Hello fellow student philosophers!
It seems that one of the major themes going on here over the past week or so has been a focus on our educational system. Well, for my fifth contribution to the blog, I wish to continue this theme, but with a slightly different focus.
Yesterday morning, on the TODAY show, I heard a story on how parents in Volusia county’s school district (in our wonderful state) are protesting against the accommodations provided for a young girl with a serious peanut allergy — so serious that it has been deemed a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. As such, the school has made the girl’s classroom a “nut-free” zone, and requires students, twice a day, to wash their hands (and also, once a day, to rinse their mouths), to prevent the chance of the girl having a allergic reaction and dying.
The parents of other students in the school are complaining that all these little things have added up to a big annoyance — to the point that they want the girl out of the district’s school system and put into a home-schooling program. They also assert that these accommodations infringe on their children’s “rights” and “education.” This latter claim stems from the supposed time it takes to have the children wash their hands and rinse their mouths, which has been, on some accounts, estimated to take a total of 30 minutes per school day, 2.5 hours per school week, and about 80 hours per school year — a long period of time for comfort.
Volusia County school district officials have promised to have some form of meetings with the parents to discuss the issue and bring it to a resolution. The parents of the girl have, so far, not commented on this issue.
I don’t know about you, but this story just blows my mind. What type of rights are these parents even claiming their children have? To an education? Surely that’s acceptable, right?
But does that specifically refer to an equal right of access to education? That is, does this right involve the right for all children to have an education? If so, then wouldn’t the parent’s claims be a sign of ignorance to the fact that the “equal access” is supposed to apply for all rather than the majority?
And is the accommodations that the school provided for the girl just going too far? Or all this hubbub a bunch of hot air? I mean, aren’t we supposed to teach our children to wash our hands after eating or touching dirty things to prevent the spread of unwanted germs? And does washing our hands really take as long as what is being claimed so as to impact a child’s education? Is it really being impacted by all this?
Please feel free to answer these questions, as well as questions about how far is simply too far for a school to go to accommodate a child, in our education system. I’d also like to hear from some of our faculty contributors on what they think of this issue from the position of an educator.
My personal leaning is towards sympathizing with the girl, but maybe one of your have got some consideration that could change my mind . . . . . . . .
George (“The Meager Weakling”)