Random Rantings

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Diary of the Future... 12/21/06

Interesting week:

Monday - checked in with Cori... turns out that her boss really wasn't angry with them, but had to "put on a show" for some guy who was hanging out in the store... it seems that a group of folks from the large fundamentalist church in town have decided they are the "morality police"... they are going around and encouraging boycotts and picketing of stores that don't meet their demands... for a small mom-and-pop book store like the Book Nook, that could spell disaster, especially in the middle of the holiday shopping season... So - her boss said that they would still take special orders of "unusual" books - but that they had to be careful to only take such special orders from people they know... since the Church threatened that they would "be watching" and might send in a spy or two to test that they are really complying with the Church's demands... Cori's glad that she still has her job - but she and the manager she works with is really upset that their boss would cave to the Church like that... I said that she might change her mind after the holidays... that the owner is afraid of any negative publicity in the middle of the holiday season that might cut into her holiday sales... perhaps she's giving in now, to keep the peace, and in January things will change... Cori hopes so, but in the meantime will have to spend some time this week removing the "objectionable" books to a storage room in the back, where they can refer their regluar customers...

Tuesday & Wednesday - Avani, Cori, and I approached Pat about the luminaries. We said that we were amenable to participating in having luminaries on our front curbs, but that since we did not celebrate Christmas, we were uncomfortable using the Christmas themed luminaries... we proposed that we could use only the white snowflake ones... She said she would think about it and get back to us... she specifically wanted to consult with the organizers of some of the other neighborhoods to see how they are handling similar concerns... Well, she got back to us and said that she called a few people, and that the first person she spoke to agreed with her that it would look "un-unified" to have only the snowflake luminaires out at our homes and that we should be like everyone else and use the entire pack, but then the town organizer for the event returned her call and said that they had made up special "non-Christian" packs of luminaries that had all white bags and an assortment of snowflake designs, and that he would send her a supply ASAP. She figures that means that it's "allowed", since the organizer said so, and she said she would drop off the snowflake-only luminary packs as soon as they arrive. I'm surprised that she gave in so easily... I'm curious what the organizer guy actually said to her that she would agree without trying to push us to use the Christmas themed ones... oh well - I suppose I'll say a blessing for him... :)

Today - I met Marcus at the bus stop and the minute the bus pulled away he starts crying... I had no idea what was wrong... I kept asking him if he was hurt, and was looking for an injury of some kind... he finally got around to pulling an envelope out of his bag... it was a note from his teacher attached to a note from the art activity instructor... The art instructor had given them a craft project to make a beaded necklace... the necklaces were in kits that contained different sized wooden beads of different shades of natural wood and a few colored ones, and a faux-leather lace... also included in the kit was a 2" high wooden cross... according to the note from the instructor Marcus refused to follow directions by not putting the cross on his necklace... the art instructor attached a ziplock bag with the necklace and the "missing" cross bead with instructions that Marcus was to complete the assignment correctly, or he would not be allowed to participate in art class the next time... His teacher attached a cover letter explaining that Marcus had told the art instructor he was Jewish and that he did not want to use the cross, but would make a necklace with the other beads... the teacher went on to say that the art instructor felt that this was an "excuse" and that he didn't have to keep the necklace after making it, that the point of the craft was not just to make the necklace, but to also follow the directions on how to make it... the teacher said that Marcus then made his necklace without the cross, and the art instructor punished him by having him stand in the corner... some of the other children then made fun of him the rest of the day, because they didn't understand what was going on... the teacher wrote that she tried to explain to the class, and to the art instructor that Marcus was not being bad, but she wasn't able to convince the instructor, and therefore, some of the children wouldn't believe her either... She went on to commend Marcus' behavior and attitude during the event - he had remained polite and made his point well, and said that she had made a copy of the art instructor's note and wrote a report to the administrative office... She said she could not countermand the instructor's "punishment", but that she was in total disagreement and hoped the administration would agree with her... she would let me know if anything happened... and in the meantime if I wanted to come in to chat with her about the incident, she would make herself available...

I think Marcus thought he was going to get in trouble because he brought home a note. I told him that the teacher was saying how good he was in class, and let him read the letter. After a while he finally calmed down and was able to tell me about what had happened... it pretty much sounded the same as in the teacher's letter... just with more details about how some of the other kids had picked on him... Luckily the kids picked on him for being "bad" and "mean to the teacher" and were not picking on him being Jewish - just being singled out for punishment, and by the art instructor yet - who isn't considered a "real" teacher... I suppose that's a good thing, that even if the teacher was acting bigoted, the kids were just being kids...

I'm going to meet with Marcus' teacher after school on Monday...


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