LESS interesting, and less productive for that matter. Since my last proper post I have aged a year. Been put on hefty benzodiazepines to control my sleep disorder, been thrown in the psych ward at the hospital again and purchased a piano. So, long story!
I've been in and out of work for 5 months now. It's been extremely stressful for me emotionally and financially. As much as I like temping, it's just not reliable enough for me (emotionally or financially). I've begun the hunt for a proper job, hopefully part time, casual if need be. Chris is still working at the hotel, he's enjoying it but I don't think he feels challenging enough, he complains that all he does it move furniture all day. However, he has been promoted to supervisor and he got another raise today. I've told him to go in on Monday armed with some info and ask for a proper raise, he's still making far less than he technically should based on Calgary's job market. I'm doing all the research for him (as I'm a lazy bum who doesn't have her own work to do at the moment).
In April I had a BPD breakdown and wound up in the psych ward at the PLC. I was only in there for 2 days which just gave me enough time to get some help with my emotional distress. I'm also back to seeing Dr. Coll who is (hopefully) going to help me with my sleep disorder. Speaking of my sleep disorder. I'm no longer seeing Dr. M. He kept me waiting in the waiting room for over an hour (the third time he'd done this to me) so I told the receptionist that I was not going to wait for the "egocentric wind bag who loves the sound of his own voice" any longer and asked to be transferred to another doctor. I'm now seeing Dr. Flotre at the sleep institute and he's punting me back to Dr. Coll to deal with the disorder (if Dr. Coll is qualified). As for the drugs Dr. M. put me on, Dr. Coll is trying to wean me off of them because they're addicting, and he doesn't want me to build up a tolerance to them thus rendering them useless.
Dr. Stzukowski is getting me blood tests to test my fertility (so that as soon as my A1C is down, currently at 8.0%) I can get to work getting preggers. Poor Chris (cue the sad violin music) has to provide a sample to test whether he's the "problem". I'm finding it difficult to muster any sympathy for him as I've got to have a million blood tests, possibly a hysterosalpingogram and all he's got to do is provide a sample in a cup.

Maya is much better than she was last time I wrote. Her eye is fine. She's starting to develop those lumps again, but we figure that we'll just let them grow (they don't hurt her) and she can die with them. She's really slowed down a lot and is a lot more grey than even last month.

Mush, on the other hand, is not doing so well. In November she was diagnosed with panosteitis which means her bones are inflamed. She's been in a lot of pain on and off since February but we just figured it was part of her disorder and dismissed it. Finally, last weekend, she was in pain all day every day for 3 days (long weekend, vet was closed) we gave her baby Tylenol for the pain and I took her in first thing Tues. morning. Well, trouble is, she's twisted her back (probably when she first started exhibiting signs of pain in Feb.) So, she's on special medication, and she's confined to a small area so she can't run around and hurt her back any more. It's a long shot but she could potentially paralyse herself. She's not in any pain at the moment, thanks to the pills and hopefully the rest she's getting will give her back time to heal.

Alastar, the wunder cat is on antidepressants. He was peeing in strange places which is apparently a sing of obsessive compulsive disorder. The pills he's on are, technically anti-depressants, but work to control OCD as well. He was a bit gorked when we first put him on them but he's back to his old self and isn't peeing anywhere.

Murdoch is fine, we had him shaved except for a puff at the end of his tail, but health-wise, he's fine.
My parents and grandpa are going to Hawaii in about a week. That means that we get to look after Susie, Parsley and Ceasar for two weeks. Oh joy of joys!

I was at a garage sale and saw a 1903 Bell upright grand piano. So, of course, I bought it. Now, I'm trying to get rid of my "old" piano, my 1968 Hammond Console. It's a damn good piano, but it can't compare to a Bell! The Bell needs a lot of work, I think just getting it fully playable is going to cost me about $700. To refinish it, unless we can do it ourselves, is going to be about another $2000-$3000. Oh well, it's worth it. I've got John Musselwhite, the piano tech, coming on June 10th to take a look at it. He's probably going to have kittens when he sees what shape its in. Oh well.
We're nearly finished the kitchen (FINALLY!!!!) Chris will be screwing down the counter tops tonight and we'll probably tile on the weekend. Our next big project will be installing a new patio door. Then (cue scary music) developing the basement. It shouldn't be too bad, we've got it all mapped out on AutoCAD.
Chris is making his own beer now, beer is disgustingly expensive and we simply can't afford to buy it any more. (Not that he drinks copious amounts, it's just grossly expensive.)
I will try to be more diligent in posting, but I can't promise miracles.