Friday, March 11, 2016

Elementary School Protest

Connor has been involved in a few protests at his school. The biggest one was probably "line order" in 4th grade. The teachers implemented "line order" which meant you had to line up in a certain order, typically alternating boy-girl-boy. This was done, of course, because they switch classes for every subject and they sound like wild banshees when they make their change. The noise level is not different from middle and high school - but it's more disruptive since children in younger grades are only switching classes for "specials". Often they're at work when the older students storm the halls.

The teachers squashed the protest pretty quickly, letting students know their resistance would be met by a visit to the principal's office. In the end, Connor and his friend somehow managed to be the last people out of the room consistently, so they just continued hanging out together at the back of the line and weren't very affected when "line order" was the rule of the day.

Helen's friends are mad about field usage at the school. The boys not only take the field over at recess to play football, but they try and "make the girls play football" (Helen's words) and naturally, this annoys her. (For reference, earlier in the year when the boys didn't want the girls playing football, Helen insisted on being allowed to play.)

A pack of six girls has decided the field is for everyone, and if they want to be on it not playing football, they can be. Yesterday, they all decided to wear mismatched shoes as part of their protest. (Ironically, the ring leader wore matching shoes, claiming she thought the protest was scheduled for a different day.) I adore this, and can only imagine how powerful they all felt before recess, looking around the room subtly confirming who was "ON" their team and who was "OFF" their team. I'm sure the boys had no idea what was about to hit them.

At recess, the girls marched together to the field (if only I had brought my camera to school to bear witness). They sang a song. They told the boys what the rules would be. Every time a boy got annoyed and interrupted, they started back at the beginning - singing their song (which was completely unrelated to the protest topic, but impressed me since music has long been a tenet of effective organizing). When they felt their point had been made, they stomped off the field together and decided to crush some rocks. I believe they are planning on turning their crushed stones into chalk (perhaps to make signs supporting their next movement?). Helen packed safety goggles in her bag this morning so as to not risk errant rock chips flying into her eyes.

Soldier on, sister! Soldier on!


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