Education advocates spark backlash with tweets linking Charlottesville attack to alternative schools
'Congratulations for setting the stupid bar higher,' reads one reply on Twitter to SOS Alberta
An Alberta education advocacy group is being slammed on social media for suggesting the deadly violence last weekend in the United States is a cautionary tale against alternative schools.
Save Our Schools Alberta tweeted Sunday that the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., "reaffirms for us why we cannot afford to segregate our children [—] not by class, race, culture, religion or ability."
"If we separate our kids under the guise of choice we remove opportunities to celebrate diversity WITHIN schools," the group said in a second tweet.
If we separate our kids under the guise of choice we remove opportunities to celebrate diversity WITHIN schools <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Charolettesville?src=hash">#Charolettesville</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/abed?src=hash">#abed</a> 2/4 <a href="https://t.co/FsMTDM7aJJ">pic.twitter.com/FsMTDM7aJJ</a>—@SOSAlberta
A woman was killed and others injured Saturday when a car drove into a crowd of counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville.
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SOS Alberta, which champions the cause of public education in the province, went on to list "some of the schools that exist in Alberta that segregate students."
We must actively protect the promise that is public education. It is truly our best chance to build community. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Charlottesville?src=hash">#Charlottesville</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/abed?src=hash">#abed</a> 4/4—@SOSAlberta
The list included alternative programs such as French immersion, the Calgary Girls School and numerous private schools.
The comparison sparked many sharp rebuttals on Twitter.
"You've not only minimized what segregation really is for POC, you've minimized the importance of our other official language. Unacceptable," tweeted @KikiPlanet, who also said her long-time support of SOS Alberta will now end.
You've not only minimized what segregation really is for POC, you've minimized the importance of our other official language. Unacceptable.—@KikkiPlanet
She said it's disgusting to suggest enrolling her child in a French immersion program amounts to segregation.
"Putting my daughter in French immersion honour Canada's other official language, encourages her understanding of this nation's French history, has nothing to do with segregation," she tweeted.
United Conservative Party leadership hopeful Jason Kenney also joined the debate.
Disgusting. This group is claiming that this weekend's racist terrorism is somehow connected to choice in education. <a href="https://t.co/ghP8yJWj1N">pic.twitter.com/ghP8yJWj1N</a>—@jkenney
Here are some of the other negative responses prompted by SOS Alberta's series of tweets:
Your linking what happened in Charolettesville to school choice is beyond disgusting. You should seriously be ashamed of yourselves.—@Semper__Veritas
How DARE you draw parallels between violence & hatred and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/abed?src=hash">#abed</a> school choice debate. Don't use tragedy as a springboard.—@happycampergirl
Congratulations for setting the stupid bar higher. Programs for arts & sports is not "segregating children". <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/abed?src=hash">#abed</a> 1/2—@Zarny007
Others on Twitter applauded SOS Alberta for its posts linking the Charlottesville attack with the school choice debate:
I love your approach. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Inclusion?src=hash">#Inclusion</a> is a human condition & a human right not based on opinions. Keep up the great work!! 👏🏻 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LGBTQ?src=hash">#LGBTQ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Disability?src=hash">#Disability</a>—@Leah_McRorie
In an email to CBC News, SOS Alberta spokesperson Barbara Silva said the organization looks at the larger context of institutional systems that create barriers or inequality for children and that promote intolerance.
"Our goal in linking conversations to recent events in the U.S. was to proactively address, and dialogue around, all venues where barriers exist for students that can have the negative effect of dividing children along many lines," she said.
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