I assigned a webquest on “La Semana Santa” to two of my Spanish classes last week. The day was 11 April, which, incidentally, was my birthday, for which I took a personal day. Although La Semana Santa had already taken place, the webquest was worthy enough to be completed post-holiday.
The students, for the most part, thoroughly read the information contained in the various links provided. They also answered the questions thoughtfully and with sufficient detail. However, one student provided a response to the first question which was just wrong. Actually, a colleague alerted me to the fact. The webquest responses had been printed using a printer next to her desk. As the documents emerged from the printer, the responses of one student in particular captured her attention. The student wrote, “Jesus Christ was a cosmic zombie.”
The colleague remarked that the student’s response was disrespectful; I agreed. Moreover, I seem to remember a brief conversation about Easter in the class in which the student in question is enrolled, and one student made the comment (not the one who wrote the comment) that Jesus Christ was a cosmic zombie, since he was resurrected. The comment wasn’t made with malicious intent, but, it was an ignorant comment, nonetheless, and I needed to remind the student who made the comment about respect for different beliefs, and that equating Jesus Christ with a zombie was equally disrespectful. Well, it seems that the student who typed a similar response on his webquest seemed to believe that despite the conversation, it was appropriate for him to reiterate the same.
I happened to catch up with the student in question on Friday afternoon, just as the 2:45 pm bell rang. I pulled out his paper, and showed him what he had written. He was contrite, and apologetic. I said to the student that writing what he did was inappropriate and disrespectful. He apologized. I added that even if this is what he believes, it disrespects a religious faith that many hold as dear and true – Yours Truly included. The student apologized again. I told him to take his paper, and to write an appropriate response. He did, and emailed it to me that very afternoon.
Sadly, there are colleagues at my place of employ who would have given the student in question a pass. Anything goes in their mind, even disrespecting religion. After all, it’s a liberal school, and, affronting anything viewed as conservative is allowed to be attacked. Well, even if I weren’t a Christian, the student’s actions would not be okay.
Having turned 47, and, being three years from 50, I’m less tolerant of such buffoonery. That said, I’m also dealing with my own reactions to such in a more controlled and detached manner.