27 May 2009

Hip-hop for Jesus

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)


Janiece said...

Doc, I don't understand proselytizing, and I went to Catholic school.

Stay vigilant. Such self-satisfied asshats are EVERYWHERE.

Anonymous said...

1. TH's reaction was perfect - dig just a little bit to see where TPT was coming from, rather than react immediately. Clever man!

2. Wow. Just wow. I don't get proselytizing either and I was raised Anglican (US equiv to Episcopal).

neurondoc said...

TH is much better at intelligence-gathering than I am. And he thinks much more coolly "under fire" so to speak. Given his previous job (doing whatever he did at NSA), that is not surprising.

Random Michelle K said...

Holy crap. I think you need to break out the shovel of doom on that wretch.

Lorraine said...

Okay. Practicing Christian here (although not currently attending church - smacks hand with Sharp Cane of Rebuke) and I have this to say:

Fire that teacher's butt. Now. What the heck was the school thinking of? And how she could not, after having it explained to her, understand is a puzzle to me.

I like Janiece's comment: "Stay vigilant." And, TH, we love you; way to diffuse attention and not make the topic seem important!

But of course it is important. No one has the right to tell someone else about their religion unless requested. I am always polite to the JW people who come to the door, because they are sincere. But sincerity does not equal okay.

I am actively interested in learning about other religions, so I seek that info. But the only time people have *offered* to do something for us related to their religion unsolicited was when Alec was dying of liver failure/leukemia and we happily accepted all such offers (actually, we would have anyway - my personal feeling, as you know, is that God has many names, faces, and ways to be worshipped; through Christianity is only one of them).

But at a school - where the children are a captive audience - no, it's just dead wrong.

WTF, indeed.

neurondoc said...

Hey, Lorraine. No smacking my friend! Especially not with the Sharp Cane of Rebuke. If you keep it up, I will bring this situation to the notice of the Alien Master. :-)

The owner of the dance school was apparently unaware of the teacher's behavior before it was pointed out to her. And the teacher was "sort-of" fired that day. She is finishing out the session, but another teacher is watching her during all of her classes.

I remain uncertain about God, but I continue to talk to the Alien Master. After all, maybe he helped Alec during the dark times... :-)

Lorraine said...

I guess it makes sense to have her finish the session, if only so that the kids don't wonder what happened and attach more importance to what she said.

"I remain uncertain about God, but I continue to talk to the Alien Master. After all, maybe he helped Alec during the dark times... :-)"

He certainly did! And see above re *many names and faces* :)

ExpatMom said...

I like your category... :-)

I'm sorry this happened, and it's upsetting -- but it's not going to be the last time. These people are everywhere and the thoughtlessness and assumption they exhibit makes me want to scream.

[Half an hour later] So, I wrote about thirteen comments and they all came out wrong, so I deleted them again.

Sigh. You know my opinion. It drives me mad and then I am not at my best - that's why I loose so many arguments with fundamentalists. I cannot keep my cool.

Sigh again.

I'll write you when I'm not so angry anymore.

Jim Wright said...

You know me, Doc, I'm with TH on this one - Sharp Stick, poke, poke, poke.

TheHusband said...

TheHusband, who might consider poking that teacher in the eye with a sharp stick.What! A sharp stick? No, it will be with a 10-pound over-sized crucifix slathered in gefilte fish juice!

neurondoc said...

Bad husband. Go to your room.

Gefilte Fish juice?