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What's trivial about breast cancer?
|Posted By: Rebecca New on July 6, 2011|
|I was intrigued and dismayed at the response of school authorities to the two middle-school (female) students who actively participated in--and raised awareness of--a campaign to promote breast cancer awareness. I would have hoped that the educators would have applauded their social activism and courage for bringing this otherwise taboo topic to the attention of their peers. That young male middle-school students found the [words on the] bracelets something to jeer about underscores the difficulty of effectively directing critical health issues to this age group [and likely not only]. Of equal concern to me was the authors' conclusion that the two students may have learned the wrong lesson by getting away with subverting authority about something they labeled as "trivial." There is nothing trivial about increasing awareness of a disease that has killed millions of women, nor about insuring that youth in America's public schools understand that they have rights as citizens that will be recognized by the courts if not respected by others. What is most disappointing is the missed opportunity for parents, students, teachers and school administrators to come together to discuss the school's role in promoting civic engagement in general and positive youth development in particular.|
Rebecca New, Associate Professor of Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.