Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Colorado school faces controversy over student expression of empathy for classmate with cancer

A school in Grand Junction, CO, Caprock Academy, sent an elementary school girl home when she showed up with her head shaved, to show sympathy with a classmate undergoing chemotherapy. The girl had her parents’ permission.
The school relented after extensive media coverage, as in the New York Daily News, here
I mentioned a “Be Brave and Shave” event in Arlington VA (at the Westover Market) in a posting here Nov. 8, 2009.  I have personally never wanted to make a point of offering “my body” as sympathy, as if “my body” didn’t matter.   I don’t want to make that “OK”, although that leads to a whole another train of thought. 
I suppose the school could say that it doesn’t want other students to feel pressured or coerced to believe that they are supposed to do the same thing.
This sort of thing did not happen when I was growing up in the 1950s, but then again, much less could be done.  In a way, in those days, there was much less call for sympathy, or empathy (not quite the same things).   I guess one could call this practice “radical solidarity”.

In another distantly related story, the Timberlake Christian School near Lynchburg, VA barred a grade school female student for looking too much like a boy with short hair.  The school complained that some kids didn't know her gender, gawker story here.  All of this reminds me of the days when "the common good" (defending the country and giving it babies) seemed to depend on strict adherence to gender roles, certainly reinforced by the sights of Lynchburg. 

On March 26, ABC World News Tonight aired an "America Strong" followup on this by others at the school:

ABC US News | ABC Business News
There are also several YouTube stories on the incident:

Wikipedia attribution link for Grand Junction Skyline.I recall only one visit, in December 1966.

Second picture, Jerry Falwell's Liberty University (my visit, 2005).

Wikipedia attribution link for third  picture here.

Update: May 6, 2014

Timberlake school, near the church on Business 460, SW of downtown Lynchburg about 8 miles, my own visit yesterday. US

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