I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a post from another blogger. The gist of it is: A mother took her daughter to get her ears pierced for her 8th birthday. Once the little girl was in the chair, she decided she no longer wanted her ears pierced. The mom then went on about how important it is for us to listen to our daughters, and therefore did not go through with getting her daughter’s ears pierced.
So, I am going to “see her ears pierced” and “raise her changing in the gym.”
Here’s the thing. Sofia just entered middle school. Her first class of the day is PE. About three days in, the kids had to change into their gym clothes, and Sofia, being my daughter, felt more comfortable changing in the bathroom stall.
This upset Sofia. Just for the simple fact that she does not like to change in front of other people. Pretty cut and dry, right? Well, the PE teacher would not allow any of the students to change in the bathroom stall, and proceeded to tell Sofia “Do not worry, no one is watching you.”
I sent an email to her PE teacher, sternly yet politely letting her know that I prefer Sofia to change in the bathroom stall because that is what Sofia feels more comfortable doing. The following morning, there were no issues and Sofia was allowed to change in the bathroom stall.
One would think problem solved.
One would also be wrong.
The next day, Sofia comes home pretty upset and tells me that her PE teacher literally blocked her from changing in the bathroom stall.
I was officially done being polite.
I feel there may be some miscommunication issues regarding my last email. I say that because Sofia came home and told me you blocked her from changing in the bathroom stall. I do not want to waste any more of your time or mine so I will spell it out for you.
Until further notice, Sofia will be changing in the bathroom stall. I have zero interest in making her change in front of others. Forcing her, or any other student for that matter is sending a message that I have no interest in sending.
In the days of the #MeToo movement, this should not be an issue, and I am quite surprised that you have to have a parent tell you this. No one will be telling my daughter where she can and cannot change.
End of story.
I thank you for your time, any other questions please give me a call at ___.”
I never heard back from the PE teacher, but I will say Sofia has been able to change in the bathroom stall ever since that email was sent.
Fast forward to today. I ask Sofia how PE is going, and make sure she is still allowed to change in the bathroom stall.
Sofia~ Yes Mom. I am always allowed to change in the stall now, and not just me but everyone else. You have no idea how many people you saved and you should be proud of yourself.
Now, we all know I did not “save” anyone, except maybe the embarrassment of my daughter. Although I love that fact that in my daughter’s eyes, I did save everyone.
Changing into gym clothes without any privacy is a hot button issue for me. I do not understand it. In my opinion, middle school is the perfect time to teach our kids that yes, you are entitled to privacy, and we are going to honor that because you are our future.
Back in my middle school days, there was no privacy. In my school, the PE teacher would be standing there with a clipboard watching (monitoring?) all the girls change out of their school clothes into their PE clothes. We were not offered privacy. We were not offered any “protection” or “words of comfort” when the girls would be judging the other girls’ weight, breast size, or even their outfit.
Now even though I was made fun of quite a bit in school, it never happened in PE class. Do you want to know why? Because I refused to change in front of anyone. I ended up failing PE all because I, in my eyes, stuck to my own beliefs.
I absolutely refuse for Sofia to go through the same. In this day and age, there is no reason to. Shell out a few bucks for a curtain rod and a shower curtain to give the kids that want it some privacy. I would be the first to contribute.
Every morning, Sofia has a little less stress now because she knows she can start her school day with how she sees fit, at her own comfort level. And please note, if Sofia was complaining about doing Math, then this would have a different ending. But, we are not talking about Math, we are talking about the right to change in private.
I told Sofia: “I did not save anyone, I used my voice with your permission. That is what I want you to take away from this. Always fight for what you believe in because, in the end, you never know how many people are fighting that same fight.”
An important lesson for us all remember.
Use your voice, because you never know the lense behind it.