School need to stop bending over backwards for parents


Art by Ari Bowman

Elliot Munson, Former Culture Editor

This previously ran in our April 2022 print issue.

In the restaurant industry, the customer is king, at the expense of the workers. Pots and pans being thrown are not a rare sight, and obscenities screamed at inexperienced workers for bringing a sauce too late or plating something not-quite-perfect are far too commonplace. 

Fortunately for the rest of the world, this focus on the customer, while not exclusive to the culinary world, is not nearly as extreme. Most of the world focuses on what it’s supposed to do — car companies selling cars, oil corporations funding conservative media, and schools educating students — instead of thinking about what other people say they should do. 

But in public schools, the backbone of every part of our society, the institution that raises and shapes the next generation, the pursuit of teaching and learning has a new competitor in the running — keeping parents happy. Suddenly, some of the very basics of history, from religion to racism, are unacceptable to totally “not-fragile” parents complaining about the book White Fragility allegedly being taught. Unfortunately for the school district, the information they attempted to provide to the students “degraded, victimized, embarrassed and emotionally distressed” the poor family, who were subjected to the facts and unjustly forced to learn about the world around them instead of keeping their heads in the sand. 

Winston Churchill’s legendary quote “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” rings truer than ever in depressingly self-replicating patterns — racist parents get upset when their children are taught about racism, and then kids don’t learn what they need to to avoid following in their parents footsteps. 

And the school district sits by, allowing it to happen. Fighting for the ability to give students information proved to be too much of a burden, so instead of working to maximize the reach of their learning, the district failed to fight back, and chose to hand out money to the tragically victimized children who were almost forced to learn about how awful their parent’s views are. 

While idiots protecting their children from the possibility of not being racist, homophobic pieces of human trash might be a more extreme example of schools bending backwards for parental approval, it’s certainly not the only case of it happening. 

Some parents have forced schools to compromise their standards just for their students to have more privileges than others, and instead of standing up for teachers, administration allows their arm to be twisted until they do whatever the parents want with the student’s grade, without any respect to the work the student did — or didn’t do. 

This approach to teaching is insulting. Parents’ politics and personal opinions should not interfere with students’ learning opportunities. The public education system in the United States is an incredible gift compared to the systems in place in many areas of the world, and hard-working, caring teachers simply should not be forced to alter their lessons for the sake of a fragile ego or the possibility of a few hurt feelings. Knowledge is power, and kids should not be deprived of their ability to gain this power to use for the rest of their lives.