Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tolerance - the Dreaded "T" Word

When we think of the word tolerance, various thoughts come to mind.  Tolerance is defined as"a fair, objective, permissive attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc. differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.
In simple terms, it means respecting that others are different from you.  It does not require that you share their views, just afford them the ability to have them.
Isn't this what our country is all about, freedom?
And yet in 2012, during the peak of the most recent presidential election we are seeing no tolerance.
In Philadelphia, a public school teacher singled out a student who was wearing a tee shirt supporting one of the candidates and ridiculed her.  The geometry teacher asked the student to stand up, encouraged the other students to ridicule her, chastised her, told her that the school swayed in the other political direction and had her leave the class.
The student left the class and stayed home from school since Sept 28 because she and her family feared for her safety.  The student returned to school on October 9th after an administrator read a letter from the teacher apologizing "for the chaos and negative attention caused by her words".  The superintendent called this a teachable moment and did nothing else.

Where are we headed with this?  This teacher was guilty of not only intolerance, but bullying.  As someone who is an position of power as well as a role model for teenagers, their behavior was deplorable.  They should have been fired immediately.  The guilty party was shown "tolerance" for her bad behavior because her politics agreed with that of the administration.  The student who was practicing their right to expression and freedom of speech was ridiculed.  What is wrong with this picture?

No comments: