The New Leaders on Climate Change

The next generation has been waiting, watching, listening… and getting frustrated about the lack of action on climate change by governments around the world. Now they’re taking the lead.

More Kudos to the Kids

Tomorrow is a big day for the planet.

The kids are stepping out and speaking out once again. They’re demanding action on global warming and climate change. They’re sick and tired of waiting around for my generation and the one before it to do all the things that should’ve long since been done.

Before today, they’ve filed a lawsuit against the government of the United State of America. They’ve walked out of school to protest inaction by governments around the world. And tomorrow, March 15, they’re walking out again, but in a more organized fashion.

This time it’s being billed by some as a “coming out party” for the international Youth Climate Strike, a movement that started with a 15-year-old girl who’s had enough.

I’ve written about the lawsuit before, giving the kids behind it a shout-out. Today, once again, I say…

Kudos to the Kids!

The youth of the United States and the world have been gathering steam for several years now, beginning even before 21 of them filed suit against the U.S. government for not acting on what it knew about global warming and its effects.

That was in 2015.

Continue reading “The New Leaders on Climate Change”

UND’s Hockey Team is on the Ice

UND hockey has a rich tradition of excellence; nine national championships speak loudly to it. Maybe it’s time to support that excellence by vocalizing support for the team that’s on the ice, in the classroom and at the alumni center.

But There’s Sadness at Engelstad Arena

I’ve always been a fan of University of North Dakota (UND) hockey. My father was in school there when I was born, and my folks used to take me to games all the time. Through the years, I’ve been happy when the teams have had success.

There’s been lots of it. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), “North Dakota is one of two teams with eight national championships. The Fighting Hawks have won a national championship in all but two decades since its birth.”

But if you’re familiar with UND hockey, you understand how those two sentences describe a sadness that’s hard to miss in the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

NCAA. Fighting Hawks.

Continue reading “UND’s Hockey Team is on the Ice”

#IAmNotaDistraction – New Letter to Editor

Letter to the Editor of The Forum, Fargo, N.D., about dress code enforcement in Fargo Public Schools, in response to a letter by Keith Berg from 11/27/18

The problem is not the dress code itself, it’s how it’s written

by Sheri McMahon
Letter to the Editor, The Forum, Fargo, N.D.
Nov. 28, 2018 (online 11/27/18)

Regarding Nov. 27th letter by Keith Berg about a parent’s challenge to the Fargo Public School dress code:

Mr. Fredricks’ objection to the dress code is not that there is one, but how the dress code is written. There are some sections which provide mostly objective, gender-neutral prohibitions such as banning ads for substances illegal for minors to use, coats in class, and so on. But the section he wants to address lists items most likely to be worn by girls and carries an implicit shaming message regarding girls’ bodies. It also includes reference to “any item deemed inappropriate by administration” which also creates a subjective standard.

The code contains no references to clothing that might be inappropriate but more likely to be worn by boys rather than girls. The catch-all section regarding any clothing considered “distracting” also leaves enforcement wide open to subjective interpretation.

Model dress codes have been developed, ranging in degree of what clothing is permitted (e.g. some school districts are OK with exposing the midriff, others are not), which are much more objective and avoid the gender-implicit language and application of dress codes such as the one Fredricks opposes. They also objectively define what is too short, too tight, too loose. Such codes have been established in many schools and are worth considering by the district.

Positive Feedback on #IAmNotaDistractionFargo

Here are comments on Facebook regarding The Forum’s story about #IAmNotaDistractionFargo, published on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.

Another Side to the Dress Code Story Reaction

Ashley – Oh my gosh, (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo), this is sooooo amazing. This is why it’s so important to speak up. Thank you for putting a spotlight on this issue!!! (We) are both grateful to you. (flexing bicep, clapping hands, double hearts)

Becky – Awesome

Brittlee – This is amazing! (three hearts)

Elizabeth – (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo), thanks for this. The “exposing of under garments” bit seems to target boys who sage their pants… Black kids.

Heidi – Hello! Let me know if I can help in any way. My daughter (now 10) was made to cover up her spaghetti strap dress 2 years ago. Very frustrating! She was only 8 at the time.

Jill – This is so awesome!!! I’ve always told our boys that if they are “distracted” it’s their problem and to fix it. I also hate that it’s ok for their cheerleaders to wear what they wear and that’s ok

Jodi – Go, (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo)!

John – Rock on, (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo). Rock. On. (horns up)

Kris – Oh heck yes! Keep it up dad! (smiley face, flexed bicep)

Lisa – Cool! So we can expect high schools to change their girls volleyball uniforms to something more modest, right? I find the double standard disturbing. In class, a girl with a skirt that is too short is determined to “be distracting to the learning process” and told to interrupt HER learning to go home to change. After school, this same girl is told to put on a volleyball uniform that is not much longer than her underwear and go out to entertain the students and parents of the same school. I think body and clothing shaming are disgusting. I think the only time a woman’s clothing choice should be discussed is to ask whether or not she is warm enough.

Lisa – My daughter was called down to the principal’s office during class and made to put on a large t-shirt over what she was wearing and then go back to class. I bought her clothing and nothing was ever offensive and not MOM approved. She took after me and had God-given gifts (if you know me, you know what I mean) but for them to pull her out of class and embarrass her was just too much. Needless to say, there was a discussion with West Fargo High School.

Mia – Love this!! (flexing bicep)

Mike – Way to go

Paul – Good initiative (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo).

Shana – I could go on and on about this. THANK YOU so much for your hubs taking the lead and addressing it. Dress code policies really do affect females way more.

Shereen – Great conversation. Thank you!

Thank you all for the support.

Martin C. Fredricks IV Logo

#IAmNotaDistractactionFargo Rebuttal

Mr. Berg begs to differ. What do YOU think? Good, bad and ugly, all opinions are welcome.

What do YOU think about the Fargo Public Schools dress code and enforcement?

Mr. Keith Berg, Fargo, N.D., has taken exception to the assertions I made in the story in The Forum this past Saturday regarding gender-biased dress codes and dress code enforcement.

So, what do YOU think?

All opinions are welcome. I look forward to hearing from you.

Martin C. Fredricks IV Logo

 

Fargo Newspaper Features Effort to End Body Shaming in Local Public Schools

#IAmNotaDistractionFargo invites anyone and everyone to share their own stories about themselves, their kids, their siblings or their friends being “coded” in a Fargo Public School.

Traction for #IAmNotaDistraction

The front page of today’s edition of The Forum, Fargo, N.D., features a story about the local effort to get rid of gender-biased dress code policies and enforcement, a.k.a., body shaming, in local schools. The story is also online.

IV Words first wrote about this in “The Alleged Distractees – Not Our Daughters and Sisters – Must Change,” and has provided several updates since.

Two parents have already shared stories of their daughters being coded following publication of the story.

#IAmNotaDistractionFargo invites anyone and everyone to share their own stories about themselves, their kids, their siblings or their friends being “coded” in a Fargo Public School.

You can do so on the Facebook page, through a direct message on the Facebook page or by emailing iamnotadistractionfargo@gmail.com.

Depending on the outcome of the FPS process to evaluate and change the dress code and dress code enforcement, the stories might be needed to continue the effort to end body shaming in schools.

Thank you for your support.

Martin C. Fredricks IV Logo

When Gun Violence Hits Close to Home

When your 11-year-old is imploring you for answers about gun violence, when she’s afraid to go to school because of a shooting threat, things get real in a hurry. We need reasonable – and absolutely necessary – gun violence laws. Right now.

The Innocence We Enjoyed is a Fairy Tale to Our Children

“Why do we have to live this way?”

The evening before, a Thursday, one of our older kids received a snap from a friend who rides the bus that takes all three of our children to and from school. It said a middle schooler next to her had just muttered, “I’m going to shoot up that school tomorrow,” apparently referring to our 11-year-old’s school.

Continue reading “When Gun Violence Hits Close to Home”

#IAmNotaDistractionFargo

It will take many voices to bring about change in the gender-biased way the Fargo Public Schools dress code is applied and enforced. Please consider lending yours.

I believe dress-code enforcement in Fargo Public Schools is gender biased (see “The Alleged “Distractees” – Not Our Daughters & Sisters – Must Change“), and that the body shaming that comes with it is detrimental to my daughters, and their sisters as well as yours.

After many years of frustration, I decided to do something about it.

Continue reading “#IAmNotaDistractionFargo”

The Alleged “Distractees” – Not Our Daughters and Sisters – Must Change

Each year, Fargo Public Schools (FPS) officials tell our daughters – sometimes explicitly, often implicitly – they will be a “distraction” to other students and teachers if they wear spaghetti-strap tops that are “too revealing,” pants that are “too tight” or skirts that are “too short.”

Gender Bias Needs to Be Removed
from Dress-Code Enforcement
in Fargo Public Schools

Each year, Fargo Public Schools (FPS) officials tell our daughters and their sisters – sometimes explicitly, often implicitly – they will be a “distraction” to other students and teachers if they wear spaghetti-strap tops that are “too revealing,” pants that are “too tight” or skirts that are “too short.”

The “too” statements are in quotation marks because they’re descriptors with relative meanings. “Too” whatever depends on who is passing judgment.

If girls wear any of these, or other undefined pieces of clothing, they “get coded.” Continue reading “The Alleged “Distractees” – Not Our Daughters and Sisters – Must Change”

#Enough #NeverAgain #ProtectOurKids

FSH_Protest_3-14-18

 

Posted to Facebook:

Standing in solidarity with students at #FargoSouthHigh who walked out for 17 minutes of silence for the victims of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting. And asking our local, state and federal elected officials to do something meaningful to curb #gunviolence and #ProtectOurKids in their own schools. NOW is the time for you to do something, Sen. John HoevenSen. Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer. No more excuses, justifications or equivocation.  #NeverAgain #Enough