Thursday, 13 November 2014

Politics in School

Handling issues at school is always tough - particularly when it concerns politics and what your child is exposed to.

I don't want to come across as too political but let me explain.

We live in an area that is about to have a by-election, thanks to the defection of our MP to UKIP and this has led to an explosion in political activism across the area.

We are called two to three times a day, either by opinion poll companies or the political parties themselves all trying to ascertain which way we are going to vote - Papa now tells them all he will vote for them, just to get them off the line. I tend to stay and chat - well, its nice to have a grown up to talk to during the day. I've had some lovely chats with some of the most unexpected people - then I tell them that they are wasting their time as I already know who I am voting for.

Just last week the man from UKIP called and KC answered. 'There's a man from You Kick (sic) on the phone and he wants to talk about his by erection,' KC shouted - I hid a smile and asked him to tell the man to hold on. I kept him there for a good ten minutes whilst I put away the washing and then hung up the phone. You can tell I'm not a fan.

Last week over on twitter there was a hash tag caption #Ask Nigel Farage and someone had placed the tweet '#AskNigelFarage if he saw a mixed race gay family with adopted white kids would he have a coronary?'. It made me smile - after all, we are that family. What didn't make me smile was the barrage of homophobic and racist abuse that came after it. 'The gay marriage bill can be overturned', 'these children can be taken back' etc - all sorts of really upsetting stuff - I don't do twitter a lot but this made my blood boil.

Then I went into school to do my voluntary work and whilst there I overheard the lunchtime staff chatting about the election - they were all of one mind - 'I'm voting UKIP cause there's too many bloody foreigners here." I may have paraphrased but that was completely the gist - you know the sort of thing. I couldn't keep quiet. "I'm sorry,' I said (I don't know why I began with an apology), "But my partner and TJ's dad is from overseas and I really don't want TJ hearing this kind of thing - would you mind keeping your opinions to yourselves?"

I hope I was that polite. I was met with dagger looks. "It's because of the foreigners that my husband can't get a job," I was told, quickly followed by, "the Labour and Tory government's just let anyone in, they don't care," and my personal favourite, "I'm not racist, I just don't think we should let any more of 'them' in."

I watched as the children filed by into the dining hall and realised I was not going to win this argument.

But as I watched the children I wondered not only about my own son with a Singaporean Papa - but also about those kids of any non-British ethnicity who ran the risk of overhearing such views - how did they feel? After all, whatever your politics children don't have any choice and I'm sorry - but using the word 'immigrant'  or 'foreigner' instead of more unpleasant terminology does not suddenly make racism or xenophobia ok.

In certain circles, UKIP is making both racism and homophobia acceptable (although I am sure they would deny it) and I don't believe that a primary school is a suitable place for this to be discussed. Especially not in front of my son.


  1. Well said! No one in the UK has to go far back in their family history to find some 'foreign' ancestors! My Dad's Grand Parents were from Scotland and I am half Irish!

  2. Oh gosh, I agree with so much of this. It's such a tough topic.

  3. I'm shocked and disappointed by those people who - even after you politely asked them to stop discussing it (in an inappropriate environment) - continued and felt the need to defend their opinions. Not the sort of thing I'd want my children overhearing at school.

    Thanks for linking up to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out.

    1. I agree - some people can't take a hint. I have since spoken to the Head though and to one of the Governers - who will have a word.
      This election is getting quite nasty here.
      WASO is great by the way - I've read quite a few blogs I didn't know about!

  4. I'm afraid I would be notifying the school - those are racist comments and are not appropriate for any workplace, let alone a school. This makes me so cross - how can they think it's acceptable to expose children to hate speech?

  5. Absoltuely, and I have spoken with the Head and a governor - words are being had.

  6. We have had a recent by-election nearby under similar circumstances, and it has definitely brought the already not-so-concealed racism well out into the open. Thankfully, it has also stirred up those who find this sort of thing abhorrent.

  7. Well here's hoping it does the same here... Although scarily the polls seem to indicate the opposite...

  8. Schools are the first place where the children went initial in their life to learn that how to move in a society . The schools are the main step in the education of the students in custom research paper that make them able to think positive in a effective way and to take the right decision for them.