Ma’am knows best-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
MANY of us must have, at one time or another, seen this sign hanging on a wall: “If you have nothing to do, don’t do it here.”
Someone should hang that sign on party-list (Kabataan) Rep. Raymond Palatino’s wall to remind him that he doesn’t have to do something juvenile such as his Religious Freedom Bill to justify his presence and earn his pay in Congress.
Palatino‘s bill bans the display of religious icons and images as well as the holding of masses and prayer vigils in government offices. This, according to him, is in keeping with the constitutional mandate to treat all faiths and religions with complete neutrality.
I do not know where or how Palatino got the idea that displaying the image of the Sto. Niño, for example, in a government office transgresses the constitution. On the contrary, banning it from a person’s place work would impinge on his constitutional right to practice his faith.
What would be wrong is if the government uses public funds to acquire and install these images or if it bans the display of icons or images or other symbols of faith or worship of other religions in government offices. That concededly would amount to an establishment of a State religion.
It disappoints me that notwithstanding the many legitimate concerns that need the attention of our national leadership, Palatino should choose to pre-occupy himself with an issue that is not only religious but, in the words of Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, also cultural. As bearer of the voice of the youth in Congress, Palatino should be more concerned with preserving our cherished traditions than with destroying them.
What have these images done to him? Gabaan baya ka, ‘Do.
The story in this paper yesterday about a mother who complained against her son’s grade school teacher, who temporarily transferred him to a special education class then flunked him and misplaced his report card, raised some very interesting points.
Maybe, the teacher erred in failing to at least inform the boy’s mother of the transfer but can one question her judgment in giving him a failing mark at the end of the school term? How far can a teacher go in disciplining an unusually naughty child?
I mean nothing pejorative with that description. I used to be one myself. I was also nine years old like the Grade II pupil from Minglanilla but already in Grade IV because I started attending school when I was five, when I committed my most “heinous” act. I got into a fight with a classmate during gardening class and chased him with a bolo.
Our teacher whipped me on the butt for my labors, breaking his ruler on the sixth or seventh strike. I had welts on my behind when I came home but my mother didn’t go rushing to confront the teacher, who happened to be her youngest brother.
The whipping was a painful experience, literally and figuratively, but I think it made me a better person. I still got into fistfights but never wielded a bolo in anger again.
I am not advocating that we restore corporal punishment to instill discipline among our children. But teaching young girls and boys is already a difficult, at times even thankless, job and we should not make it any more so by interfering with the teacher’s prerogatives.
Many years ago, we were summoned to our freshman son’s high school because they wanted to move him to a higher section where, in their own words, “he would not get bored with the pace.” Do they have our consent? My answer was brief.
The teacher knows best.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 21, 2012.