By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 27, 2014
Mother convinces school to cancel class trip to Marineland
The “Marineland mom” controversy highlights a dilemma for educators when it comes to class field trips.
How do schools balance the educational value of a trip with sensitivities to issues that matter to students or parents?
And in an age where parental involvement has never been greater, should a trip be cancelled if objections — or just one objection — are raised?
Stoney Creek mom Jennifer Jamieson, a woman with a passion for social activism (she bills herself on Twitter as Vegetarian Mom and an animal advocate) recently tweeted that she had convinced her 9-year-old son’s teacher to cancel a class trip to Marineland.
News of her lobbying effort provoked debate online and on talk radio shows in Hamilton and Toronto.
Comments ranged from applauding Jamieson for fighting for what she believes is right — the ethical treatment of animals — to castigating her for not keeping her boy at home and letting other kids at Mountain View Elementary take the trip.
Mixing as they do education, parental authority and, on occasion, social and cultural sensitivities, field trips are fertile ground for controversy.
A trip to Ohio by an Ottawa Catholic high school was cancelled after raising the hackles of parents upset that students were going to help register voters and meet a campaign organizer for Barack Obama — because Obama does not oppose abortion.
Parents in Massachusetts reacted with outrage when a school trip involved students reenacting scenes of slavery from the Underground Railroad.
Creating less of a stir among parents was a recent field trip in Colorado to a gun range where students shot rifles (they had been studying the American Revolution), and a lunch pit-stop for eighth-graders in Baltimore at a Hooters restaurant after they had visited a marine aquarium.
Field trips have been cancelled to other marine facilities such as Sea World in San Diego, after oppositions from parents like Jamieson.
In recent years marine parks have faced public heat for featuring captured dolphins and orca whales in their shows. The backlash has in part been enflamed by documentaries such as Blackfish and The Cove.
Jamieson told The Hamilton Spectator she also has strong feelings about exotic animals kept at African Lion Safari, and added that her intent had not been to start a feud with her son’s school. (Source: Toronto Star)
LETTERS to the EDITOR
Graeme MacKay’s cartoon about Marineland was demeaning and offensive, especially to baby boomers and our surviving Second World War veterans. Polka music of the 1950s and 1960s exemplified the robust spirit of the times and of Hamilton the Ambitious City. It exuded strength, vigour and sociability. “Work hard and dance on the weekends.” How true it was for the city’s manufacturing (steel) sector members. Some of us remember the Ticats half time shows when our Wally Mack and his polka band raised the festive spirit regardless of the game’s tally at the half time break. Actually, cruelty to humans should apply to either punk or heavy metal music, which came later in time.
R.Cherrich, Stoney Creek
Posted to Yahoo Canada News.