Monday, June 6, 2016

Dylan McCabe vs North Point High School

Dear Friends,

Ever wonder how truly petty school administrator can get considering all of the really important issues facing our schools? Ever wonder if we have young people who will stand and fight for their heritage and values?

Well, every once in a while you send me an article from the news and ask me to comment on it. This is one of those that I really want to comment on because this just made me shake my head in wonder.

I get a lot of email from my readers about the rampant drug use, the increase in pot smoking, the increase in cigarette smoking, the violence both student on student and student against teachers, the sexual activity both between students and between teachers and students, Muslim indoctrination in our schools, and of course how schools are dumbing-down American kids. With all of this, it is very apparent that our schools are a mess these days.

Yes, our kids are being dumbed-down compared to what was expected academically years ago. So for those who will write to say that American kids are not being dumbed-down, please understand that "dumbing down is the deliberate oversimplification of intellectual content within education, literature, cinema, news, video games and culture in order to relate to those unable to assimilate more sophisticated information." And yes, whether people want to face it or not, that's what's taking place in our schools today.

As for the term "dumbing down", it originated in 1933 as movie-business slang, used by motion picture screenplay writers, meaning "to revise so as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence".

So why stress dumbing-down? Well, after reading the article sent to me, I now understand that some school administrators may indeed be products of a combination of dumbing-down and political correctness that is screwing up America today.

As I was reading the article, fully aware of all of the information as to what's taking place in our schools across America, I couldn't help put wonder what sort of individuals are running North Point High School in Waldorf, Maryland. And frankly, with all of the real problems going on in our schools, why would administrators bother with such a minuet issue as a student wanting to wear Navajo moccasins to her graduation ceremony.

Yes, believe it or not, a student wanting to wear Navajo moccasins to her graduation ceremony is what the administrators at North Point High School in Waldorf, Maryland, found so important that they initially refused senior Dylan McCabe the ability to attend her graduation ceremony.

Ms McCabe is a graduating senior at North Point High School. She is also very proud of her Native American heritage. And frankly, that's great to see.

She is Comanche, Fort Sill Apache, and Navajo. And yes, to celebrate her roots, she wanted to wear a traditional Navajo dress, leggings, and moccasins at her graduation on June 2nd.

Does that sound unreasonable to you? Probably not because you understand people, history, and the importance of keeping tied to one's family and ancestry. Yes, my readers appreciate history because it speaks to how we've become who we are as a people.

The history of the Comanche, Fort Sill Apache, and Navajo Native Americans is rich with traditions that they hold in high importance. The old teach their young so that their history is passed along and doesn't die. And today, they hold tradition dances and gatherings, dress in traditional clothing, and perform rites that are their's alone.

Not all Native American tribes have lived in the areas where they ended up. Tribes relocated over hundreds of years. Yes, long before the arrival of the Europeans for a number of reasons including famine, weather, and war.

Many tribes waged genocidal war upon other tribes. Many tribes were chased out of regions where they could have traced generations of their own by warring tribes who wanted their land and livestock and game. And yes, even though that is a fact, tribes were also chased and relocated by the Spanish, the French, the British, the Mexicans, and of course the United States, all for the same reasons.

But friends, as with the buffalo, the American bison, Native Americans have adapted and they have survived. And frankly, they have a history to be proud of.

So when the school approved her request to wear the dress, since it will not be visible under her graduation robes, why didn't they respect her wanted to wear her moccasins? Yes, as foolish as it sounds, since school administrators require flat or low-heeled black shoes, she was told that she could not wear the traditional Navajo moccasins or leggings to her graduation.

"My Navajo clothing is a reflection of my religious and cultural identity," Ms McCabe wrote in her petition. "My grandparents sent me this ceremonial dress and indicated that it was also appropriate for this occasion. My leggings and moccasins are what complete this ceremonial attire. They are essential to one another and sacred to me."

She wore them during her Kinaaldá ceremony, which was the four-day "coming-of-age" ceremony she completed when she was 11.

During the Kinaaldá, she explained, "I performed various rites of passage and was considered holy during this time. One of my responsibilities included running at daybreak, noon, dusk. I ran three times a day, farther and farther each time in these moccasins. They spiritually carried me and supported me through this ceremony. They are incredibly important to me and signify that I have the personal endurance and strength to take on any challenge that's given to me."

After her request was denied, her mom submitted an appeal to the Charles County School District's superintendent and the Board of Education. She also created an online petition, which has since garnered more than 6,000 signatures. Dylan's mom scheduled a meeting with the superintendent to discuss the conflict on May 31st. 

It has been reported that Dylan's request has been approved. Yes, she will be able to walk at graduation wearing the dress, moccasins, and leggings from her grandparents.

While it did work out well, when I first heard about this story, it reminded me of the absurd incident that took place when Chelsey Ramer who is a Poarch Creek Indian was fined $1,000 for wearing an eagle feather at her high school graduation in 2013.

American Indian Graduate Fined for Wearing Eagle Feather at Graduation

That incident in 2013 is truly the dumbest thing that I've ever heard of coming out of school administrators.

While this story made me shake my head in disbelieve as to just how truly petty school administrator can get considering all of the really important issues facing our schools, it was refreshing to see Ms McCabe stand and fight for her heritage and values.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

1 comment:

  1. That's so sad. A high school student who happens to be Native American can't even wear her traditional garb to her graduation. Dylan McCabe must have sued the school over this I hope.


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