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I realised I hadn't finished my series of blogs on trying to inject a bit of the rainbow into Riley's primary school. We last left off with the teaser of what happens when you try to bring a little bit of IDAHO to a primary school.
IDAHO day in our house has taken on much more meaning these days as Jo and I are involved in celebrations at the high school and at the Uni where I work. It is also more prominent with the push to legalise same-sex marriage so from our perspective it was only natural for us to ask the principal what the school was doing to mark IDAHO day. Bear in mind that this is a school that embraced Harmony Day with almost pathological fever! I sent a simple email asking what the school was doing to celebrate/acknowledge IDAHO day. I guess I should have expected the response I got namely: ‘what’s IDAHO day?’.
I explained what IDAHO was and sent some useful links back to the principal. I also explained that I would be talking to Riley’s teacher about IDAHO day and how much it means to our family and that I would be asking her to read a book to the class that reflected Riley’s understanding of family (all of which were to be supplied before hand and obviously checked for inappropriate and subversive content!). We figured we would start small and talk about a whole-of-school assembly in the lead up to IDAHO 2012.
On the Monday before IDAHO I delivered four books and a note to the teacher reminding her that the next day was IDAHO day. The books included two titles from the Learn to Include series (simple stories with a central character with two mums), a gorgeous book about the gay penguins at New York Zoo and Todd Parr’s The Family book (the least controversial, non-threatening, bland, you’d-barely-even-notice-two-mummies-and-two-daddies-get-a-mention type book).
Riley went to school on IDAHO day sporting an ‘equal rights now’ badge and a rainbow sticker of ‘love makes a family’. She had spent the previous week chatting to her little friends about what gay and straight meant and was looking forward to feeling special and visible when her teacher read one of her very own books from home. Jo and I were excited for her and proud that the school was being active in this way.
When I picked Riley up from school that night I excitedly asked her what book of the four we sent in the teacher had chosen to read and what she had said about IDAHO day. “She didn’t say anything about IDAHO day Mummy and she didn’t read any of the books” my daughter told me matter of factly.
Next post.....why the books weren't read and what it all meant to us, Riley and tackling homophobia in primary schools.
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