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July 2, 2021
To the editors:
The email below was recently circulated to the families with children in our town’s PAWS (Preschool at Wellesley Schools):
June 7, 2021
Dear PAWS Families,
Thursday, June 10th, the new Black Lives Matter and LGBTQIA+ flags will be installed at P.A.W.S. All classrooms will then create individual classroom flags that represent the children in each classroom and the smaller classroom flags will be added to a larger unified PAWS flag that will be hung up in the school. Here is what each classroom will be discussing:
1. Teachers and students will talk about symbols such as: Stop Sign, Lego, Target Symbol, American Flag
Teacher: “Have you seen these before? Where? What do you notice? Tell me about them.
Acknowledge any responses.
Teacher: “Yes, these are symbols that mean something. When you see this symbol you know it means ‘Stop’ etc.”
2. Show the BLM and LGBTQIA+ Flags:
Teacher: “Have you seen these symbols before? Where? What do you notice? Tell me about them.”
Acknowledge any responses.
Teacher: “This is a Black Lives Matter Flag and this is an LGBTQIA+ Flag. Sometimes flags can be symbols. These flags mean we want everything to be fair for everyone, no matter who you are. They mean we can focus on taking care of each other.
These flags will be hung up at PAWS and in other schools in Wellesley. You might also see them in your community. We will create a classroom flag. Everyone will draw a symbol or picture that represents or means YOU! We will put the pictures all together to make a classroom flag. Our classroom flag will be added to a big PAWS flag hung up in the building. Every class will have a symbol on the flag! It will be a PAWS Flag! Once it is hung up, we will get to see it in the hallway at the PAWS school!”
3. Each student will have the opportunity to create a symbol/picture that represents them. We will use these to create a classroom flag, which will then be added to a larger P.A.W.S. Flag to be hung on the front bulletin board at P.A.W.S. We will share a photo of the finished PAWS Flag hanging on the bulletin board once it is complete with all classes represented.
Thank you to the PAWS PTO for purchasing the flags and for the parents and faculty who have joined our conversations about the flags over several weeks of meetings. We appreciate your support in our important work! If you are interested in learning more about equity work in preschool you might enjoy looking at the Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education Position.
Editor: end of PAWS letter.
I will not comment on the specific flags/organizations chosen by the school staff to be highlighted. There is no space here for this particular discussion, which has actually been recently incurred to in this very forum. I will say, though, that one of my own sisters is a member of the LGBQ community. I could not love and respect her more. What I must do here is to expose the structure of the activity imposed on the children. As per the email, the exercise is centered on the division of the class in groups with specific identities, to be represented by symbols that reflect such identities, all of it steered by the examples of the two flags/entities featured by the staff.
This constitutes the essence of identity politics. That is, the breakdown of society into various groups, in this case artificially created by a higher authority, the teachers, to be represented by symbols that will be compared with others. The grand finale is the subterfuge of a unification of the different identities/symbols in a final “class flag”. Cunningly, however, the central message is that we all belong to groups with different identities and must learn how to make a conscious effort to take care of each other, as if this were not a native human quality, or as if some of the different identities were even substantiated at all. Further, such message also implies, albeit perhaps not openly, that oppression and repression are common to the existence of identity groups, as evidenced by the flags specifically chosen as chaperons of the activity.
As much as I am among the vast majority of us who want to see any form of prejudice disappear, and as much as I do believe in the good intentions of some of the partakers in this activity, this is not the way, or age, to do it. There is no such thing as a bigoted preschooler. Prejudice is not inborn. This vile form of rancor is always imparted, never innate. Preschoolers should not be introduced to it, be it overtly or covertly, let alone to gender ideology and/or to racism, especially at school. Innocence is one of the most treasured and consequential facets of early childhood. It behooves us to embrace, celebrate, and protect it.
This is yet another example of an ongoing, increasingly brazen and intrusive child indoctrination program based on moral values shrewdly picked to be operated at school, as opposed to only at home, which has all the inklings of being centrally coordinated. Indeed, as one would expect from central coordination, the whole exercise is carefully scripted (including the preceding consultation with parents and the subliminal public shaming of those who may disagree with it) and its target has progressively
expanded under a well calculated strategy now boldly aiming as low as possible, i.e. at the preschool age group (!). This scenario concurs with the decay of our academic standards both locally and nationally, more patently reflected in the continuous drop of Wellesley school rankings at the state level and in the country’s equally embarrassing rankings at the international level. This concurrence is not coincidental.
How disturbing is all that, and how very sad…
I will take this opportunity to remind the teachers and their Superintendent that our flag has 50 stars and 13 stripes, all with beautiful symbolisms of their own, not the least our fundamental united national identity. The email does contain a timid afterthought stating that the American flag will also be mentioned, if only after the “(…) Stop Sign, Lego, and Target Symbol (…)”. How thoughtful.