Monday, February 09, 2009

support for a principal in small town N.B.

I just want to give my support to Erik Millet, the school principal, who chose to have his school sing the national anthem in assemblies as opposed to playing it over the intercom every morning.

If you don't know the story, you can watch the interview via the cbc website. The story is found here.

I think it's appalling that some people of Belleisle, New Brunswick have turned against him and even threatened him with physical violence. That to me is sickening and a very disturbing display of nationalism.

What is wrong with the picture? A school principal makes a change to school policy to try and accommodate more of its students and a few nasty people turn it into a near-lynching. Narrow-minded thinking is what it boils down to.

I feel sorry for the kids who are watching and learning from this ugly display. They too will be forced to take sides. Instead of learning about tolerance and inclusion they learn that the bullies win.


I have to admit that this story touches me personally and not just because I'm from N.B., but also because I know Erik Millet. I haven't spoken to him in several years, but I know if I called him up he would have the time for me. He's a generous and giving person and now this has happened to him. He chose a profession to work with children and now he's questioning if he can even go back to a job he loved. It's very upsetting.

What's most troubling is the threat of violence towards one person for something that is really quite a small incident. This is the problem with nationalism. It's nice to be patriotic towards your country and to be proud of where you are from, but it is disturbing when you turn that patriotism into something to be used to exclude people and judge them determining whether they are part of your nation.

On a related note: I'm tired of this bullshit that if we don't wave the flag at the right moment it's a sign that we "don't support the troops." That has nothing to do with anything! Of course I support men and women whose lives are on the line in a war (yes, it's a war -- not a mission -- it's a war), but I don't have to support the war.

BTW choosing to sing the national anthem or not does not ally you on one side or the other it just means you have the freedom to choose.


mister anchovy said...

I wish they'd bring those kids home from Afghanistan before more of them get killed.

red jane said...

Hear, hear. Well said. I'm in complete agreeance with you across the board. Such a shame- and also, appalling and infuriating- that he is being attacked over this.

Wandering Coyote said...

I believe this is blown way out of proportion, too. I know that in elementary school here, we had a bible reading and recited the Lord's Prayer every morning, but they phased that out. I don't think we sang O Canada every morning, though, and I know that in high school we only sang it at assemblies.

Anonymous said...

I too know Erik Millet. A kind and compassionate person who would be an asset in any community and in particular working with kids. How narrow-minded of the citizens. They don't know when they've got a good thing. What a pity.