Francis Parker field trip went too far, parent charges
At least one parent has objected to a recent field trip in which Francis W. Parker School sophomores were encouraged to create political protest signs, many of which allegedly attacked the Trump Administration.
During the trip, artist Aram Han Sifuentes taught the children to make the signs that incorporated slogans such as "Fight Ignorance Not Immigrants" and "Love Resists." Some were more inflammatory, the parent said, including ones reading "Build Bridges Not Walls" and "Putin Loves Trump," and a third that used vulgar language to attack President Donald Trump.
The parent, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, told Chicago City Wire that while she was informed of the trip beforehand, it was not clear that it could be politically slanted. She contacted the school's head of diversity with her concerns and also asked about the cost of the trip.
She said the reply she received focused on the artistic aspects of the trip.
“Nothing is being protested; the students have a terrific opportunity to meet an award-winning artist who uses fabric and sewing to create protest signs (among other things),” the parent quoted the response as saying. “We know students have much to express as we see via social media, for instance, [sic] will learn a lot about the interesting use of sewing and fabric art as a medium to voice an opinion, and have the opportunity to use it to express what is important to them as individuals, if they choose.
The parent said she did not receive an answer regarding the cost of the event.
“Many of the students said it was a stupid waste of time, and they would have rather been spending that time doing their homework,” she said.
The parent also worried about repercussions if a student did not follow suit, politically. She said many parents did not support the trip or some politically motivated actions by the school since the election, but they did not object because the didn’t want their children to face possible backlash.
“In a very liberal school with the teachers planning and enthusiastic about the outing, I don’t think a student would want to be the one to put their neck out and not go along with it,” she said. "There are many parents who are unhappy with the way the school has responded to the recent election, but everyone wants to remain undercover. They write to me and encourage my outspokenness, but they only want their quotes used anonymously. Most families do have to sacrifice to send their kids to such a school, and it’s very difficult to get in. So no one wants to jeopardize their situation.”
Francis W. Parker School, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, is one of Chicago's most exclusive private schools, charging between $29,300 and $37,240 per student per year.
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