The Fairfax County School Board is finally addressing the question of how to pronounce parents in school announcements. The controversy arose last week when a group of parents, who call themselves “Domestic Terrorists, refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at an elementary school board meeting.
I don’t get it, said one middle schooler, Why would they do something so mean to their parents? We have a right to say the Pledge of Allegiance because our dads signed the Declaration of Independence. That’s what my history teacher says.
A student from a nearby elementary school agreed, My dad is a war hero. If he wasn’t, they would take my dad’s gun away like the city council wants.
One high school senior pointed out, My parents fought in Vietnam too. They died for our freedom my mom says I’m not supposed to say that part though because they didn’t actually fight, but she said it anyway because everyone knows that’s what happened.
Another student chimed in, My mom works for the CIA she keeps telling me I can’t tell anyone about her job because it is very important and extremely hush hush, but she has this big book on all the nation’s secrets. She says they don’t pay her enough for this book. It is very heavy and I want a book like that too.
An elementary school student was equally as vocal, My parents sit on the school board. Mom says we live in a representative democracy, which is a kind of republic where someone represents you instead of you representing yourself. The people who represent you are called your representatives. In this case they’re called school board members and they get paid lots of money to sit on the school board. Sometimes we don’t even see them for months at a time because they’re always sitting on their boards, but we still have to say things like the Pledge of Allegiance every morning and stand up like good little children while everyone else says it too.
I think it’s very disrespectful, said a middle schooler loudly. And I think they should apologize to their parents.
The school board members are not debating the merits of the pledge itself or the question of why students are saying it in schools at all. They feel that these stories demonstrate how complicated this issue is and that further discussion needs to take place.
Board member, Bob Hampton stated, We’ve known about the issue of how to say parents for decades. It’s something that has long plagued this district. We knew it was an issue even before the word parents was added to our school lexicon 30 years ago. He continued, It’s not just a problem with pronunciation but also with intent. We don’t want to see kids saying things like, I’m goin’ to my parents house for dinner.’ It’s awful and it sends the wrong message about what our parents really do for us. Please understand that we are not trying to shut down this discussion, but rather encourage it.
A district parent who wished to remain anonymous said, It’s a complicated issue. I want my kids to say parents because it is the correct word. But if they do that then I have to explain why we don’t say mom and dad at home or call our grandparents grandma and grampa .