Political correctness and tolerance took a new and disturbing turn this month. The principal of Bruce Vento Elementary School in St. Paul, Minnesota, took it upon himself to ban Valentine’s Day! Yes, you heard me correctly! He banned students from celebrating the famed February 14. A day on American calendars set aside to express love and friendship to one another. In defense of his actions Scott Masini said, “My personal feeling is we need to find a way to honor and engage in holidays that are inclusive of our student’s populations.” He continued to base his decision on the fact that, “their school includes many cultures and students from around the world including a very large Somali population.”
When did expressing friendship by giving a candy or a cute, fun phrased card to friends at school become such an offense? Can foreign students not be lovingly embraced and engage in our American culture? Is there not a character lesson for elementary students to love others, share, honor and be kind to all children from different cultures that attend the school? If a student does not want to participate in receiving candy and cards, (I doubt very much any child would), wouldn’t it be easier to give them the option to opt out of school for the day or do another activity? Why spoil the fun for all the other students, when there may be only a few families that might not care for the holiday?
Besides this, the school principal did not do his homework. If he had, he would have found that countries from all around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day, including people from Somalia. In fact, women in Somalia celebrate, what they now call, V-Day to bring worldwide attention to the fact that one out of every three women, the equivalent to one billion women and girls, on the planet will suffer rape or be beaten in their lifetimes. The global campaign is dubbed “One Billion Rising” and calls for a billion women across the globe to rise up into action. They dance, sing and speak out against the injustices women face in their country every day. Women share their stories and shed tears because of what they have been through. They strongly believe they need to rise for justice in a revolution to end violence against women.
So instead of negatively banning Valentine’s Day, imagine how the school principal could have used the opportunity to teach something positive and worthwhile. He could have used this day to educate children on how people from all around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day in different ways. Historically, he could have taught how this day first came about, along with the holiday’s myths and legends.
Valentine’s Day has a historic significance along with the other holidays that were banned such as: Thanksgiving and Christmas, from this particular elementary school. Concerned parents, I am sure, have feelings of their own and should get involved in parent meetings. Otherwise schools will become a no holiday zone, which sucks the fun out of learning and encourages unfriendliness. I ask you, is each school now governed by one’s personal convictions instead of standard curriculum? That is kind of scary. What kind of authority have principals and teachers been given? Can we keep curriculum in our schools consistent, where all children from every culture can enjoy, Christmas, Thanksgiving and yes, Valentine’s Day?
Perhaps those principals, who wrestle with their own feelings over American holidays and political correctness, should take into consideration leaving America to teach abroad where they feel more comfortable? I, for one, do not want to see children taught based on someone feelings. Our children will be unstable as they will be tossed to and fro by their teacher’s opinions. I cannot think of anything more stable than to teach multi-cultural children, new to America the greatest love they can ever know. The love of Christ, His love embraces all the children of the world without partiality. Valentine’s Day is yet another opportunity to share and show His love to children and others.
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”