As a parent whose two children attended Chariho schools from kindergarten through graduation, if I had had a problem with a teacher, my first recourse would have been to speak with the teacher. There is a chain of command in every organization. I don’t understand why a concerned parent would bypass that chain and instead leap for assistance from a state senator.
After reading the article, I watched the brief two minute video by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Atlantic Magazine website, titled ‘It’s Impossible to Imagine Trump Without the Force of Whiteness,’ (not ‘Trump and the Power of Whiteness’ as it was referred to in the article,) to see what all the fuss was about. I do not consider it “vile” as deemed by Sen. Morgan, nor inappropriate for 13 and 14-year-olds. It is a black man’s reasoned opinion as to one of the reasons Trump was elected. Yes, the “N” word was used once, in context and not gratuitously. I do believe eighth graders have heard that word before, and worse, in their young lives.
An eighth grade English teacher knows her students are old enough to handle difficult topics. It is a teacher’s job, especially those in the humanities, to teach critical thinking skills and to allow students to look at ideas from different perspectives. I hope the students also had a chance to read the accompanying article by Coates. To me, especially if accompanied by other videos and articles from varying perspectives on the topic, Coates’ words are a marvelous opportunity for them to discuss important issues and to develop reasoning, debating, writing, and research skills.
Teachers are professionals, and should be given credit for understanding their students’ abilities as well as their curriculum, and for developing interesting and mind-opening lessons. They do not need their lessons micro-managed because some might disagree with the content.
One additional plus regarding the showing of the Coates video: The lesson in question makes for interesting family discussion at the dinner table about values and current events.