While this article is ostensibly about our local education system, really it could be taken as general life advice. This advice, albeit completely unsolicited and 100% my own opinion, is something I hope many of you take to heart. In doing so, you’ll be making our schools and our community a better place.
So what’s my AMAZING advice?
When you see something, or hear about something happening that is unacceptable to you – speak up. Don’t be afraid that others will disagree with you, that someone in “power” will not like what you have to say. Make sure you are heard even if that means circumventing the traditional outlets for complaints and comments.
Having said that, let me be clear here.
It’s always easier and usually more productive to work WITHIN the system. So join your local PTA, attend school board meetings, get to know your local representatives BEFORE you have a complaint (this way they don’t see you as just a naysayer).
But if you try those avenues and nothing gets done, you are ignored, or you are told flat out that your only remaining option is to “sue the school board” then consider doing things a little differently. Want some examples of what I’m describing?
- First, there is GLBT Advocacy and Youth Services director, James Robinson, who assisted a Grissom student and her mother in bringing attention to a JROTC instructor’s gross abuse of power in the classroom.
- Or how about our very own Russ Winn, whose simple act of attending board meetings, asking questions, and reporting back what happens on his blog has caused him to be labeled “intimidating” by someone (who isn’t exactly clear since the only people willing to go on record claimed they thought no such thing) and escorted out of a board meeting.
- Most recently, a Mountain Gap mother and local small business owner took matters into her own hands when her child reported seeing a fellow student eating crackers and water at school.
It’s possible you don’t agree with what these three did. Maybe you don’t like the stand they took/are taking. But it’s hard to argue with the fact that they are devoted parents and concerned citizens who are diligently doing their part to fight for perceived injustices that are suffered by those who need our help the most – our children. Marian Wright Edelman once famously said, “If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.” Who can argue with that?
So, when you see something happening you don’t agree with, don’t let the threat of bad publicity, spiteful comments, or disagreeable looks in the school parking lot stop you from doing what you believe in your heart is the right thing. When you are guided only by a desire to help those who need it, you will be doing the right thing regardless of what others think.
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.