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Psych teachers who promote stigma


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Was I too harsh? Was I too lenient? I didn't know what else to do really. I can't wait to graduate soon... I've got to get out of that school and move on.


If you don't mind sounding more mature than many, if not most, adults it's perfectly fine.

Letting your feelings be known while leaving lines of communication open is difficult at the

best of times... To use some out-of-date slang: mad props to you and your crew!

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You did a great job, K (recently sensitized to issue of using real first names on line)

I'm proud of you and I hope you're proud of yourself. Sticking up for yourself even if it wasn't explicit takes guts. Many/most would have just slunk off.

I think the letter was well written and made your point well too. I guess the only thing I might take exception to in the contents is the exact notion of how the T-shirt reniforced stigma.

I don't see it quite the same. Maybe it trumpets a kind of stereotype (like " Oh, are you schizophrenic too? That makes four or us!" Most offensive to me, though, is trivializing and ridiculing someone else's suffering.

One would really hope a teacher, especially one who teaches that field would just plain know better, but evidently not.

I hope she was good and embarrassed by your greater maturity and sensitivity.


PS Personally, I don't think there's anything ATALL the matter with complaining about the T's to the principal (though it might be too late for it to be as anonymous as one could wish now that you wrote the teacher...)

Let somebody eat the costs of those shirts, and let it preferably be the teacher (who ought to get a dressing down too for sheer tastelessness). After all, now that they're around they're going to be worn. And what's more, given her sense of humor , she's apt to hit another "funny" disorder next year. How about a nice autistic T with a kid wiggling his fingers or flapping? Or maybe a sort of blurry outlined BPD image. Jees, the humous possibilities are endless.

Let her pony up the funds for a replacement shirt - with an amusing logo that's not a put-down. And let it come with a (witnessed) apology to her students too. After all, it would backfire if instead , this message comes across:

"Arggghhh! P.C. strikes again. Do you believe it? I wonder who complained. " (Speculation abounds). Even a good eye rolling from the teacher while she delivers a canned apology would spoil it. In our school, the perp would be disciplined and warned.

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I see what you mean about the teacher's approval. Even if - most doubtful - it were done sneakily, your letter is still entirely approporiate (most unfavorite word, besides "special").

It is NOT likely that the kids wouldn't have had it OKed, though, if it were that way last year - and even so, them's the rules. The teacher is still responsible and should have anticipated it.

I can just SEE a "Prissy" slam character on a T shirt for an AP course about the Civil War (just googled to be sure - she was the dimwitted black slave girl in Gone with the Wind played by Butterfly McQUeen) - 0r...Hardly dare let my fancy run away with me about an AP course in Modern European History. "Arbeit Macht Frei" say? ;)

And to think my son with paranoid sz was about to take the AP test in Psychology! Can just imagine what jokes he might have encountered if he's actually sat in on the class (actually not in our Very Sensitive School District.) He said he already blew them away with his incredible understanding of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment! :) (Right up his alley to the extent it was constantly triggering hiim).

BTW, if I were you (and this is a good word to the wise, in general) I would send your teacher a hard copy of the letter you already sent and I'd make sure to put a big "CC" at the bottom with the name of the Principal, School Special Ed Head and School Psychologist. "CC's" are great - says it all, "I hereby notify you this communication is going elsewhere too." And then send copies to them too.

Emails have no real legal meaning. Very evanescent. They get lost or accidentally unopened. You might send her another message saying you apologize for not starting that way, but you are acting under advice from other offended concerned persons, and wanted to make sure it didn't recur. (Hey, I'm offended! I'm offended! concerned, I'm concerned! )

The more I think about it, there's much more the matter here. It's not a question of who's offended or whether or not the teacher was taking a chance on who might or might not be in her class. That's NOT the issue. It's that there's an educational process going on, this is part of it., and it's happening WRONG.

Until the impression is corrected, her students are getting the message that mental illness is amusing, only happens to other people, and that it's a silly fun topic.

(Yeah, isn't it?)

They'll carry that away with them. Just like it used to be with gays.

Those kids are NOT getting taught right, whatever plain facts they may have absorbed. They need to be set straight.

(Still remembering my eighth grade teacher making jokes about Jews in History class, and feeling desperately embarrassed and angry at the same time - but not SPEAKING UP DAMMIT!)

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I'm proud of you! I hope that teacher feels like a total jerk when she gets your e-mail. If I recall correctly you graduate this year, and I suspect it will be a long time before they forget your name at that school! They'll remember you for your writing ability if nothing else, since it's probably better than most of the teachers there, much less your classmates.

I can certainly relate to all your struggles with the school administration and vividly remember being a misfit in high school. Way back in the dark ages of 1973 I was the first girl to be admitted into one of the previously boys-only vocational programs in my school district. All the other girls were in cosmetology and on the bus home every day I'd sit off by myself with my tools because the girls just wanted to talk about hair and the boys thought I was nuts. Actually the girls thought I was nuts, too, as did some of the teachers at the main school. Luckily the teachers at the vocational school that taught me my trade were behind me, as it sounds like your band teachers are. But I was still glad to graduate and get the hell out of there!

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