See Infra

Digging at the confluence of culture and everything else

A brief, open letter to Superintendent Joan Carbone: Resign

Ms. Carbone,

In light of your cowardly actions and failure to discharge the most basic of your duties, I urge you to resign. I am of course referring to the events recently reported in local news and humming along in social media. One of your charges, a student, gave the Pledge of Allegiance in a non-English language. This language happens to be the fifth most popular language in the world and is the liturgical language of the second most popular religion in the world.

It happens to be called Arabic.

I applaud all of the students and teachers who arranged for a student to read the Pledge in a multitude of non-English languages, including and especially this one. Our schools are the very place for learning and exposure to the complexities of a large and diverse world. So too it sheds light on the complex make up of the United States of America. At the very least it was a civic exercise in the the basic liberties found in each citizen’s relationship with their government. That is no small thing.

Which you ruined.

As you surely must know, Education is a sacred charge, and the education of children all the more so. Educators, be they teachers, support staff, or administrators are entrusted not only to shape young minds, but to protect them, and their liberties, as they grow into citizens capable of protecting themselves.

In issuing an apology for allowing a student to freely speak you have failed that charge.

I have read that some feelings have been hurt, because these persons have been harmed directly (or indirectly) by an Arabic speaker, or perhaps someone who simply spent time with Arabic speakers. For this, the speaking of the pledge was blamed as being divisive. Your statements said that the pledge managed to cut the school into two.


It was not divisive of a child to speak a pledge in a language of their choice. It was divisive to place the harms caused by countless others on the shoulders of a child. It was their choice to divide the school into those supporting a child who did nothing wrong and everyone else.

And what side did you choose?

Perhaps it is appropriate for a television pundit or histrionic parent to place their particular sensitivities above the right of a child to speak and to partake in education. It is never appropriate for the educator. Your job, at the end of the day, is to defend your students. Instead, you apologized for letting your student do something right.

If you think you failed your job by letting a student speak, you have no business having your job.



Kevin Chen


2 responses to “A brief, open letter to Superintendent Joan Carbone: Resign

  1. Max 03/19/2015 at 19:23

    Well written, and I’m glad to see you blogging again!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: