A group of furious parents in South Carolina took to protest on social media after their children came home with fliers encouraging the students to participate in a school beauty pageant, judging on criteria like "facial beauty" to crown "a beautiful child with a sparkling personality."
Indian Land Elementary School parent Dave Dodson, upset with the message the event would send to students, immediately launched a Facebook page encouraging other parents to join him in protest of the school's "Warrior Beauty Pageant." A Change.org petition has also garnered 140 signatures.
Within hours, the school principal announced that the event -- scheduled for Oct. 20 -- had been canceled after a huge wave of negative response, WCNC reports. But now, a separate group of parents are upset that it got nixed, and are seeking to petition for its return.
The pageant sought to find a warrior king and queen to "represent their school all year long during school events." The contestants would be judged on "facial beauty, sparkling personality and overall appeal," according to the flier sent home with students. It also offered awards for "best eyes, best hair, best smile, best dressed" aside from "most beautiful."
"We try to teach our children that there's much more than someone's outside appearance," Dodson told WSOC-TV. I think that kids get enough pressure today to look a certain way, to act a certain way, without bringing something like this in, that is being promoted and is tied to the school, I don't think that's right."
While Lancaster County School District officials say they did not sponsor the event, pageant organizer Tracy Hyland tells WBTV that the school's principal allowed her to use the school's name in promoting the event. Hyland had spent two decades working with her daughter in pageants, and brought this one together as a surprise playground equipment fundraiser in honor of the school vice principal's late son.
"This is not 'Honey Boo Boo Child.' This is not 'Toddlers and Tiaras.' This is an opportunity for the children to come up, shine, and be themselves on stage," Hyland told WBTV. "As a parent - watching my child go across the stage - it's wonderful. Let's think about the other activities children do - football, dance, soccer, swimming, ice-skating - all of those things are judged."
But parent Jessica Dodson says it's not about the pageant.
"If you want to do that, that's fine. I just don't think that facial beauty is something that should be criteria to be a school mascot, basically," she told WCNC-TV. "That they would base the criteria of choosing the Indian Land king and queen on facial beauty ... was horrific and a little bit revolting."
Slavery Examples Used On Math Worksheet
In January 2012, parents of students at Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross, Ga. expressed outrage over the school district's response to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/08/examples-of-slavery-in-school-worksheet_n_1192512.html" target="_hplink">reports of using examples of slavery in math word problems.</a> The word problems in questions include references to slavery and "beatings."
More Slavery Math Problems
In March 2012, students at another Georgia school were given a math problem that referenced slavery, upsetting students and parents. Nearly 140 fourth grade students at James A. Jackson Elementary School contained an extra-credit question that read, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/21/james-a-jackson-elementary-school-slavey-math-problems_n_1370125.html" target="_hplink">"A plantation owner had 100 slaves. If three-fifths of them are counted for representation, how many slaves will be counted?"</a>
Communism v. Capitalism Worksheet
In February 2012, Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa received criticism for a class assignment on the Cold War. Based on a worksheet handed out in a social studies class, many questioned whether the lesson promoted communism over capitalism, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/05/roosevelt-high-school-und_n_1255842.html" target="_hplink">calling it "communist indoctrination."</a>
Morbid, Traumatizing Math Problems
A Washington, D.C. teacher was fired from Center City Public School's Trinidad campus in March 2012 for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/05/teacher-fired-for-giving-_n_1322173.html" target="_hplink">sending home violent, morbid and traumatizing math problems to third graders.</a> Questions included story lines about baking humans in ovens and a child waking up screaming after thousands of fire ants made a nest in a human brain.
Perceived Racist Vocab Quiz
A teacher was suspended and handed disciplinary action in March 2012 for a question she wrote on a vocabulary quiz that some argued was racist. When district officials reviewed the test in context, however, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/20/lakeshore-schools-rescind_n_1367588.html" target="_hplink">the charges against her were rescinded.</a>
'Degrading,' 'Offensive' Class Photo
Sawgrass Elementary School in Sunrise, Fla. made the news in April 2012 when a second grade student was included in a class photo despite not having turned in a parental consent form. Instead of retaking the photo, the photographer resolved to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/05/parents-upset-over-degrading-school-photo_n_1406159.html?ref=education" target="_hplink">paste a brown-colored smiley face over the boy's face.</a>
'African American Attire' = 'Animal Print'?
A letter sent home with students at Western Union Elementary School in North Carolina didn't sit well with parents in March 2012. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/21/western-union-elementary-african-american-attire_n_1370984.html" target="_hplink">The note asked students to wear "African American attire" or animal print for a Black History Month event,</a> calling into question educators' choice of words and cultural sensitivity.
Superintendent In KKK Robe
In April 2012, flyers with an image of Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis in a Ku Klux Klan robe sparked controversy in the community. The bill was in response to a contentious school redistricting plan that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/07/atlanta-public-schools-re_n_1410029.html" target="_hplink">would have closed several schools</a> in a number of Atlanta's black neighborhoods.