It appears as if once again I am going to be the pain in the ass that points a finger and asks the questions no one else would. I guess it’s the type of thing that requires bloody foreigner DNA, the kind of thing that indicates yet again how ill fit I am with the Australian mainstream. Unaustralian would be the Tony Abbott way of describing my standing.
It all started with us parents receiving an email from our son school’s parental committee. The letter informed us of the following:
The Mother's Day stall is on [...]. All children will be brought to the hall by their class teachers and given the opportunity to buy a gift for their mum. All gifts are $7. Please help your child to remember to bring their money on [...].My wife alerted me to this email first; when I got to read it my blood boiled. Basically, in order to acquire more contributions from us parents, our son’s school and its ancillaries seem happy to apply extortion techniques. And extortion it is: unlike the usual demands for contributions we have been receiving from school on a weekly basis, this one comes with a veiled threat: don’t pay us, and we’ll ensure you child is marginalized. The way I read the email, it tells me I should give my child $7 to spend on a Mother’s Day gift at school or stand the risk having him pointed at by the rest of the kids who did get the money from their parents. By the way, all of this is to be done at school, under teacher guidance, and during mandatory school time.
I immediately emailed my son’s class teacher, who then took it to the school principle, who clarified only the group of kids with money will be taken to the stall while the rest of the kids are at school assembly. No, I am not happy with this clarification at all, mostly because school assembly is held at the same hall this stall is at.
I now intend to take the matter up with the parents who came up with this lovely idea in the first place. What is clear, though, is that this is the start of a new troublemaking career for me. Between this and SRE/CRE (Special/Christian Religious Education), due to start next year, I suspect my picture will soon star in school’s target practice sessions.
I also suspect that soon enough my son would prefer me to go against my character and keep quiet.
Between the writing of the above post and its publication I got to have further email correspondences with the parents’ committee, school and the principle. The bottom line is that I was told, politely, to F off. I didn’t expect it any other way, but it doesn’t mean I needn’t have made my stand.
I do think it is worthwhile to note neither the school principle nor the parents' representative bothered to address my arguments concerning the use of extortion and the use of school for commercial purposes. I therefore know the level of the people I am dealing with here.
The last email from the principle referred to me as “Moshi”. I would have said this takes the mispronunciation of my name to new levels if it wasn’t for the very common rate at which I encounter this mistake.
Image by ChrisM70, Creative Commons license