The controversy this topic stirred-up has taken everyone by surprise including our principal. Like me, he has been subjected to a host of reactions ranging from indifferent to outraged. Online I’ve been I’ve been told I should focus on more important issues, instead of blogging I should volunteer, that my motives have been selfish and misguided. Here is the actual chain of events for your review…
1. Two parents (myself included) wrote letters of complaint, the same two parents who complained last year and vowed to fight the ban on costumes. (I believe, with so many other school issues at hand, our complaints were honestly forgotten as opposed to ignored).
2. The response to our complaints indicated that the case was closed, there would be no room for negotiation or compromise.
3. We started a petition (as we said we would) to see if others felt the same way we felt. They did.
4. I published a post on Bananafish (a blog I write amid spilled drinks, potty emergencies, endless drop-off’s and pick-up’s, soccer, music, and more – I hardly believe there’s a volunteer position that can accommodate these circumstances).
5. Bananafish was then linked to several news sites thus creating a public platform for a series of heated debates.
It’s important to note that I was not the person who contacted the newspaper nor was the famed Sarah Nagy. But guess what, over two hundred petitioners getting no recognition is a story! Generally, those numbers merit at least a nod.
Our nod came two days ago in the latest installment of our school newsletter. Per special addendum, our principal offered some points of clarification (several of which are newly listed and make more sense to me) as to why there will be no costumes at school this year. Buckman students will be expected to dress within the parameters of the PPS dress code on Halloween. Lucky for us, we’re art school. Our principal writes, “Every day we encourage our children to celebrate their uniqueness and individuality.” Kids with dyed hair and feather-weaves, capes and mismatched knee socks, are often seen roaming our halls. A few extra witches and warlocks will hardly make a difference. Some families have said they’ll allow their children to wear whatever they choose on Halloween. Others are talking about avoiding school altogether to celebrate their holiday. According to one PPS source a single day of high absenteeism will have little impact on our funding. No matter what your course of action is, I hope it will be carried out with respect for all.
What remains crystal clear (and for me most frustrating) is that there seems to be a relatively small group of people making decisions on my behalf. Site Council is a group of nine volunteers. Seeking public opinion is not part of its function. I desperately want to participate in the decision-making process (as I’m sure many others do) and though I faithfully read our newsletters, I have no idea where and when these decisions are being made. Many of us can’t attend PTA and/or special events meetings. But we all deserve to have our say. This “fiasco” as one commenter calls it might seem like small potatoes, but if several dozen parents can’t get a word in regarding Halloween costumes in a Portland Public School, how in the world are any of us ever going to change corruption on Wall Street?
We are but a microcosm. And that fact is not up for debate.