I remember rolling into third grade homeroom with my viola in hand and a bunch of “Bush/Cheney 2001” stickers stuck on its case. My parents were mildly horrified at the idea of their kid going to a Maryland public school with a zillion republican stickers all over my backpack and instrument, but I was what, eight? Nine? I didn’t give a fuck.
Now that I’ve gotten older, I still don’t give a fuck — but things have gotten a little more contentious from the early 00s.
Take the homework question that Adria Zawatsky, a teacher at Staten Island middle school IS 75, used for her vocabulary worksheet:
“President Trump speaks in a very superior and ___________________ manner, insulting many people. He needs to be more _____________________ so that the American people respect and admire him.”
The question immediately following read:
“Barack Obama set a ______________ when he became the first African American president.”
After assigning the questions as part of a homework assignment, parent Vincent Ungro, whose 11-year-old daughter is in Zawatsky’s class, found them to be inappropriate. According to NY Post, the vocabulary words meant to fill in the blanks were “haughty, humble and precedent” — and so he did what any parent who’s too lazy to schedule a meeting with the school or teacher: he wrote a note:
“Please keep your political views to yourself and do not try to influence my children on them. Thank you.”
Speaking to the NY Post, Ungro said that “This woman is forcing my child to put words on a piece of paper describing our president in a disparaging manner. Her political opinion should be left at home.”
Now, do I think teachers should be influencing their students with their political views? No. But do I think this dad is overreacting to a couple stupid questions on a homework assignment? Yes.
First of all, nothing positive or negative was said about Barack Obama, only that he set a precedent as the first black president. Our first Asian president will set a precedent, our first woman president will set a precedent, hell maybe one day we’ll get an Indian president and we’ll finally get to call ourselves equal opportunity employers when it comes to the most important branch of our government (mind you, this won’t happen for another 500 years). Point is, I didn’t say anything positive or negative about the hypothetical precedents set by those people — neither did that question.
As for the Trump aspect of the homework, well, yeah that’s not flattering — and no, it shouldn’t have been included in the homework — but it’s not even that bad. It would be one thing if the question read:
“President Trump is a fat fucking __________________ whose inability to unite people across party lines will truly __________________ our country over. Vote blue 2020. Conservatives eat dick without milk for breakfast.”
But it didn’t. We can’t point at people and call them “snowflakes” if we’re going to be snowflakes too, right? We have to nut the fuck up and act like we have common sense and backbones if we’re going to come out of this presidency like winners, and complaining that “Oh boo hoo this homework question was mean” isn’t going to get us there.
Me, talking to myself in the mirror, every morning.
What was it that the Dems said — they take the low road, we take the high? Yeah okay, we all know that’s a load of bullshit in itself, but it’s also something we should all be striving for. Bitching about your kid’s homework is neither high road nor low road, it’s rock bottom.
Like I said, that question shouldn’t have been in there to begin with, but are the questions as BAD as Ungro would have you think? Again, no. If you ask me, I think this guy is really just throwing a shit fit so he can get his name into the papers, which clearly isn’t that hard to do these days if all you have to do it nitpick your daughter’s homework sheet.
In a comical turn of events, after father Vincent Ungro emailed Zawatsky to complain, rather than admit defeat Zawatsky went and told him to fuck off:
“Firstly, I do not believe I was expressing a political view at all on my vocabulary sheet,” she wrote in an email in response to Ungro. “My reference to President Trump was about his personality traits rather than his ability as a president. The media is nonstop on very similar references. This is considered freedom of speech and I feel I have the same right as they do.”
She then proceeded to dock Ungro’s daughter’s homework 15 points because she didn’t fill in those three blanks.
Translation: sit the fuck down and learn your place, bitch.
In the end, Zawatsky wound up with a disciplinary letter placed in her file which amounts to basically nothing. Ungro wasn’t happy about it, but we don’t care what he thinks because he’s officially been deemed a “special snowflake” by anyone with common sense reading this. You hear that, kids? This is what happens when your parents are attention whores dying to be able to Google their name and have it come up with relevant results. Next time ask mom for homework help, because dad will just turn your history assignment on the Atlantic slave trade into a statement on Black Lives Matter; god forbid you bring any of that bad juju into your home.