Thursday, May 9, 2013

Update: I have been re-instated as a volunteer at my children's elementary school

See my previous post for details about how I came to be banned from volunteering at my children's elementary school. After having given the comments below at Monday's U-46 School Board meeting, the Assistant Superintendent met with us in the hallway on the spot, and promised that either she or the principal would get back to us by today. The principal called me today to invite me back to volunteering, to two specific events (if I wish) in the remaining school year and also next year as I wish. She said she would like to return to the good relationship we have had in the past and I said I would like that too. She said she understands our perspective and that we are trying to do what is best for our children.

 Speech given at Monday night's U-46 School Board meeting (full text is below video): 


Good evening Dr. Torres and board members.
I am here to explain how I was banned from volunteering by Wayne Elementary’s  principal and to ask your help to be re-instated. I have two daughters that attend there, one in 1st grade and one in 2nd grade.
The circumstances that led to my banning are these:
Incident 1: My husband, Bill Ward, wrote a letter (text can be found here: to my daughter’s 2nd grade teacher concerning the movie “An Arctic Tale” that had been shown in class. Narrated by Queen Latifa and produced by the producers of “An Inconvenient Truth”, it presents man-made global warming as established fact. We objected to this being taught to 2nd graders. When I asked the teacher if she received the letter and would like to discuss it, she responded angrily that “No, I really wouldn’t.” She ultimately e-mailed a non-response that stated that the film fit in with “Common Core and vocabulary,” and referred us to the principal.
Incident 2: Both daughters began receiving homework from the “Second Step” program, designed to teach “empathy and emotion management”. We objected to the school crossing over into a realm that should be reserved for parents. Upon further investigation I learned that the “Second Step” curriculum is provided by “The Committee for Children”, “a nonprofit working globally to promote children’s social and academic success.”  The organization has an entire page dedicated to LGBT issues (see: I believe there are many parents who would find it objectionable that U-46 is purchasing curriculum from this organization. When, at the end of my volunteering time, I said to the teacher, concerning "Second Step", "I'm not super comfortable with..." I was cut off with, "Fine, whatever."
Incident 3: Our 1st grader’s class was instructed to read aloud the poem “Earth Day” (by Jane Yolen). The first stanza begins “I am the Earth and the Earth is me”, and continues from there.  The poem constitutes earth worship and pantheism. I wrote a respectful letter to the teacher asking her to consider our objection when choosing future curriculum. The principal told the teacher not to respond to us; that the principal instead would.
Meeting 1 with principal, April 24: The end result here was that I was banned from volunteering because I had been spreading “negativity”, since I had forwarded my husband’s letter to two other teachers, and because I had attempted to address some of my curriculum concerns with the teachers during my volunteer time. I went home and composed a blog detailing these events. (Blog can be found here:
Meeting 2 with principal, April 26: The principal had asked for another meeting with us, suggesting that an agreement could be reached. Instead of discussing an agreement, the principal informed me that she had found my blog and was contacting her legal department concerning it. As of tonight, no further communication has been received from the principal and that is where this issue now stands.