For new people, last week my son asked me if I had ever heard of “blue waffle disease”. (I’m not including links because there are all of three out there that don’t take an internet user to scary, gross, and disturbing places.) When it comes to biology, there isn’t a whole lot I haven’t at least heard of, even if I don’t know the details. However, this never should mean that I assume I know everything. I told him that, no I had not and as soon as I got dinner on the stove I would research it.
Aside from the issue of it being far from an optimum choice of topics for learning the concept of ratios, my biggest issue was what I discovered from that research.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING.
Go to the CDC, WebMD, World Health Organization… These people get paid to know their illnesses. This mythical STI began from a photo-shopped picture of a woman’s nether regions, some smart-ass that expounded upon it, and thanks to social media it has become a misogynistic urban legend.
I feel that it is the job of the teacher to present facts, to double check children’s research (especially on important subjects), and show them how to discern a reputable source from the online rumor mill. I have a boat load of other issues with the way this has been handled, but that’s boiling it down to the essential core issue. If it is brought to their attention that something covered in class was incorrect, they need to rectify the situation.
I spoke with the vice principal, explained my initial objections, and she assured me she’d talk with the teacher. So, yesterday I get a call from the teacher, who for the most part spent the conversation trying to assure me she was “qualified” and that she hadn’t used pornography in the class. She was so defensive she refused to listen to my argument.
So, I decided to be that parent, the one who doesn’t let an issue drop until she/he gets it dealt with in a satisfactory manner. I found three separate sources online explaining what this absurd urban legend was and why it was harmful to not debunk it. I went back to the vice principal.
I had to explain three or four times that my issue was that incorrect information has been taught.
“All of the classes are interdisciplinary.”
I reiterated my issue and even gave an example of how the teacher could even further utilize this as a learning opportunity (identifying trustworthy sources).
“So you don’t want your son to participate in the current projects?”
Noooooo, that is not what I said.
I asked that the teacher do one of the following:
- Take down the poster and tell the class that the information was wrong.
- Leave poster up, but explain how sometimes things on the internet LOOK real, but aren’t.
“How do you know the teacher hasn’t done that?”
I would not have been standing in her office had my son told me, “Hey, my teacher took down that poster I told you about” or “My teacher pointed out the poster today and told us the information wasn’t correct. She explained how to find safe and reliable sources.”
She refused to look at my printouts and refused to accept them for the teacher. After initially offering to let me see the poster, I was refused permission to go to the classroom and see it. Although, I could “sit in on the class” at some future time. She was going to go down to the classroom and talk to the teacher and they’d do their “own research.” I could cut the patronizing BS with a knife. I said goodbye and left, as I had two other children to take to school.
Truth be told, I’m not sure I’d have the patience to sit through that class. If she’s doing such a stellar job with teaching math, why is my gifted and talented son asking me to explain the lesson? Seeing as how my explanation answers his questions in minutes, I don’t have much faith that I would see much of anything I liked.
So, herein lies my quandary. I have tried to do the right thing. My son is most definitely properly informed and he’s told his buddies at school that it isn’t real and not to Google it as a lot of gross stuff will come up. (He did this without any mention on my part.) Do I go higher up the food-chain and continue to raise holy hell? I really do want to, but I’m not the one that will feel the backlash. My son is. The teacher was already in a bad mood for having a parent complain to the vice principal. She probably got a verbal dressing down, but not enough in my opinion. My son and the girls thought it was great I was going to the office and not dropping the issue. If he were to become the focus of negative attention, I don’t think he’d be excited.