Friday, November 10, 2006

Dangerous T-Shirts

There are always stories from everyday life in Switzerland at Bafweb. This one concerns a provocative t-shirt:

A twelve-year old pupil in the commune of Roggwil was told not to wear his team's T-shirt, lest he arouse aggressive reactions, especially on the part of foreign students. The decision did in fact arouse some reactions - from parents taken aback at the idea that "one should be ashamed of one's own country."

The school in question promptly gave its side of the story:

"No rule stipulates that wearing this garment is forbidden. Moreover, no teacher received directives along these lines," the administration stressed. It did, however, admit that two classes were given sensitivity instruction, the theme of which was the effect that certain articles of dress may provoke in any given social context. For the administration, a misunderstanding had occurred...

Misunderstanding or not, the debate initiated by the school board is now open. This will bring grist to the mill of those who advocate school uniforms, which are currently being imposed on an experimental basis in Bâle.

Note: As usual, there is a double-edged sword. School uniforms are an excellent idea. They are intended to deflect envy and to help maintain order. But if the purpose is to prevent foreign students from becoming aggressive at the sight of the Swiss (or any) flag, then their objective is appeasement. How long before the Swiss flag itself is banned from public places, so as not to offend foreigners?

The T-shirt is on sale at e-bay.


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