Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Principal's Monologue


Wow! Interesting class... Probably unique to a senior government class. According to what was understood in class have the girls constitutional rights been violated? Should schools be a haven of free speech or do school administrators need to consider the concerns of the public they are paid to serve? Should the school be scrutinized by the same democratic republic that keeps watch over the rest of the country? Are schools exempt from censorship? Are schools exempt from upholding constitutional rights? Whose stage were the three girls in Cross River standing on?


Below are letters written to the editor by other readers like yourself.


To the Editor:
Re “ ‘Monologues’ Spurs Dialogue on Taste and Speech” (news article, March 8):
The controversy over the word “vagina” and its use in a reading by high school students of a selection from “The Vagina Monologues” calls to mind the current widespread censorship of the “The Higher Power of Lucky,” a Newbery Medal-winning children’s book, for its use of the word “scrotum.”


I understand the impulse that parents and school authorities have to “protect” children. As a parent, I certainly wish I could keep my son young and innocent for as long as possible, especially now when children are forced to grow up and confront adult issues and matters much earlier than before.


Still, if we, as adults, put forward the correct words for our body parts for even the youngest children, that may help lessen the use of the much more vulgar slang terms kids are more apt to use.


If we used the correct terminology to demystify and talk about our bodies, that could help defuse our hypersexualized society, which is much more harmful to our children than any particular anatomical term.


Beth Kneller Brooklyn, March 8, 2007

To the Editor:
The events leading to the suspension of three high school girls for saying the word “vagina” in a reading from a play that a New York Times reviewer called “probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade” are beyond appalling.


Let’s be clear about this. This is not about insubordination, but about heavy-handed censorship. Whether the girls did (or, as they maintain, did not) agree to avoid the word, the principal’s actions before and after the reading were unconscionable.


Publishers take prior restraint very seriously, and when that prior restraint is to prevent the utterance of a medically correct term for a female body part, we say, “Enough!”


We would be delighted to send the principal some excellent books about free speech — including the First Amendment rights of students — as well as books on human anatomy, all published by our members.


Pat Schroeder Washington, March 9, 2007

The writer, a former Democratic representative from Colorado, is president and chief executive of the Association of American Publishers.

To the Editor:
A few weeks ago it was “scrotum” that was causing an uproar in the world of children’s librarians. Now, in Westchester County, 16-year-old girls face punishment for uttering the word “vagina” when told not to.


Perhaps this culture’s sad hang-ups over sex can be traced to its refusal to call a penis a penis, a scrotum a scrotum, a vagina a vagina.


And perhaps other problems can similarly be linked to its fear of plain speaking, whereby failure is “success that hasn’t occurred yet,” catastrophe is “a heckuva job” and a lie is a “plan for victory.”


Too many adults are in deep denial. Maybe listening to our children isn’t such a bad idea.


Mark Hussey

Upper Nyack, N.Y., March 8, 2007

Would really love to here your thoughts about this one!!!!!!

24 comments:

vishnell said...

I was looking at the principles and schools views and how it would affect them with this whole situation. We as QHST students should know better then any other students that when we are told not to do something and go against it we will pay the consequences.

I understood everyone that was saying talking about the vagina monologues is a way of female empowerment and the word should be freely used. However you are in a school. There are so many things we can say in the streets because we have the freedom of speech to be able to do so but you can’t say everything inside a school building. If I can’t have a conversation with my friends saying words that are inappropriate in a school, what makes anyone think you can do it up on a stage in school? Yeah it’s a little ridiculous that some people today still get disturbed by the word vagina or think it’s a bad word but its reality.

The principles job is to satisfy the students and their parents. He shouldn’t have to risk his job for this one word that he can be attacked about by so many people. He is the one that is making decisions. Like I said in class if there are 10 acts and out of those 10 acts, 9 of them are doing something like playing a flute, dancing, or reading a poem and then there is these girls doing the vagina monologue. He automatically sees something that can cause a huge up roar. Why should he have to put his job on the line for one word that can have so many people mad at him? Even if nothing would off come about with the girls presenting the monologue, it’s the worry of it happening that matters. When you are in a school you are limited to what you are able to say because it might hurt or offend others. I am not saying simple words but curse words and some other words that we might freely use outside of school. We curse and say inappropriate things because the first amendment allows us too. So if people are going to fight over the whole freedom of speech issue then why aren’t kids able to walk around the school cursing. Yeah yeah the word vagina is not a curse and I understand, it’s a part of the female body. I am not saying the word is banned from school period but it is a word that shouldn’t be said on stage in front of young kids and other people who might take it the wrong way. I am just simply trying to compare our right to say certain words in certain environments. There is a time and a place to be able to talk a way you want to talk and the vagina monologue was something the principle didn’t think was the place for at that time.

I do feel that as of this day and age we should be able to perform the vagina monologue but as the principle saw this wasn’t something a lot of people were ready for. When society changes and understands that words like vagina have come too far for us to be told not to say then it would be a different story. What people don’t understand is not everybody thinks “What’s the big deal?” because to some it is a big deal. What might not affect me can affect the next person and vise versa. If all of this was so easy and censorship wasn’t a big deal then our world would be a complete different place. We face controversy because not every body is ready to move forward. With that said the principle knew that this was something he could loose his job for because not every individual is ready.

Sam said...

"Still, if we, as adults, put forward the correct words for our body parts for even the youngest children, that may help lessen the use of the much more vulgar slang terms kids are more apt to use." <- from one of the letters to the editor.

I hate that this is even considered an issue. I understand they were suspended for insubordination but the insubordination was due to their 1st amendment right being violated, atleast thats what I feel. Vishnell is right to some extent, the principal's job is controversial and he has to please everyone but the fact of the matter is that the monologue, My Short Skirt , is not the issue of vulgarity is was thought to be. In fact, My Short Skirt only uses the word vagina a whopping ONCE, and does not contain language considered "profane". In fact, I feel that the piece itself was very appropriate for high school, and has a great message of empowerment that many young girls need to hear.


"My short skirt, believe it or not
has nothing to do with you.

My short skirt
is about discovering
the power of my lower calves
about cool autumn air traveling
up my inner thighs
about allowing everything I see
or pass or feel to live inside."

This is not sexual or violent, and if there were children in the audience, I doubt they were so morally corrupted! Those girls had every right to say it, and we should be alotted our first amendment right in school, as well as everywhere else. Our administrators are NOT put in place to serve parents. They have jobs to serve the children and our well being. If you can say vagina anywhere else in school, why not read it?


A school cannot be exempt from upholding the constitutional rights. Those girls were standing on a stage in a PUBLIC SCHOOL. I could understand trouble in a parochial school but they were in a public school and should have the rights they would in any other public place.

Edwin Genao said...

“Monologs” Spurs Dialogue on Taste and Speech.

I wasn’t sure when we first read the article whether vagina was a bad word or not. I try not to say bad words. I found out from Ms. Grantz that that vagina is not a bad word. She told me it was only a female body part the teachers told the girls not to say the word, they did any way that was wrong I always do what my teachers say. I think they should’ve gotten suspended.

sharkey said...

I believe that the girls constitutional rights have been violated. I think that because under the constitution we do have the freedom of speech. If the girls wanted to perform the monologue they could because it happened in a public place. The school should be a haven of free speech after school hours. But during school hours the administration should censorship some things that are not allowed in school during those hours. No because that school has a school board where that school is located. Schools are censored in some areas that are not allowed to be learned. this monologue could have been used in a scientific way instead of the way they used it in. The girls were on the Cross River school boards stage. The stage was just in a high school.

Josh said...

This was one of the best debates we have had in this class so far. I think this article got us so interested becaiuse so many of us can relate to a time that we got in trouble for trying to prove a point. After reading th article it was madre clear to u s that three students decided to perform an exerpt from "The Vagina Monologues". After being told not to say the word vagina and agreeing to not do so (even though the grils deny again said agreement) still comment a sign of defiance. I agree they should be punished if there really was an agreement made, but a suspension is a bit harsh in my opinion. I actually feel that the student should not be limited from saying anything like the word vagina in high school of all places. High School students are definitely mature enough to handle a body part aloud in a tasteful forum. I did not iunderstand such a harsh punishment yesterday, and after actually hearing the poem aloud today I definitely don't see any justification. The word vagina is only mentioned once throughout the entire performance. The fact that it was mentioned once and not in a vulgar presentation is mind boggling to me as well as over the top. AS far as what Vishneell said about the principal trying to protect his job, I find this to be a valid explanation, bt I think he is at risk now more than ever to lose his job. With all the media attention around this issue the school may find it to be beneficial to them to get rid of this principal and find someone who will surround them with less controgversy.

Mangubat said...

Hi, Walter. Here is my response to Vishnell, Sam, and you of course. When Joanna read "My Short Skirt" today, I listened to it and I thought it wasn't a big deal. She only said the word that the teachers told the three girls not to say one time. In the beginning, I thought the girls did the wrong thing but I changed my mind. When I found out that the girls never got suspended I was happy for them, even though I think on the whold we should do what our teachers say.
-Jay

Christian said...

Framing this debate as the freedom of speech versus the right of schools to censor their students creates a false dichotomy. Schools act in place of parents on many subjects, including telling students what is acceptable to wear, what they may bring to school, and what qualifies as offensive speech. That is both their right and their responsibility.

The real issue is the idea that a school would tell a student that the clinical term for a part of her own anatomy is an offensive word.

What happens when that student has a question that she needs to discuss? Lacking an environment in which open dialogue is safe, where does she go? Her friends? No one at all? In middle school and high school, when students' bodies are changing at a rapid pace, and when such issues as STDs and teen pregnancy are a real danger, it is disgraceful that a center of learning would harbor an atmosphere in which simply using a medical term is a punishable offense.

Vishnell says that it's just reality that people will get offended. That's true, but still misguided. If some people get offended by clinical terms, it is those people who need to change.

nyshee..."0 said...

i know that the vagina monologues is like an movement for women to understand them selves and indepent people but define each one as a whole..

in class it was discussion to made about the monologues and how the three students couldn't go to school over this because onr monologue "MY SHORT SKIRT"..
after hearing the whole monologue they studnets only said vagina once.. so now my view on this is diffenet because i thought that the WHOLE monologue had vagina in it but it really didnt... but like what vishnell said he was rtying to protect his students and his school so that the media takes it to a whole other level....

christine mullen said...

I feel the word vagina was not the only reason for the school wanting to take this situation out of hand. I feel that in the schools eyes that the word is just the gate way for the students to a have a freedom that is unheard of in a school atmosphere. First it will be the "v" word than the dress code will become an issue and then the schools start to feel as if they are losing that control that they feel keeps the school in order.
I feel this whole situation was blown out of proportion because of schools wanting their students to be protected from the real world, that they are supposed to be preparing us for. Which I don’t understand how that could possible be true when everything we do is like having tunnel vision. We can’t say this; we can’t listen to that, this movie is not appropriate for school.
I understand everything isn’t appropriate for school because there are students that cant handle things that have to do with real life. That’s why their in high school to get used to it, but I feel once your a senior in high school and words movies and music are still being censored. That’s a little too sheltered at this point because its like some of these students are 18 and are being called to do jury duty but you cant say the "v" word. Doesn’t that seem a little weird to anyone besides me. So you can be apart of a jury to decide weather or not somebody can be a free person or not, but you can’t say vagina in schools.

when your supposed to be preparing to be an adult. That’s when I have to disagree with vishnell because for one thing I don’t think that she should use our school as an example of people that pay consequences for our actions because theirs a lot of people who don’t ever seem to get in trouble. Also another thing I disagree with is the fact that she made it seem as if the principle was giving up his job to let these girls read a poem. When he’s the one that decided to take it as far as he did. These girls found a way to express themselves and as women that word is a part of our body. So why does that have to be hidden so what happens when you go to health the teacher shouldn’t be able to speak or educate you about that topic. I mean if anything the principle would have been better off supporting his students and freedom of speech. Rather than turn against them making himself out to be the fool.

vishnell also spoke about his job is to satisfy the students and the parents in the choices he made as far as bring all this attention to the school and making the girls miss school who and how is he satisfying anybody? Going off topic for a moment I just wanted to apologize for not posting on the blog in a long time for those who cant wait to hear Christine Mullen’s opinion am really going to try to disagree with as many people as I can just kidding lol.

Lewis said...

I'll start with some of the questions leading into the post.


Should schools be a haven of free speech or do school administrators need to consider the concerns of the public they are paid to serve?

Yes on both parts. The publics primary concerns should be the protection of individuals rights and the preservation of a stable society. Students should be allowed free speech, however the administration would border on criminal negligence if they allowed students to chant anti-semitic death threats at a Jewish student.
Saying the word vagina does nothing to upset the safety and stability of society and it certainly does not violate any individuals rights.

Should the school be scrutinized by the same democratic republic that keeps watch over the rest of the country?

Assuming it is a public school, yes. A private school has no expectation of such oversight.

Whose stage were the three girls in Cross River standing on?

The publics stage. It is owned by the common public, paid for with their tax dollars to serve their needs. Performers are subject to all the rights of a public space.
Just to be clear, if it was a privately owned and maintained space, they can place any restriction on you they want. They can disallow the word "vagina" or "elbow" if they want. They can require you to perform naked or in Nazi regalia. They can disallow Mexicans or males between the ages of 8 and 32 from appearing. I wouldn't expect their business to do well with many of these restrictions however.

In the end, the principal overstepped his role and violated individuals rights and misused authority entrusted to him by the public. Abuse of power should always result in revocation of power. He should be put on probation or be given leave.

Lewis said...

Vishnell I don't think I could disagree with you more. As for not being able to curse in school. Honestly it is a bit silly that you face such a restriction, when you get into college you will find teachers who will freely use the word "fuck" in lectures and certainly aren't going to flinch when you say it. However I do understand the desire to give young minds some structure and limitations to an extent, because the real sin of swearing is not the words, but the lazy use of language behind them. As long as you are not disturbing class I don't see why even high school students should be punished if they say shit in class.

Yeah it’s a little ridiculous that some people today still get disturbed by the word vagina or think it’s a bad word but its reality.

Yes it is reality, and isn't that more than just a bit disturbing? Doesn't that upset you, doesn't that make you want to change it? The civil rights movement would never have gotten anywhere with attitudes like that.

He shouldn’t have to risk his job for this one word that he can be attacked about by so many people.

I would contend that he has risked his job by not allowing that one word. He would have not been in any real jeopardy by allowing the girls to perform the piece as they auditioned it.
What would have happened if he had allowed it and a parent saw the performance, felt offended and wrote a complaint to him? His reaction is quite simple. He only needs to point out that those girls were properly using their freedom of expression and were not breaking any laws. If the parent wants to start a public dialog, great! If she wants to complain to the performers or their parents, that is also her prerogative, but she would have no foothold for taking the principal to task for being lax in his duties.
Also if there really is so much ignorance in the community that he could get sacked for doing the right thing, he should still have done the right thing and been happy to leave. You can not compromise your integrity.

I am not saying the word is banned from school period but it is a word that shouldn’t be said on stage in front of young kids and other people who might take it the wrong way.

There is nothing wrong with saying vagina in front of small kids. They have all been in one at some point, why should they not hear that word? It is totally nonsensical to think that it can not be said in front of children. As for those who, "might take it the wrong way," I would ask how could they take it the wrong way? If they did somehow take it the wrong way I would love to hear how they did it and open a dialog with them about it. That would be far better that suppressing individuals rights.

Mr. Leprine was in the wrong and should now face disciplinary action of some sort, and realize that squelching the individual rights of students puts his job at risk.

Lewis said...

I think on the whold we should do what our teachers say.

Listening to you teachers is a good thing. Mindlessly accepting everything they say is not. Teachers are people and can be wrong. I say this having taught and considering doing it again in the future. Teachers should be teaching you how to think, not what to think. You should think critically, and form your own views and beliefs.

Lewis said...

Schools act in place of parents on many subjects, including telling students what is acceptable to wear, what they may bring to school, and what qualifies as offensive speech. That is both their right and their responsibility.

Wow, that is disconcerting to hear, at the very least. Schools should not be acting in place of parents. Schools are institutions of teaching, the primary role of which is to pass on knowledge. Parents are caretakers, they instill morals and belief systems, etc. Parents can also teach, but schools can not parent.

If some people get offended by clinical terms, it is those people who need to change.

This is more like it. If they are offended by the word, they should change. If they find the word offensive and react by oppressing individuals rights, then those people must change.
They have the right be ignorant or small minded, they do not have the right to interfere with the rights of others.

Anonymous said...

This debate I felt was one of the most argued all year. Looking at Sam's comment I agree to the quote she used. The monologue chosen by the girls was in fact the least "offensive" out of all of them. It only said the "v-word" once and I dont feel that anyone who listened to the monologue would have been offended.
These girls who stood up for what they thought was right and did not allow themselves to be censored. While I feel the principle if he did not want there to be a controversy, he should have not let them perform it at all.
My short skirt
is about discovering
the power of my lower calves
about cool autumn air traveling
up my inner thighs
about allowing everything I see
or pass or feel to live inside."
I chose Sam's quote from her comment to also add that it was not offensive,and like Sam said it was not offensive or violent. I dont believe any one in the audience would have been upset at hearing this monologue.
Michelle Asciote

dinah said...

Most girls are taught about periods and how their body works at the age of 9. With the age a girl gets their period getting ever younger the word vagina is introduced to them at a younger age aswell.
If the scene from the play was objected to because the subject matter was deemed inappropriate for a younger audience i would guess that it was more sexual in nature i.e. actively describing intimate acts of sex or masturbation.
However if the only 'inappropriate' issue was the specific word Vagina then I am appalled.

I am glad these girls did not get suspended. I hope they continue to see that not all figures of authority make sensible choices. I wish i had had their guts to stand up for what's fair when i was their age. I think the most i did was start a petition that got ignored. well done girls for choosing a brave and powerful piece to perform and for sticking to your beliefs!

W Brown said...

testing

Superfly said...

I must say that I wish we had this Lewis character with us in QHST. He makes so many valid arguments. I too, must disagree with Vishnell on many issues central to her argument (for instance: accepting archaic societal norms the way she did in her response) but we don't need to rehash them in my comment.
However, I will go on to agree with Eve Ensler when she states how ridiculous it is to be even having this argument in 2007. We as a country pride ourselves on our freedoms from oppression. Censoring the word vagina is oppressive, as well as degrading. Censorship of the vagina simply furthers the stereotype that it is something dirty and nasty to be covered up and locked up, lending itself to the idea of the female being lesser in society. A vagina is a vagina, not a flower or a "coochie-snorcher" (in reference to another vagina monologue "The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could"). But, maybe this principal's stupid and oppressive act has had a good outcome; it led to this conversation.

And, as for a statement I made previously saying that, if only to keep up some sort of visage of authority for the principal, the girls should have been suspended. I would like to recant that. He does not deserve his student's respect.

zohra ali said...

According to what was understood in class, I feel that the girls constitutional rights weren’t violated because they agreed (making a verbal contract) to not say the word they were told not to.
I think that schools should have freedom of speech but depending on what grade level it is. I don’t think young kids should go around saying bad things if they hear it, but should be corrected because they are learning the right things to do. I think by the time they are able to think for themselves and are almost ready to be placed into society making that step into college outside of the NY public system , students should be allowed to practice their freedom of speech being high school students. I think the school administration needs to consider the concerns of the public because they are paid to serve them but the students are also public and they aren’t robots that society needs to output into society. You just cant input a delinquent and have the system output a perfect good will Samaritan because everyone doesn’t think alike and have the same ways to express themselves. Yes the administration can control who comes to see it, but I don’t think they should go as far as trying to censor students on what to say when they are going to hear it on TV that night, or in the real world when they meet it, after being sheltered in the NYC public school system.
I think that the school shouldn’t be scrutinized over students who didn’t want to comply toward rules the students agreed on following. I don’t think the principle could have done anything in his way to have stopped the girls from doing what they set out to do no matter how much he pleaded with them. I think these girls took advantage of a nice guy and even though he wasn’t being rational with them allowing them to still be able to read their peace, they went ahead and disobeyed the rules. The democratic republic can keep a watch on the county but they shouldn’t look towards the principle being the problem when its clearly society causing those girls to think outside of the box, because they are in touch with reality. If these rules weren’t here, the principle wouldn’t even care if the girls had said the word, and all he was doing was his job which he’s elected to do (enforce school rules) you cant/shouldn’t fire someone whose clearly doing their job and the students just don’t want to listen.
I’m on the fence with school being censored because I feel that students shouldn’t have a blind fold put over their eyes just to hide all the harm in the world when its already poisoned as is. The poison of the world finds its way to seep into the classroom and into a Childs mind whose curious to crack the code of censorship. This was a case of teenagers who have taken off the blind fold and wanted to break out of the norm and go against censorship. It was a brave move yes, but a selfish and un-thought-out movement that hadn’t had the slightest bit of concern about what would happen to the principle.
I don’t think that schools should be exempt form upholding constitutional rights because you are still human in school, and cant get disrespected anyway in the USA, even in the public school system. The rights give you a little leeway in public school trying to get away with certain things, but I don’t think many know that, hence our economics class who doesn’t know what the constitution actually is. Students tend to be oblivious and wouldn’t even recognize or feel the difference if their rights were taken away because they are brainwashed by the public school system into thinking they have to abide by their rules only which isn’t a bad thing but it doesn’t let students ask questions or challenge things.
The stage that the three girls in cross river were standing on was paid for by the community but the community never wrote or had a constitutional rights set up for the stage about what can and cant be performed on stage, so I don’t think it’s a valid point to say that since it was the communities they shouldn’t have said it.
I thought our discussion in class was very interesting because it was awkward at first but then turned into something eye opening and scary. To read the article about the n word, and say that freedom of speech is turning into a slippery slope, and then reading this article about not being able to say vagina makes it even creepy to think the slope is even slippery and things just might be downhill by now. I think reading the article about the girls was better than reading the weird editorial piece by author unknown because I didn’t take it seriously with the language the author used, such as my favorite “he fueled a brouhaha that threatens to trivialize real concerns about free expression.”, but then saved themselves by they wrote “Words are nothing to be afraid of. But they don’t like to be stifled.”. I think that quote is true in the sense that words can be very powerful in a sense that they can cause emotions such as fear, and can provoke others. If words are left to be said and not censored then things would make sense because everything is out in the open and said. I totally agreed with Vishnell in class, and in her blog when she wrote “The principles job is to satisfy the students and their parents.”, which was my point exactly because I felt bad that the principle has to suffer the consequences. The students should be facing the consequences for disobeying the rules rather than the principle because he couldn’t physically stop the students from doing what they were going to do regardless of rules.

vishnell said...

First of all when I first started writing I clearly stated that I saw everything from the principles point of view. People disagreeing with me are busying saying things as if I am all against the word. I am sorry but lets be real if you were a principle you would be facing tough situations like this every day. You wouldn’t be thinking the way you are thinking while writing this comment.

Lewis - Yes it is reality, and isn't that more than just a bit disturbing? Doesn't that upset you; doesn't that make you want to change it? The civil rights movement would never have gotten anywhere with attitudes like that.

What kind of attitude do I have? An attitude that’s seeing the principles side of how hard it must be to have to make a decision that can turn so many against him? Reality is not everybody is going to be all for one thing and as a principle it is harder because it’s as if all the kids in the building are the principles kids so he has to make decisions that he feels will be best to make his society happy. This doesn’t mean he’s against the word vagina or I am against the word. I am not trying to make civil rights here, I am just trying to understand a man with his job and how difficult it must be to decide weather these girls can say the word vagina. Difficult because of people not seeing it the way you and the next person are seeing it.

Also Lewis you said how it’s a bit silly about the cursing and when I get into college I would hear all this cursing going around. Well the article is about high school students and I am also a high school student so let’s stay in the right school. This isn’t college. In college I am sure the word vagina wouldn’t even be argued about.The whole point of this article is how it was a HIGH SCHOOL presentation and HIGH SCHOOL girls not being allowed to say it. So the point i made about the cursing and everything else in a high school was pretty relevant.

Lewis-There is nothing wrong with saying vagina in front of small kids. They have all been in one at some point, why should they not hear that word? It is totally nonsensical to think that it can not be said in front of children. As for those who, "might take it the wrong way," I would ask how could they take it the wrong way? If they did somehow take it the wrong way I would love to hear how they did it and open a dialog with them about it. That would be far better that suppressing individuals rights.

The beautiful Mrs. Grants said how people like her grandma in her day and age never said the word and women didn’t even look at their bodies. So as she said if her grandma was to be there and hear the word it would probably upset her too. Also there are some parents who might not want their child to hear the word yet. Yes to me this sounds ridiculous; trust me but its thinking like a principle which again is what I did!!!!!!!

The whole point of my comment was to explain that I see where the principle is coming from and why he made his decision. Not because I don’t believe in change and don’t think that the word vagina shouldn’t be allowed to be spoken. So before everybody is ready to attack me with all these comments about how they couldn’t disagree with me more please understand what I am trying to say. I am just that one person taking the side of the principle and how he might have seen things. Everybody has pretty much the same thing to say. Be like Vishnell .Thank You =)

p.s I will not be writing about this anymore. I said enough.

W Brown said...

Thank you for your comments everyone!

Lewis said...

zohra ali from the articles I have read on this I don't think it is fair to say, "I feel that the girls constitutional rights weren’t violated because they agreed (making a verbal contract) to not say the word they were told not to." The girls were alleged to have agreed to not say the word by the principal, however the girls have denied this claim. So this verbal contract is not only unsubstantiated but it is contested.


all he was doing was his job which he’s elected to do (enforce school rules) you cant/shouldn’t fire someone whose clearly doing their job and the students just don’t want to listen.

I don't think I have heard any calls to fire him for failing to stop the girls from saying what they did. The problem is that he did try to stop them. That is not his job. I doubt there is a school rule that says you cannot say the word vagina, and if there is he would be showing a serious lack of discretion if he enforced it. Not all rules are right, and if they are wrong they should not be enforced.

Take it to a historical example, look at Rosa Parks. The rule was blacks had to go to the back of the bus. You could even argue she had made an agreement thru precedence by moving to the back before. However none of that changes that it was wrong to tell her she had to sit in the back of the bus, and that she was completely in the right to refuse such an invalid order. Basic individual civil rights trump rules that do not protect individuals rights.

Lewis said...

I am sorry but lets be real if you were a principle you would be facing tough situations like this every day. You wouldn’t be thinking the way you are thinking while writing this comment.

Tough situations like what? Being criticized for censoring students? No I don't think I would, because I would avoid doing it. But you mean the girls wanting to perform the monologue which was a non-issue. There was no controversy or issue with allowing their piece to be performed unfettered. The principal made the situation, he put himself in a quagmire.

Don't think that those who disagree with the principal can not understand the frame of mind he was coming from when he made the decision. I can see what he said and why he said it, and for those exact reasons see that he is wrong.

What kind of attitude do I have? An attitude that’s seeing the principles side of how hard it must be to have to make a decision that can turn so many against him?

The same kind of attitude as the principal, that we need to walk on eggshells around some peoples misplaces sensibilities. As for decisions that will get people to turn against him, suppressing individuals rights is up at the top of that list. Allowing the girls to perform their piece would not lead to any rational reactions against him.

Could there maybe have been some very closed minded individuals that saw the piece and would react negatively to it? Certainly. However it is not the role of the principal to protect the delicate sensibilities of the ignorant, rather he should be looking after and protecting his students and their rights. If he did have to take some heat from an unenlightened sector of the populace, so be it. I don't see why I shouldn't expect a principal to act principled. He should know better, shame on him for putting himself before his students, shame on him for putting the considerations of the uninformed before the consideration of those he is supposed to be educating.
What the principal did is undefendable.

Zohra Ali said...

I may feel defeated in my debate, but it doesn’t change the way I think about the situation. I know that the principle wasn’t going to get fired but in class we talked about it so i tried to put two and two together. I think that this whole situation is getting blow out of proportion and as much as we spew our guts about it, it wont change the way things are run in school because are just students within the public system, and apparently we don’t know what we want or cant make judgment about what does on in school because we don’t pay taxes that go toward our school, our parents do. I think this situation shouldn’t be asked upon by student of what they think, but it should go out to those adults in the audience at the performance and in the neighborhood because of people like ms. Grants grandma who don’t know the word and the meaning behind it.

kaitlyn said...

who would ever think that a word would spark such emotion and heated debate as this. vagina. there i said it, did anyone die from hearing it? why is a body part a vulgar word that cannot be said in public? i wonder who came up with the bad words people use.

mrs.grantz mentioned in class how her grandmother's generation wasn't taught to love and appreciate their vaginas, but as time changes we become more accepting of the things of the past, which i think is a wonderful thing. that "from upon your body" mentality is gone and what replaced it is a "be happy with yourself" menatality that is more beneficial. we enter the previous mentality by censoring the word, and like joanna said it's degrading towards women. in one sense we want everyone to be happy with themselves, yet in another we still want to oppress human rights.

"Censorship of the vagina simply furthers the stereotype that it is something dirty and nasty to be covered up and locked up, lending itself to the idea of the female being lesser in society."- joannas post.
everything i was trying to say was basicly summed up in joannas post. thanks for writing it. Like she said when you continue a stereotype you act with the old mentality that the subject is less or dirty or vulgar than it really is.

sam was right when she said that the monologue they read only had the word vagina in it once. we read it in class and instead of it being an offensive piece it was empowering for women. the girls chose that monologue because it wasn't as intense as the others might seem to someone else. i'm unsure how you can be offended by empowering women, wearing short skirts for themselves and not men. that's one of the best empowering things a woman could do.

i understand the principal's position because he does cater to the community they school is in. if they don't want something to happen they have the power to stop it, but i don't think that this was something they would've wanted to stop. if they really wanted to see what's happening in local schools they should hear the horrible terms that are used to refer to the female anatomy. the principal should try and fight that and not the medical term for a person's body part. i think that if he left it alone, everyone would've forgotten about it and it wouldn't have been such a big thing.

in the article the girls said that they never agreed to censor themselves, yet the principal claims they did. instead of trying to fight a "he-said, she said" battle of what really happened the principal should've tried to prevent what he didn't want to happen. when something "innapropriate" for lets say kids comes on t.v. they have a disclamer on before so that you can change the channel. if the principal wanted to make sure the word vagina didn't offend anyone, they could've said before the monologue that it contained "innapropriate" (for lack of a better word, maybe someone could think of another one) material for little kids. that might have helped solve the problem.