I have been somewhat unsure how to respond to this issue of a football game on Thanksgiving Day. I have been thinking about it since I received the initial letter about it [letter from the school printed below], and I still cannot resolve it in my mind so I must object. I understand that band is a commitment and that my son has obligations to fulfill, however, I cannot let this pass by without expressing my outrage at this.
No, I am not from New England. I can’t imagine I am the only non-native who is surprised by this. I don’t know if this is a New England thing or Stonington specific or how widespread this is, but I have never heard of requiring a student to be somewhere to fulfill a school obligation on a holiday where everyone else is spending time together as a family. Not only that, but you are mandating that if he chooses to spend time with his family instead of attending this game, he has to write an assignment to compensate for it, essentially penalizing him for choosing family time or penalizing him for his parents’ choice to leave the state to spend time with far-away family. What kind of message is trying to be sent here? I am absolutely appalled. I am even more surprised that you can pull together enough kids to even have a team on Thanksgiving Day.
My husband works a lot. He often works weekends. He is often gone altogether. His company respects the holiday of Thanksgiving as a family day, and he has the day off to be with his family; and you are asking us, as a family that runs our three kids around to umpteen activities for the entirety of the school year, to give up a day of rest for all of us in order to go to a high school football game, otherwise be penalized? I simply cannot express the level of my disbelief. I have no idea how long this tradition has been in place, nor do I care. The minute you glorify something as stupid as football above enjoying a nationally recognized special day with your extended family is the day that you completely lose my support. These children are not professionals who are getting paid millions to show up to a game. I can’t imagine that I am the only parent that feels affronted by this.
I hope SHS will consider revising its policies regarding this in the future. I’d like you to also note that in some communities Thanksgiving Day is considered a religious day of thanksgiving for blessings received throughout the year, and in our last home, we actually attended church on Thanksgiving morning. Please consider this your notice that my son will not be attending the game, and I am sincerely hoping that the “assignment” to make up for lack of attendance consists of nothing more challenging than coloring in a coloring in a picture of a turkey with a crayon.
Vicki L. Jesse
This is the letter I am responding to:
Thanksgiving Football Game vs. Westerly - For those Who will be Present AND Absent
We will be performing for the annual Thanksgiving Day game. It is Nov. 22, at 10 a.m. at Westerly.
While attendance at all performances is mandatory, I do understand that several of you will be traveling for the holidays. If your child will be absent due to travel, I will need you to email me to let me know. If I do not receive an email prior to the game, students will be marked as unexcused. For the families I do hear from prior to Thanksgiving, I will mark as an Incomplete. Those students will receive a written assignment to make up for the missed performance.
For everyone else that is attending, here are some details:
Bus-There will be a bus that will leave from and return to the high school. Students that are riding the bus both ways should be at the high school between 8:50-9:00am to help load instruments.
Rides-If you as a parent would like to drive your child, then I need a signed note from you stating that this is what you will be doing. If you would like to carpool, that is fine as well, but again, I will need a note stating with whom your child is riding and for drop-off, pick-up, or both. If your child rides the bus in the morning, and then you want to drive them at the end of the game, then I again will need a note stating that, or vice versa.
Instruments-the school will be open to pick up instruments for those riding the bus. If students will be getting a ride, please be sure they have their instrument with them Wednesday night.
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