Young children are routinely experiencing microaggressions at elementary school—they just “don’t quite now how to articulate” it, says one mommy blogger. So parents need to learn how to pay attention and save their offspring from harm.
Writing for the progressive parenting blog Romper, Liza Wyles says her own kindergartner experienced a grave microaggrerssion when his teacher expected him to sit still in class. “My kid, like a lot of other kids, is a mover,” Wyles writes. “He is in constant motion. When he narrates the events of his day for me, he literally paces the room. His brain seems to run on kinetic energy.”
Wyles says that some schools have accommodated restless kids with standing desks. “[But] our traditional school is not embracing that. Yet. So my wiggly son has to learn to be still, even if he might process information better when he’s allowed to move,” she bemoans.
And that’s not the only microaggression Wyles thinks her kids suffer.
One teacher assigned her six-year-old daughter homework from a “gigantic math workbook.” That’s a microaggression, Wyles explains, because the teacher is “assuming the kids go home after school and not to after-care.”
The problem is that “kids who didn’t go home after school had to carry that massive textbook around,” she says. “My little six-year-old’s backpack was practically heavier than she was.”
Wyles asked the teacher to instead photocopy her kid’s homework assignments every day, thereby saving her six-year-old from the emotional and physical trauma caused by heavy-workbook microaggressions.
Wyles is also unhappy that elementary school teachers line up students in two separate lines, one for boys and one for girls. “But what about kids who don’t identify with their biological sex?” she worries. “Why can’t we make a place for them in the hallway?”
She is also horrified that her fourth-grade daughter has been assigned books with male protagonists—and she’s equally aghast that her daughter was asked to pick a historical figure to research from “a female hat.”
“I can’t but think that if we had taken down the gendered gates of their choice, we could have opened their minds up that much more,” Wyles writes. “While my daughter would have most likely still chosen a woman to research and write about, there might have been a few boys who were interested in learning more about the women of the Revolutionary era.”
All of this occurs even though Wyles’ children attend an “incredibly diverse public elementary school” that offers five different languages and accommodates first-generation immigrant children. Even in this “inclusive and fair educational oasis,” Wyles worries, “tiny, yet powerful dings in my kids’ confidence affect their feelings about school.”
Though they’re only in elementary school, we feel confident that Wyles’ children will be more than ready for college.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.