A Prince Rupert elementary teacher has been told a quote from Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle is a political statement that should not be displayed or worn on clothing in her classroom.
The teacher included the quote in material she brought to a meeting with management after she received a notice relating to union material visible in her car on school property.
The advice is in keeping with a 2011 arbitrator’s decision that found political materials must be kept out of B.C. classrooms, said Dave Stigant, who is acting director of instruction for the Prince Rupert School District and who met with the teacher to discuss what would and wouldn’t run afoul of district standards.
And while he conceded Tuesday that it might seem absurd to spend time reviewing quotes from, among others, Dr. Seuss and former Canadian prime minister John Diefenbaker, Mr. Stigant said the review is necessary to protect students from an often-bitter dispute.
“It’s a good use of my time if it serves the purpose of shielding the children from political messaging,” Mr. Stigant said. “I don’t consider it’s taking a stand on the dispute. It’s a matter of legality and living up to our obligation to children and their families.”
The quote in question – “I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights” – comes from Yertle the Turtle, the tale of a turtle who climbs on the backs of other turtles to get a better view.
In the midst of a labour dispute between the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and the province, the quote was deemed unsuitable.
more nannyism and indignation
Dr. Seuss’s ‘Yertle the Turtle’ deemed too political for B.C. classroom - The Globe and Mail