I wrote this letter to my daughters’ high school principal this morning. I’ll let you know if I get a reply:
Dear Principal Cromwell,
I’m writing to ask that you make some time to talk to students about the Ebola outbreak in western Africa, and to be VERY clear about the near-impossibility of the epidemic’s spreading to the United States.
My daughters are very well-informed about this issue, so when Bean got into the car on Friday afternoon, she was raging about all the misinformation being spread around the school. She was especially upset that her World Studies teacher had told her class something that she knew to be patently untrue about the way the virus is spread, telling the class that the virus is transmittable through the air, and that people can become infected simply by being in the same room with a sick person.
Punk tells me that her teachers are not addressing the misinformation about Ebola; in fact, she says that her band instructor had a conversation with her class about Ebola causing “zombie-ism.” Her efforts to challenge that claim were met with dismissal from her peers, and she tells me that Mr. B encouraged students to believe that people who died from the virus could come back to life. Punk tells me that she doesn’t think Mr. B believes this, but she also points out that he didn’t refute the claim, either.
The tragedy happening in Africa is frightening enough when we’re just dealing with facts; adding misinformation, conjecture, and fantasy to the mix makes a bad situation that much worse. Students look to adults – particularly parents and teachers – to make sense of the world, so we have an obligation to be informed ourselves. Please; address this issue with the faculty immediately so that they can be calm, accurate sources of correct information.
I appreciate your time and attention.