Re: "Crusade against Paramount 'indefensible,'" letter to the editor, Wednesday, Jan. 30.
Mr. Greg Felton's letter to the editor concerning the engagement of Mr. Ken Ipe's Social Justice 12 class in community issues dealing with sexism and sexual exploitation is not only way over the top, but of questionable value in terms of the kind of community dialogue Mr. Ipe and his students are seeking to create.
Felton tips his hat when he identifies the exercise as a "crusade" - some kind of puritanical rallying against moral turpitude. This characterization is far from the intent of a class dealing seriously with issues relating to community practices and standards.
Far from a "crusade" these students are engaging in authentic learning that I, as a retired secondary school administrator, would be proud of in my school. Contrary to Mr.
Felton's assertions, I am satisfied that Mr. Ipe, as a competent professional educator, has engaged his students in "reason and logic."
Mr. Felton's poor characterization of the students as a "self-anointed morality squad" is simply inaccurate and misses the point. To say that the school is fostering "ignorance and sanctimony" represents a ludicrous misunderstanding of the educational enterprise which, as educational leader John Goodlad has pointed out, is to engage people in "the human conversation." Kudos to Mr. Ipe and the students for doing just that.
Mr. Lepper, the student whom Felton rakes over the coals, is not a "moralist armed with the certitude of his belief." He is a student learning to participate in valuable public processes, whether Mr. Felton agrees with his analysis or not.
As for interviewing the strippers, as Mr. Felton suggests, such activity may come later in the process and not during the initial stages of a public demonstration of concern. The process of dialogue and engagement often works in this way.
My strongest objection to Mr. Felton's approach, an approach that rejects the creation of bridges to dialogue out of hand through anger and hyperbole, is that he paints Paramount owner Steven Mountford as a victim and Mr. Ipe as "uninformed and sanctimonious."
Very disappointing in that by engaging in such expansive dichotomy, Mr. Felton further destroys the credibility of his article.
Both Mr. Mountford and Mr. Ipe are professionals and cannot, in any context, be cast as victim and perpetrator in some imagined outrage.
Mr. Felton speaks of the motivation of those involved in Social Justice 12 as "self-serving."
Nothing could be further from the truth in terms of the goals and classroom practices of Social Justice 12.
Far from "damag[ing] the reputation of Dr. Charles Best Secondary" and "mock[ing] the very purpose of public education," Mr. Ipe and his students are engaging the community in the kind of dialogue which should always characterize progressive societies, and the existence of which lies at the heart of any true educational enterprise.
Steve Bailey Coquitlam