Protego Maxima

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Kids, social hierarchy, and the sense of injustice

Context: I work at a school. I’m a subordinate to the main teachers so often watch them say/do things that don’t align with my ethics and politics but can’t say anything because hierarchy. I’m teaching in a second language so I do not feel able to fully explain important shit all the time AND when the kids are horrible - sexist, racist, or just mean - it’s hard for me to be snappy and shut that shit down. I work with kids from 6-15. This story is about kids who are mostly around 8.

At the start of the day the kids get to share important news/messages. It’s usually ‘tomorrow is my mom’s birthday’ or ‘my soccer team won our game last weekend’. Today one kid opened by saying (I’m translating), “I know it doesn’t sound important and you might not think it fits as an announcement but I think it’s actually quite pressing.” In retrospect… here’s a kid (girl assigned) who has already learned to qualify her statements.

So here’s what she wanted to share:

“Legoland has a new policy where rich people can buy an armband and then cut in all the lines. In my family we talked about how we think this is unjust. It’s just not right! Why should you be able to skip in the lines just because you’re rich and have an arm band?”

This kid has such a sense of justice… this is from being around her for a year. She’s a fucking cool activist  at heart. So then one of the boys who routinely takes up a lot of space wanted to talk. He thinks it’s fine because ‘what’s the problem as long as they pay for it?’. The way this kid takes up space is by point-blank ignoring other people when it’s their turn to talk, getting up and going to talk to his friend across the room when he pleases and refusing to stop talking when the teacher literally yells his name. Another kid who is also boy assigned and takes up literally more space than half the other students combined agreed. He said that ‘it’s no big deal, they’ll just skip ahead and then the line will be just like it was before right after that’. Okay lacking some logical reasoning skills.

Another kid chimed in, this one agreeing with the kid who shared the message to begin with. He said that he thinks it’s totally unfair, it isn’t right that rich people should get things just because they have money. He is very socially vulnerable. Definitely socially ‘out’ and has some physical disabilities that make him stick out. I simply don’t think it’s random that the two kids who support Lego’s new coupon for rich people are white boys who take up a shit load of space and the two who oppose it are socially vulnerable.

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