As a former public school teacher, I must take exception to the picture of a young boy on the front page of the Oct. 31 issue of the BDN holding up political signs. Children this young do not comprehend the political process. They get wrapped up in the brouhaha and the views of their parents.
When I taught fourth grade and administered the MEA test, as 4th grade teachers did throughout the state, questions with regard to local, state and federal government issues were included (this area was not included in the fourth-grade curriculum of our district). The “powers that be,” in their infinite wisdom, chose to include such questions in the local benchmark assessments the next year. Most of the 4th graders who responded to these questions had little if any idea of the whole concept.
I had a similar experience when living in Fort Kent. Children as young as 3 and 4 were picketing in front of the local supermarket with anti-abortion signs. It makes no difference which side of these issues you are on. Children should not be used as pawns for adults.
I feel that “straw votes” are much more appropriate at the middle school and high school levels when students have a better understanding of the process and can do some independent thinking.
At the very least, if the BDN feels it is appropriate to include pictures such as the one which appeared on the front page, they should be relegated to another section of the paper.