Deal with it.
Over the past month I’ve run across editorials and social media posts that urge Americans to just “deal” with the presidency now that the election is over because “there’s nothing ‘you’ can do about it.”
As a teacher, I can’t.
Schools are like tiny representations of the broader community. They have officials (administration), community leaders (teachers), and citizens (students). Schools struggle to create infrastructure that works for everyone. It has to be equitable, create a sense of community, and balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the greater population.
Imagine that I walk into work next week and my administration tells me we are no longer admitting students of color (immigrant or not), of minority religions, from poverty, nor students who identify as LGBT. The reason? Allowing students from at-risk sectors of our community potentially puts other students and staff in harms way. It puts me at risk.
I will happily take the potential risk.
In the past 12 years I have had two students sit through my class with loaded handguns ; I have had desks and chairs thrown at me; I have been slammed against a locker trying to break-up a fight; I have been privy to plots to harm students or staff. However, I would walk into those situations a hundred times before I advocated for members of the community to be weeded out based on their potential behavioral risk before they even posed a semblance of threat.
This is the land of the free, home of the brave. I refuse to approach life through a lens of fear. The executive order on immigration handed down from the government (and then, thanks to Bob Ferguson, straight into the court system) was a slam against equality and a tactic to justify fear as a viable reason to violate legally granted rights. Just as parents trust us to recognize signs of instability or danger when we’re caring for and educating their children, we should be able to trust our government to do the same when they are processing visas. It’s Immigration’s job to weed out those who are inherently dangerous to individuals, groups and our union without denying access to countless people who have earned the right of entry. Immigration policy (or any other policy) should never be made on general feelings of fear and distrust. Policies should be made based on facts, evidence and the needs of the greater community, and, dare I say, humanity. When I take the implementation and foundational beliefs of the executive immigration order and apply them on a smaller scale, like a school, it becomes clear how incoherent and fear-based it was.
I cannot “just deal” with living in a country that values potential safety over equality and legally granted rights.
I can’t “just deal with it” because the message fear-based policies send are ones of hate, discrimination and ignorance. Those messages are not tolerated in my classroom, so why should they be tolerated from my government?