Well. I talked with both the principals at Hannah’s school where I’m doing the media literacy project about this opening with the 6th graders to show how they’re influenced by media images about “sex”. The school does great interpersonally ~ everyone is treated well with a lot of respect and regard ~ but sexual orientation or sexual identities never comes up in “normal” conversation. So, while the school treats everyone the same, everyone is not talked about in the same ways.
The principals had no difficulty in acknowledging that these “silences” don’t promote a concept of normalcy, and told me the time to talk about this with the kids is “now”, even if everyone (some staff? parents?) isn’t ready. So, I’ll do this on Tuesday, for the second session. It’s really just setting the frame for looking at how the media influences strategies for conflict resolution, but if things go well, maybe I’ll get to do a “part 2” on representation in the spring.
Interestingly, Hannah told me that when she got off the bus Friday morning, two of the women teachers were dressed as a bride and groom, just standing there, greeting the kids as they came off the bus! Now, I don’t know if this was a response to our conversation or not. We’d talked about how the kids never see female-female or male-male couples at the school dances, among other absences and silences. So, on the one hand, if this was a response to our talk, it’s quite proactive and I’m gratified at how seriously they’re taking this. Yet, I have some questions about the form – is it more like caricature than actual education? I asked Hannah if they talked about it, “no.” Maybe they did in other classes…..