View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What did you learn at school today?

Last Spring, a male science teacher at a local high school sprung a surprise on school officials.

He announced he was becoming a woman.

Although not common, this sort of thing has happened before. But the teachers in those instances quietly moved to a new school or a new district.

This teacher announced that he planned to return to his own school, however. Moreover, he was going to dress as a woman - even though he had not yet begun the procedures needed to add remove or add parts to his anatomy.

This teacher is tenured, so the district can’t do anything about it even if it wanted to. The only way to boot a tenured teacher is if he commits a crime – and even that is not enough in some instances.

Besides, the district has embraced this as a teaching moment.

Diversity in the classroom!

So the district has held workshops and meetings for staff and parents. And the students will be subjected to the same when they show up for the first day of school next week.

Welcome students. By the way, watch the jokes or you'll get suspended.

It’s not clear why he is doing this. Maybe he was afraid he couldn’t get a job elsewhere (even though science teachers are in demand).

But maybe he wants to make a statement.

Likewise, the district may be stuck (tenure and anti-discrimination laws are hard to fight). And by all accounts, he is a popular, competent and well-respected teacher.

Or maybe some officials are celebrating this opportunity to broaden consciousness in the "right" way.

No Christmas Carols. No prayers. But teachers in drag are fine.

I’m reminded of something G. K. Chesterton said:

"Modern education means handing down the customs of the minority, and rooting out the customs of the majority."

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