Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

The Tea Party Ruse

I came home from work one day to find my 12-year-old daughter in tears.

            “What’s wrong, honey?” I asked.

            “Our new principal,” Bernadette spouted, “I HATE him!”

            “What happened?”

            Bernadette explained that her 7th grade social studies class had been reenacting the Boston Tea Party. Students dressed like Native Americans threw empty boxes down the second-floor stairwell, crashing harmlessly below . . that is, until a box broke a lighting fixture. The school’s new principal, Mr. Stark, mercilessly chewed into Bernie’s well-liked teacher, Mrs. Fenchurch, as a result.

            “He said we couldn’t do any more activities for the rest of the year. And he kept coming back all day long and screaming at her,” Bernie shrieked.

            “All day long? Seriously?” I followed, skeptically.

            “He did! I heard him. And my friends said so, too. I hate him!”

            Bernie didn’t like Mr. Stark. She had been quite attached to his predecessor, and it was almost as if she hadn’t even given him a chance. She complained that he made too many announcements over the intercom. Nevertheless, their interaction during the first few weeks of school was minimal . . . until now.

            “What a jerk,” I replied. My wife and I did what we could to comfort our daughter, even discussing the possibility of calling the school.

            The following day, Bernadette came home with a letter from Mrs. Fenchurch:


Dear Parents:
The school received numerous phone calls, letters and emails about a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party that took place during my 7th grade social studies classes yesterday.
At the conclusion of the exercise, Mr. Stark reprimanded me and the students. Please be advised, his participation was a scripted part of the activity. It was intended to arouse empathy for the colonial Bostonians from the students, being that entire town was punished by the British for the actions of a few.     
While I appreciate the outpouring of support, I must inform you that neither I nor the students were in any real trouble. A plastic cover was knocked off a light fixture during the reenactment, but this was easily replaced. I sincerely apologize for any stress experienced by your children during this activity.


            I got a good laugh out of the deal. Although it was an honest mistake, I did have some concerns.

            Ethical questions have arisen over recent decades about deceiving students to produce an emotional reaction. Mrs. Fenchurch failed to debrief the students. Before, the class was dismissed, she and Mr. Stark should have come clean with them, elaborating on the intended learning objectives. Needless emotional distressed could have been averted.

            I sincerely hope that Mrs. Fenchurch doesn’t take a similar approach in teaching the Holocaust, Pearl Harbor or Wounded Knee.


One Response to “The Tea Party Ruse”

  1. I remember that! Bernadette was sooo upset! We even thought that there could have been more to it. She was so relieved to find out it was just a part of the plan.
    Good story!

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