In today’s politically correct America that gives every kid an award or medal simply for participating in a sport or activity, one Maryland middle school broke out of that mold Tuesday and held a pizza party and dance for its straight-A students.
And predictably, some parents were not pleased about the school rewarding just the top academic performers because it made some of the 306 uninvited students “feel bad.”
“Students who earned straight A’s at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring have been invited to a school dance Tuesday, a celebration that starts during the final period of the school day and includes a DJ, free pizza and a game room,” the Washington Post reported. “Students with B’s and C’s may join in later, when classes are over and pizza is no longer served. Students with lower grades are not invited at all.”
Eastern’s principal Casey Crouse said the intention was not to make students feel bad, but was to offer “a congratulations and an incentive.”
“You’re not going to get every job, you’re not going to win every race,” she said, according to the Post. “There’s something to be said for achieving something.”
However, critics perceived the party as a sort of school segregation of its top achievers to the “exclusion” of the others.
“My concern about how this could open up bullying situations is that children are competitive for grades and it could be a situation where a smarter student knows that another student didn’t quite make the grade. They could make them feel bad; they could call them stupid,” said Karen Hanlon, whose daughter in the sixth grade has learning disabilities and didn’t qualify for the dance.
Parent Lanita Whitehurst said she understands the principal’s hope to motivate students. But “if there is something about this that makes some kids feel excluded,” it might be time to reassess, Whitehurst said. “Certainly I would expect that kids who achieve well would be recognized, but the question is, is this the way to do it?”
Some parents worried that the dance could place unnecessary pressures on high-achieving students, who could fear exposure if they got a single B.
Parent Caitlin James said she liked the idea of a school event as a way for students to celebrate and let off steam, but she said such an event should not be organized by letter grades. “It just feels inherently wrong to separate out the kids,” she said.