Okay, I promise I am not trying to stir things up nor get any teachers in trouble. I just think this is a topic worth discussing and if not on this site than where? I think as a general rule our society is hyper-politically correct, hyper-sensitive and people walk on egg shells afraid to say anything about anything and that is a shame. So long as it is respectful, I think spirited dialogue from all sides of the political spectrum should be heard and shared. We all become richer for the exchange. So a third-grade class in Pennsylvania decided to have an "Amish Day." I'm all for that and they incorporated food into the lesson which I think is great. I saw a whoopie pie on one of the child's plate, which is perfect. But dressing up Amish? I don't know, I was kind of torn when I saw this. Wouldn't other groups protest if an Native American unit featured students dressing up in feathers and war-paint, for instance? I think what really flummoxed me is that the elementary school is located in of all places Lancaster County. Now have school budgets gotten so watered down that they couldn't have taken a short field trip? Sheesh, they have one of the largest population of Amish in the world literally within 15 minutes of their school... they could have gone to an Amish dairy farm in the area for a tour and come away with a much greater cultural experience. I just worry that reducing the Amish experience down to bonnets and hats waters down what they are all about, which is a rich faith with a deep history. If this had been a school district in, say,Louisiana or Arizona where there are no Amish nearby, then maybe dress-up would have been more appropriate...I don't know....any thoughts?
Interesting...I think the least they could have done is invite an Amish person or two (and maybe one of the children) to come and share about their lifestyle and why they live and dress as they do. The kids would have enjoyed hearing about this lifestyle from the source, and surely someone in the school or class has a friend, or knows of someone with a nearby store, who might have considered doing this.
I loved your idea of the class visiting a working dairy or other business in the area, too. That would have provided the atmosphere to learn about their lifestyle and clothing. And, allowing the girls to try on a bonnet or the boys a straw hat, could have easily happened in the course of the day.
You didn't say how the teachers handled the wearing of Amish attire...were explanations given, for example, or were they just told to dress like them? Most kids love to dress up, but when it comes to trying to represent a group of people (whatever group), there needs to be teaching involved. To me, it's all in the words used to bring the Amish to "life" for these kids.
Margaret - Welcome, and good points. I should clarify that I don't know much more than what I posted. There MAY have been more context given for the attire, etc. Heck, for all I know maybe they had just come back from a visit to an Amish farm and celebrated with a lunch (although I think the school would have mentioned that on their site)...so, yes, context is key. But lacking that I just come away kind of with mixed emotions -Kevin
loved the PC comments.
For some reason, school outings/field trips have been waning considerably over the past decade or two I believe it may have something to do with not wanting to support the legal community via lawsuits. there is such a restrictive life what with being PC and fearing the idea of a lawsuit.
Now, the idea of having something more authentic for AMISH DAYS, would a Plain person consider doing something that would be bringing attention to one's self like this ?? maybe any venture via Amish personnel that had relatively little accident possibility could be arranged. Personally, it would be wonderful for students to ck out the farm and realize mild does not automatically appear in a carton or jug. How would one protect the farmer from lawsuits if someone got upset over stepping the wrong place etc ??
Brenda, I think you're right about litigation killing the field trip.. When I was a kid we always had to sign a waiver before going on a field trip, I don't know why those don't seem as prevalent anymore....
It's because waivers really aren't worth the paper they are written on any more. It's why we don't participate in 'Rural Ramble' any more. You just can't have enough insurance to protect yourself if someone gets hurt on your property. Also up here we have a staggered bell (don't ask, the reason makes no sense). But what it does is keep the buses so busy bringing kids to and from school that they aren't available for school trips.
Interesting....People are just too litigious. Not sure what the answer is, but constant litigation isn't it...
well I managed to lose my reply. my question was who are the people that would be able to create laws to offer some protection from a litigious public. Congress. and what profession is most predominate in Congress ? Attorneys. and does anyone think they will do anything to stop the gravy train ???
Carol Crowe Phillips
So much would depend on the context of it all!! There is not enough info on this. Dressing up as an Amish person for a tastefully done play or history/ culture lesson is one thing but what sort of guidance and teaching were these children given? Di the teachers explain for instance about the beliefs behind the clothing? In a public school setting I seriously doubt it. It would border too closely with teaching religion. Perhaps this was not the appropriate way or setting for this type of lesson. If they can't learn the background of the Amish they are missing the majority of their culture and in this way it is not quite the same as with the Indians, etc.
Carol, I do agree with you that we don't have enough context to really judge....but at first blush it seems a rather superficial treatment of the Amish....
Wow! I'm not sure how to feel on this at all. I think that I would be offended by the whole "dressing up" thing for sure. On the other hand, allowing the children to be exposed something different... I love! My daughter loved getting her hair "done up" and putting on a dress while playing with her Amish friends being a little girl . However, the whole thing of a class "dressing up" in a public school makes me cringe a bit.