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Letters to the Editor

Reader supports NCSD administration’s actions at recent football game

To the editor:

I would like to respond to Dave Hon’s recent column titled, “NHS students’ rights were violated.”  I read this piece and as a mother of three I felt compelled to respond.

I agree with the actions of Scott Garvis in telling the boys to turn their shirts inside out. Let me explain.

I think your statement,  “The students complied, having been forced to choose between supporting breast cancer awareness or the Newton football team.” is a bit far reaching. I would not define wearing BOOBZ on a shirt, or series of shirts, as supporting breast cancer awareness.

I find the term offensive and wonder if the events’ purpose was taken advantage of in order to wear something that would clearly not be allowed otherwise. Am I being oversensitive? Maybe.

Having lost my favorite Aunt to breast cancer just last month and after having lost other family members over the years to cancer makes this sting just a bit more. Having said that, don’t you think someone who is supporting breast cancer awareness would want to be sensitive to those who have a close connection to this devastating disease?

All the boys had to do was turn their shirts inside out and they could have continued to cheer on their team.

As a mother I would not allow my son, or daughters, to wear attire that could offend women battling breast cancer. If they asked to wear a “boobies” shirt, we would discuss how the connotation of this word could be offensive to others and instead discuss alternative words or statements that would encourage instead of offend.

I am not going to respond to the court cases regarding student rights and freedom of speech. I don’t believe the issue here is either. The issue here is respect and how to genuinely support a cause. 

Let’s teach our youth to show support in positive ways, not with language intended for the sexualization of women’s cleavage, intentionally used for its shock value. Linguistically, the word “boob” was used in the 16th century as an insult inferring stupidity. This language cheapens the woman’s body, that doesn’t sound supportive to me.

Fighting breast cancer is not unpopular. Is it necessary to utilize empty jargon to create awareness? What “unpopular viewpoint” does BOOBZ represent? This issue is not about censoring, it is about decency and respect.

Yes, we are a free society, but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Maybe I should repeat that. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Are we so afraid of trampling rights that we trample the people those same rights are meant to protect.

I’ve digressed.

My point is simple. Let’s teach our youth to show respect for the human body and to be sensitive to the hardship of others. If you want to show support, do so in a manner that is not offensive. 

When I tell my child that certain language is not allowed because it is foul or offensive I am not telling them they are not worthy of expressing themselves, I am teaching them to be more effective with their language so that their message is clearly understood and not misinterpreted. I think this is where these young men went off course.

Let’s not attack our school administrators for doing their best to teach our youth the virtues of civility. Civility requires restraint and it is our responsibility to teach our children to be respectful and to be aware of how our actions can affect others and to demonstrate self-control.

And to the administration of our schools, I say thank you for all you do. 

Cindy Thurmond


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