Recently, Urbana Middle School Principal Michelle Concepcion confiscated what she thought was a symbol of hatred from a group of students in the cafeteria. The Frederick News-Post ran a piece about it on Wednesday (“Urbana Middle School principal turns confiscated hoodlike object into diversity lesson”). No students were suspended, and the object was not identified as something racially offensive. Concepcion then used the “incident” to raise awareness about diversity and her goal of bringing a cultural arts program to the middle school.

So, breaking down what happened, there appears to be no malicious intent by the students in the cafeteria. What was potentially a situation of racial intolerance actually never took place, and Concepcion wrongly identified the purpose of the object. There is no record of any student or staff at the middle school being suspended or fired for prejudiced behavior. In regard to the incident, according to Concepcion, “I explained to students that as they learn and grow into young adults, they’ll recognize that some behaviors are inappropriate or insensitive. On this particular occasion, I explained that some objects and symbols could represent more than insensitivity; they could represent fear, a lack of understanding, ignorance, etc. I explained that the object I confiscated could represent a symbol of hatred.” This is a fair enough response, and I think Concepcion has her students’ best interest in mind.

(12) comments


Some classical education schools should be aware about this matter. A good warning sign.


This goes back to "What is the purpose of a public school?" Moral education is an answer that some people would give--stress on "some." But my morality may not be your morality. Pro-choice or pro-life? Death penalty--yes or no? Religion or atheism?And so on. It seems to me that in public schools, this is an 'iffy' area. Even if you assign a controversial topic to be debated by two sides, it might spin out of control. That's why there are religious schools, it seems to me. If you want morality taught at school, send your kids to a religious school. Otherwise, it's up to you, not public schools, to teach morality.


I think the article is valuable, and someone it said missing the point...what point? Yours? Mine? The author? I think it shows what complex issues the school staff has to deal with sometimes...walking sometimes in egg shells, to not hurt grown ups tender feelings....The teachers have been criticized lately in cases that involve religion, for example, because of fear an anger. The school is a place to learn, and not knowing myself the syllabus contents, teaching art to a kid will not make him/her an artist, as teaching our kids about different religions (meaning all major religion trunks ) , is I think our minimum duty to assure that our kids grow with great social skills....and educated about our fellow know....without talking about any religious group as a race....and race as a religion group.....There are great teachers everywhere, there are teachers, and there are folks that should not be teachers, like in any other line of work. In this situation the system seemed to have worked fine...and the staff was on the money....So....when the issues don't get solved, should The staff be replaced say on the third event, or the rules updated?

It's a mess sometimes...but the Urbana folks seem pretty bright...

I am curious to know how would they deal with something confusing to me like this


Article makes good point. I do think we as a society have become too sensitive about such things, especially if there was no malicious intent. And yes. Education for what is wrong or right for our kids begin at home, assuming parents know same?


You just made a giant assumption in the "education begins at home" ... statement. For many it is true, but for just as many it just doesn't happen....


Did anyone ask, "Where did you get the hood?" Maybe it's a family heirloom.


And good to see the relation to "eliminating critical thinkng" and enabling "groupthink" named by CIA. And right on the money! Thank You!


The moral of this story should be "No good deed goes unpunished" Principal Concepcion was doing her job and doing it well. She was alert, paying attention and engaged with her students. While her initial fears were unfounded, she quickly turned the event into a teaching moment. She was doing what all teachers should do, providing guidance to our young people. Bravo, Principal Concepcion. Bob Lewis


[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Unfortunately, educators get blamed for lots of stuff when they try to use a teachable moment.


I agree Bob. Bravo indeed Principal Concepcion.


I believe you are missing the point. The lesson is to teach kids to understand the consequences of their actions and how they are perceived. It doesn't prevent them from actually doing them. Parents do this with their children all the time, teaching the to share, teaching them not to say mean things, teaching them to be polite. Is it politically correct to tell your child they shouldn't say "you are ugly" to another child? Is that suppression of free speech? No, it is showing sensitivity and empathy to your fellow humans that is important in society. They may still do it because they don't care, but at least they have learned that it can be hurtful. Standard stuff.



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