What are they doing to our children?

by — Jan. 10, 2002 (Comments)

I read a story in the newspaper that discussed how a third grade child had her science project yanked from a science fair because it was too controversial. The project was a comparison that had been conducted in a manner that was similar to a prominent social scientist, Kenneth Clark. It seems that her only mistake was in the wording of the outcome of the project. Those words could have been changed or eliminated and the project could have gone forward and been included in the fair. However, the school choose not to guide her, but to embarrass her. This incident has been brought to the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union for a possible free speech violation and could result in a lawsuit against the school.

This appears to be a very enterprising eight year-old who was not afraid to conduct an experiment with her 15 of her peers and 15 adults for the conclusion of a survey for her science project.

I was horrified to learn that she was not guided, but instead rejected and her project trounced. Children of this age can be emotionally battered, wherein the child’s self can be manipulated and submerged until they cannot function. She had an idea and ran with it. She came to a conclusion and was knocked down for it.

We can be very proud that the child had the foresight and creativity to accomplish such a progressive project. However, because of the school’s reaction and rejection of her work, I wonder how will this affect how she views her future and how the children view this issue.

How can we encourage the creativity of our children? Or do we misunderstand what the child is trying to accomplish and knock them down? Communication must go both ways. It is my understanding that the school was afraid that her conclusion could have had a devastating effect on someone else (not that it did, but that it could have). What kind of devastating effect did it definitely have on her?

I am wondering what it is that is being taught in school today. Obviously, in Colorado there is a problem. At some point, someone was doing something right, or the child would not have been able to think for herself and come up with such a creative project. However, to object so strongly by pulling it from the science fair instead of guiding her and allowing it to go forward is an atrocious action against a child.

I am angry and I am not sure how this article will be related. I certainly hope that you see the most important and significant issue is the child and her self-esteem, her emotional well-being and her creativity.