Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Parent's View

I was recently involved in a discussion about the, at the time, upcoming Obama speech to school children. The discussion started with a reference to a New York Times article outlining the controversy.

I believe the core problem with this entire "controversy" is the inability of a group of people to understand that parent's have the right to review and object to material presented to their children. Additionally, if a parent objects to a presentation, they can remove their child from that presentation, and schools have to oblige.

I don't care about the content of the material. That had nothing to do with my argument. It's the right of the parent I was arguing. I'm not even saying the parents are correct in their views. That's entirely immaterial. If a parent does not want to have their child hear something, then it's my view that the parent should be allowed to act as they see fit, unless the action is an abusive action.

That's not to say that a parent should take their kid out of school 3 days a week because of a class lesson. That's ridiculous. This was a one-time event, and the parents, in my view, had the right to exclude their children.

It's also not wise to question or demean those parents, or attack their level of education, because, in my view, education takes on many forms, and not just the form of a formal classroom setting or a piece of paper framed in wood with a pretty golden seal, signed by someone who you may not even know, or does not even know you.

I would really like to know how many of the people with whom I had this discussion have children. I know one of them does not, and I felt that, perhaps, that may have factored into their argument.

I would love to place the the entire conversation in this blog, and if I find an easy way to do it, I might. But I was asked, at one point, if I was afraid to tell my son, Alex, if we had a President, or a President of color. Not only was this insulting to me, but it was childish, and frankly ignorant of the person that asked the question. It also amazed me how many of these people were quick to question my personal values because I disagreed with them. OK, it didn't surprise me, but it still proves, to a degree, that people are very intolerant of other people's opposing views.

I have to give them credit, however -- they felt very strongly about their view, regardless of how flawed I felt it was, and regardless of how many points I expressed trying to disprove or counter their arguments.

Oh, and here's another thing -- no one had yet seen the contents of the speech. I didn't, they didn't, no one did. In fact, after the speech was posted on the White House web site, I posted a link to it and stated it was a good speech, and mentioned a few points I really liked. The one person that could have said something said nothing at all.

I can't wait till the next discussion...

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