By Zerline Hughes
It’s been a whirlwind of a six months. My last blog post “The Next Four Years: A New Chapter of Child Rearing,” focused on America’s looming change in leadership and how my children would be growing up under a new, less nurturing administration than our previous under President Barack Obama. I wrote the following:
“My son will endure whatever Trump brings for the next four years. He’ll be 18 at the end of his term. My son will have endured Trump’s heinous verbal attacks on minorities (and maybe worse). He’ll have watched more police killings of Black men. And his chances at attending college may be negatively impacted. How great for my son’s self esteem as he enters adulthood.
“And for my sassy, ‘nasty woman’ child: she will be in the most formative of her years as a teen entering womanhood. But she will endure a president telling her that her body is not, in fact, hers to make decisions about. She will be led by a president who has taken advantage of women, disrespected them, and allegedly abused them. What a great message to my daughter.”
So, it’s quite fitting that I return to NotTheseTwo six months later to confess that my kids will be attending school next fall with Donald Trump’s son.
My husband received the emailed announcement from the school before I did and forwarded it to me. In his preface, he wrote something followed by an exclamation point (which he doesn’t use often). I couldn’t wait to see what he was referring to. When I proceeded to read the memo from the headmaster and head of middle school, my mouth dropped.
Now, this is not at all about the innocent child who will most definitely be welcomed on campus. In fact, these two kids of mine don’t even seem to be phased by the news. This is about just what the announcement said: inclusivity, openness and being a welcoming and affirming school. Yes, we are an inclusive, safe-haven of a school community. So, with that, will our students – even parents – be able to remain open and honest during discussions and debates in and outside of the classroom? Further, does the school’s decision keep into account the feelings and perspectives of our diverse school population that includes immigrants, transgender and GLB students and parents?
Even after two week’s of digesting the news, I continue to find myself struggling with the school’s decision. Sure, there are definitely Trump supporters at the school – in all shapes, sizes and colors, in fact – yet and still, having an actual Trump there is juuuuuust a little bit different.
Once a year, the middle school has a “mandatory” (and usually totally awkward) parent-student roundtable discussion on drugs/alcohol, sex and healthy relationships, some topic du jour where parents and students compare notes on growing up as a tween. My son so poignantly said of the news, “that parent roundtable is gonna’ be interesting.”
Indeed, it will.
Only time – and patience – will tell how ALL of this will pan out.