Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why I'm Wearing Purple Tomorrow (Okay, Today, But After I Sleep Some)

I'm wearing purple tomorrow because there are students in my school who are afraid and alone--even more afraid and alone than all the other students, who very often are also afraid and alone.

I'm wearing purple tomorrow because there are students in my school who are part of a minority group that, as I've heard it put before, don't have people in the same minority group they get to go home and cope with at the end of a day of coping on their own--in fact, they might have less support at home than they would among classmates.

I'm wearing purple tomorrow because yelling "F**king faggot" down the hall gets you sent to the office only to be sent back to class a very short time later during the same class period. Maybe the "punishment" would have been the same for yelling "F**king n***er" or with some other racial epithet filling in for the second word, but I doubt it. Because it's very visual to be of another race. Sometimes it's very visual to be of another religion. I'm wearing purple tomorrow for those in the school who feel they have to stay invisible, not visual. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

I'm wearing purple tomorrow because it's not okay to bully anyone, ever, in any circumstances... unless it's a teacher bullying a class to get the kids to 'fess up to which student threw that paper wad. Then it's okay, but not preferable.

I'm wearing purple tomorrow because, statistically speaking, in a building with hundreds of kids, there are kids struggling with who they are and are getting messages from all over the place that who they are is something worse than being a murderer or something even worse than that... like a teacher or something.

I'm wearing purple tomorrow because I have too good of a memory of what 7th grade was like. I didn't get that gift of forgetting that so many adults seem to have gotten (although I can sorta slide it on like sunglasses if I'm in a hurry, and want to ignore how they feel).

I'm wearing purple tomorrow because I want all students to know that no matter how bad it gets, it gets better, and I want them to stick around to find out how right I am. How right I am about everything, not just that. But mostly that.

I'm wearing purple tomorrow. I hope you are, too.

Spirit Day, October 20, 2010


Purple Cow said...

You just wanted to grab my attention...didn't ya? What's this about the purple? Some sort of campaign going on in the US? So does wearing purple change anything? try crystals next time!

EyeRytStuf said...

Ah, I guess this would help for those who don't know about Spirit Day...

There's other resources. That was just the first one on Google. I've linked to it in the post.

Valerie said...

Mark, I pray I can be the wonderful, supportive teacher you are. Thank you for standing up for your students, and for any other person facing bullying for something they just are.

toppogigio said...


Every student needs a safe place, and I would bet that your classroom is one of them. And I'm sure that there will be students who will be sooooo glad you aren't afraid to show you care, that you recognize them, and that you have the courage of your convictions by wearing purple today--and on any other day when it seems everyone needs a reminder.

Thank you!

EyeRytStuf said...

Yes, well, I ruined the whole "safe place" feeling today with my 6th hour when the JUST WOULD NOT STOP TALKING SO WE COULD GET ON WITH CLASS!!! ::sigh:: I'm constantly praying for more patience with their behavior, but I'm afraid there's not enough patience on the planet!

But thank you! There were several kids today who wore purple without knowing there was a thing going on (and I think only one other person on staff knew about it an participated--I wasn't a very good p.r. person for the day), but one young lady did look at me and say, "You're wearing purple today?" And we both knew what it meant.

Of course, she wouldn't know from the slide show I have running at during passing time every hour, even though there was a slide for "Why I'm Wearing Purple Today" (nothing like this post, mind you, but a quick summary). This is because she is a student, and I've found just about zero students will read a slide show when they enter a classroom, especially if that slide show contains important information they will need to know for class.

Just sayin'.

But it was a nice little moment for me, her realizing I knew about it as well.

Robin said...

I have written several posts about bullying. The truth is that no matter how much we write about, talk about it, wear clothes to acknowledge it, bullying will still happen. People will make other people feel small for various reasons. Because they are gay. Because they are overweight. Because they are not pretty and/or unpopular. Because they are poor. Because they are not smart. People bully other people to make themselves feel better. Bullies are insecure and they have this need to make someone else feel small so that they can feel tall. Bullying doesn't end in school. Wish it did. Sometimes those insecure kids find their talents and grow out of it. Sometimes they don't and spend their adulthood making others feel small so that they can feel better about themselves. It is a vicious circle. I wish that wearing purple solved the problem. I really do. I really hope this post was about bullying after all of that...

EyeRytStuf said...

Hey Valerie, I didn't mean to fail to acknowledge your comment! Thanks for it!

Robin, yes, it was, so you're good. I agree about the bullying, but the purple was also a sort of code to those who feel they have to hide, to let them know that if they should choose to want to trust someone with this "horrible secret" (or at least the secret they think is horrible), I'm one of the people who won't make them regret they shared it. Hopefully, they'll realize not only will I not tolerate racial slurs and slurs based on religion, but I will also not tolerate slurs based on sexual orientation.