Letter: The event at the Vilar that caused parental concern
I read with interest the article about the Eagle County School District superintendent issuing an apology to parents about a field trip to the Vilar Center. Two suggestions and a personal opinion:
- The news article would be clearer if the age of the students in question were clearer, i.e., reader reactions on how “challenging” the content may be will inevitably be shaped by this important context.
- Recognizing that the school district is choosing its words carefully in its apology, the news article would also be clearer if the challenging content was actually described, versus assigning it a vague catch-all (i.e., gender identity) that people can interpret in any way their predisposition on these topics lets them.
- Assuming these were kids able to attend a PG-13 movie, I really hope the school district is not at risk of drifting toward a Colorado version of Florida, where new laws prevent teens from being exposed to information in school that opens up their minds to people different from them, or to topics that touch upon gender in general. That’s part of living and learning about the wider world, not just the bubble of our beautiful valley. But, PG does mean “with parental guidance” so if the kids are elementary age, that’s a whole different discussion. Perhaps this sort of familiar movie rating language could help convey the “level” of what might be included in a performance to parents. The blanket permission slips should stress the intent of the field trips, which is cross-cultural exposure and experiences that may be different from the student’s day-to-day life. I still think it is our schools’ job to offer this enrichment, but others may not.