Exactly twenty years ago, on April 20, 1999, I was at private school in Titusville when the first shots rang out. There was no fanfare about that though as much as with 9/11. Columbine did however change the way high schools did things. Titusville High had bomb threats galore in the weeks after the shooting took place, and I had my thoughts. I personally don’t recommend parochial schools for anyone because of a few things, most of which I’ve covered here in the blog. One, they mythologize marriage and sex. Two, they exclude persons with disabilities. Three, they’re elitist and color barrier galore. If you look at the demographics of kids who go to parochial versus public school, not shockingly, only white children can afford the big bad price tag. Kids in private schools may seem “gentle”, but they’re still as elitist as anyone else.
I’m encountering elite culture in the Denver Women’s chorus, so the equity folks and I are working to break down these barriers. This is what equity is about. I almost didn’t make retreat which I will go to this weekend because of inequitable practices, elitist lodging fees, and so on. I think I need to address that, and say, you could have done a hell of a lot better. Unfortunately, private schools don’t have equity. And if a black/Hispanic parent who doesn’t make enough wants to send their child to get a world class education, they’re so out of luck, in other words, SOL. For parochial school students, shootings don’t always occur, but let’s face it. I was not happy at the private school because I didn’t have the supports I needed. As a blind student, the public schoolteacher in charge of Braille was not allowed to set foot in private school territory. Till a fight broke out between my mother and father and the county.
Well, parents, you wasted your time. I’m not sending my child to a run down bug riddled building where marriage is mythologized for all students, but marriage could become an exclusive thing for folks with disabilities. Later in my THS junior to senior year, my rights were stolen. What else? My parents did not have a clue how to teach me the necessary skills for independence, but sending me to private school did not help matters.
Now, twenty years later, because of Columbine, you’ve got the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas students doing “code red” drills, shooter drills, all that. Lockdown drills are equivalent to that of prison lockdowns, which stresses out kids. Is it effective? According to one news article I pulled out, no.
Twenty years after Columbine, there is one way I theorize that parents can make their children’s school experience better: let the child find himself and go to school with like minded souls. My parents could have sent me to a music school in Boston, but Florida schools did not provide the top notch schooling I needed to get a job in music. My parents’ selfish nature and pleas for Catholic education won’t go unnoticed. My mom and dad are too close to a parish that doesn’t deal with blind people and black students. America is not a whites only nation, and I’ve been great things in Denver, and I hope to see more great things come out of this good place I’m in now.But letting your child go to whatever school fits them, not your selfish religious jealousy, is paramount. It is important beyond important.
When I graduated high school in 2005, I was given too many myths about blind people, and marriage as a requirement for me to have any sexual relations was something I could no longer stand. At 22, I got my first kiss with a 19-year-old Jewish kid. Okay, his religion didn’t bother me, but I knew that incapacitation was evil, but now I have the right words to say it is. If I was a sighted child, I might well have committed myself to different activities than music. So, if anything, that’s just where I was, and where I am now.
As for the Sri Lanka Easter bombings, I had no clue they happened till I woke up on Easter Sunday in Denver. Sri Lanka was the birthplace of Rifka Barry, who converted to Christianity. I wonder what she’d say about the bombings. She’d probably blame Islam itself. And for good reason. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, prominent Somali born activist who later served on the Dutch parliament, might say the same words that were written in her book Heretic, but she’s coming out with a new book. Please go to http://www.theahafoundation.org to learn more about her foundation’s work to protect girls from culturally harmful tradition such as child marriage, FGM (female genital mutilation), and honor violence. Hirsi Ali would be very sad to see that Muslims in Sri Lanka are taking ineffective steps to remedy the Terrorism situation over in that country. Blocking access to social media is not effective. We in America are free so we won’t do that.
Stay safe, my friends.