A very disturbing thing happened today. Actually, it didn't happen today -- it happened a couple of weeks ago, but I found out about it today. And I am disturbed. ThePinkThing takes a dance class offered by a sort-of local dance school at her after-school program. This dance school also did the ballet class at TPT's preschool last year, and she loved that class. Although it was a hip-hop class, we signed her up without reservations (after the school director said they didn't use "real" hip-hop music). TPT mentioned this morning that today was the "Parent Watch Day", so I emailed to one of the other moms to confirm. Apparently it was Parent Watch Day, but we hadn't been given the fliers.
What is so disturbing about a girls' hip-hop class (other than the music), you ask? Is NeuronDoc making a mountain out of a molehill again? Um, no, I'm not.
The other mom said that the current teacher may not have passed out the fliers because she was fired last week. Fired?!? I hadn't heard that. Well, she was sort of fired -- she would be finishing out the current session (one more class after today), but she will be leaving after that. Why was she "sort-of" fired? She was fired for proselytizing to elementary school-aged girls.
Apparently, it all began when she asked the class what they had done for Easter. When one of the older girls answered, "Nothing. We don't celebrate Easter, because we are Jewish," the teacher (according to that girl) looked a bit shocked. Shortly thereafter, the dance teacher brought in The Story of Jesus for Children DVDs for three of the girls. All three of these girls are Jewish. These DVDs weren't given to any of the other girls, including mine, who probably said (truthfully) that she spent Easter trading Easter baskets with her cousins. One of the girls (M) lost her DVD (how come all six year-old girls do that?), and was then given some sort of pamphlet or tract or booklet instead. This teacher also made several comments to the class about God and religion and Jesus. M's grandmother called up the dance school and spoke with one of the employees. The owner called M's grandmother back after speaking with the dance teacher. The dance teacher agreed that she had done it and was not apologetic about it. She apparently literally couldn't understand why M's grandmother was upset. So she was told that she would be let go at the end of the session, and another teacher would accompany her to her classes. I must admit that I didn't enjoy Parent Watch Day today, mostly because I couldn't stand looking at that teacher.
When I told TheHusband about this situation, he said it explains a conversation that he had with TPT a couple of weeks ago. During that conversation, TPT said that people can be strong. Strong? asked TheHusband. Yes, strong like Jesus, responded TPT. With raised eyebrows, TH asked who Jesus was. TPT's response was "You know, Jesus. He's magical, like Santa Claus." Oh. And the conversation was turned to choosing where to go for dinner.
This woman was handing out religious Christian items to elementary school-aged Jewish girls and saw nothing wrong in what she did. I am still amazed about that. What drives someone to think that this sort of behavior is okay, acceptable, and unworthy of an apology? Being a non-religious sort and having been brought up in a Jewish household (Jews don't proselytize), I suspect that I will and can never understand. And, to be honest, I don't want to. I just want my daughter not to be bothered by people with these types of agendas, at least until she is old enough to defend herself.
And (obviously) this incident makes me even more concerned about who is influencing my child when I am not around. She is the kind of kid who wants to please people, especially adults, and this type of situation may be extra tough for her, for me, and definitely for TheHusband, who might consider poking that teacher in the eye with a sharp stick. I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled and my ears to the ground. (sigh)