Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Tyranny of the Majority, Part 2

So, what other happening made me think about John Stuart Mill's idea of Tyranny of the Majority?

Mrs. Kid is the Vice President of the PTA at Boy Kid's school. Recently, it came to light that the PTA had an odd relationship with a Faith-Based Organization (I'll call them FBO) at the school. In order to make it right, the PTA had to either sever their relationship or formalize it.

Making trouble isn't really Mrs. Kid's general MO, but this situation got her going. Neither of us like organizations that are exclusionary and we are big fans of strong separation of church and state, so when the exclusionary FBO requires that the PTA essentially sign on to their charter, this caused a conflict.

The FBO parents got wind of the controversy and mobilized. There were lots of confrontational emails and meetings. Battle lines were drawn as Mrs. Kid tried to explain all the reasons that the PTA should not sponsor the FBO. Around the country, few schools sponsor the FBO; most sponsors are churches, which makes perfect sense. Note that I have nothing against the FBO. I just choose not to support them and would rather not support any organization that supports them. It's entirely inappropriate for a public school to support them

Eventually, the matter of formalizing the relationship was put to a vote of the PTA, so in the weeks leading up to the vote, scads of FBO folks joined the PTA. Probably 5 times the normal attendance appeared at the meeting (including bunches of members who joined on the same day as the meeting) for the vote to approve signing the FBO's charter. Many of the PTA's leadership were absent from the meeting, but Mrs. Kid stood her ground.

Only three people voted "nay" on the motion: Mrs. Kid and two other brave souls. As a result of this, it looks like we probably won't join the PTA next year and Mrs. Kid will not serve as President.

Boy Kid has no idea that this has been going on, but some day, he should be as proud of his mother as I am. She stood by her principles even though doing so was politically unpopular. She ticked off some of our friends (some kids on Boy Kid's soccer, basketball, and swim teams are members of the FBO) and has ended her relationship with the PTA. I am proud of her and hope our kids can someday learn from her story about standing up for what's right. I am pretty sure that John Stuart Mill would agree with me.

Note that I have avoided my normal level of linking out to pertinent info, but in an earlier post, I provided appropriate links to info about this FBO. Anyone who cares can search the blog for references to them.

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