New Jen's Horde

Thursday, September 23, 2004

"Wackos," Puhleeze!

This really bugs me. I can't believe there wasn't a single rational adult in authority who thought this might be a problem. It's one thing to express disagreement with someone's choices, it's another to force children to act out a scenario wherein people are portrayed as extremists, willing to murder children to get their point across.

How hard would it have been to make up a completely fictitious organization (ie the Smallravian Army) or pretend there's been an accident. Or, heaven forbid, use the name of an actual terrorist organization, it's not like there's any question as to who they are...they proudly claim their work.

Or, let's get real! Hmmm. Bombs, students getting hurt, many emergency agencies being called out. Why is this ringing bells? Oh wait, I remember... Why don't we hand a couple of kids automatic weapons and tell the students Eric and Dylan are coming to get them? Looking at the statistics and comparing student on student violence to homeschooler on ps student violence, I think I see a trend as to what might actually be considered a threat.

I know that I'm probably blowing this all out of proportion. I am sure nothing sinister was meant by this school's actions. I'm sure they were just trying to keep it light while they got the job done. Still, out of all of the "threats" out there to public schoolers, making up militant homeschooler "Wackos" is just stupid and offensive.

Jumping off my soapbox now...

Hi, Jen,

I thought you'd like to know that you weren't the only one who was bothered by this. The newspaper printed this response recently:

Thank you for your note.
We've had several phone calls and at least 18 e-mails from
homeschoolers around the country (from Fla. to Alaska, and Calif. to NY) objecting to the name given to a fictional group of culprits in Tuesday mock disaster drill in Muskegon County. We are doing a followup story today noting objections to what many have found offensive. FYI, the name was chosen by the county's chief deputy for emergency preparedness, a former police commander, and not school officials as several e-mailers
incorrectly assumed. The county official has issued an apology, as have officials of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. Below is a statement from today's story:
"The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District Tuesday issued a
statement saying the areawide organization was not aware of the
scenario, but nevertheless apologized. The statement said the MAISD "shared the disappointment of others when we learned the emergency preparedness drill referenced home-schoolers as
the fictitious group responsible for a mock disaster. We apologize."
It said the MAISD and local school districts "were not aware of the
scenario, and it was not shared with students or parents who took part in the exercise."
"We sincerely regret offending home-school educators. We believe that all parents are educators and do important work at home with their children," the statement said."

Gunnar Carlson, Editor, Muskegon Chronicle
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