Letter to the School
To The Adviser,
Yesterday, our daughter came home crying. She was in tears when she told us how you questioned her on the reasons why her parents called up the Principal’s office. She was deeply worried that the incident may affect her chances of getting good grades and may influence others to look at her badly. She told us how you asked about her family background, and made remarks or assumptions quite degrading and humiliating for her. You somewhat interrogated her which made her feel so uncomfortable and uneasy.
We are not happy with your actions towards our daughter. You should have just communicated directly to us and not to our child who is clueless about our discussion with the Principal. You have caused our daughter further fear and anxiety, more than what she was experiencing before this incident.
We believe there seems to have been a “lost in translation” scenario here. The Principal must have relayed our message incorrectly…. or that we may have failed in clearly getting our points across to her.
We called up the principal to verify and seek confirmation about certain matters that we feel very important. To cite a few, we asked her to make clear which specific activities in the school was compulsory and voluntary, and if these activities were brought to the attention of the parents, and if failure to comply with these activities would mean a demerit or penalty to the student, plus a lot of other questions eventually leading to our final point.
We were actually concerned that these activities were giving a negative impression on the mindset of the students. We believe this may be happening to the entire school and not specific to your class. We were not criticizing any adviser or any particular teacher when we raised issues with the Principal. We were criticizing the school system. In fact, we gave examples to the Principal that happened last year when our daughter was still in her first year.
As we have told the principal, we believe the students are learning the wrong values and acquiring the wrong mindset with regards to the purpose of donations, fund-raising, charity work and other similar activities involving money- regardless of the value.
We are just echoing what we are hearing from our daughter, and we feel that this might be happening similarly to the other students of the school.
Let us list some of them:
- “Nauubos ang allowance ko sa dami ng mga hinihingi sa aming donations. Iba-iba palagi. Wala akong naiipon.”
- “Kailangan daw papel na pera ang ilagay sa envelope…bawal daw ang barya. Nahiya ako kaya nilagay ko remaining allowance ko.”
- “Kailangan mag-donate kung hindi ay pagagalitan kami. Dapat ganito daw.”
- “Wala nga kaming deficiency record, pero sinisingil kasi kami ng Php 20.00 kapag may nagawa kaming mali.”
- “Compulsory daw at dapat magbayad kahit di aattend.”
And a lot more which we could not recall at this moment.
We called up the Principal because we felt that it was the school administration’s directive. The school administration is the body requiring the soliciting. So the people we are calling the attention is the school administration. We were not reporting on any specific adviser or teacher. This is also the reason why we did not communicate with you directly.
If you must know, both of us graduated from a Catholic school but we were actually bewildered to hear this attitude coming from our daughter. We don’t remember seeing ourselves as troubled as our daughter.
When the Principal told us that she will inform our daughter’s adviser regarding our concerns, we looked forward to it because it was a chance to try to resolve the issue. She promised that the adviser will call to schedule a meeting. We thought we would be working with the adviser to determine ways on how to change or improve the mindset of the students. We were shocked to hear that you confronted our daughter instead, and required us to immediately meet with you the following day.
You made her day miserable and you can’t imagine how we felt when she came home all teary-eyed and depressed.
Again, we reiterated a specific word to the Principal: mindset. We are concerned that this series of solicitations is promoting the wrong mindset to the students.
We also told her that this awkward understanding and attitude may be the outlook of the entire student population.
Again, we did not call the Principal to report on an adviser or any specific teacher. She may have drawn her own conclusion and interpretation.
We have no objections to any fund-raising or donation to charity. We also have very little qualms if there is a required monetary value. Just make sure that the objectives and the direct recipients of the cause are well identified, disbursement of the funds are well accounted for, and eventual accomplishments are enumerated and shared later to the students so that they would really feel part of the movement.
We would like the school to clearly teach the students that what they are doing should be done voluntary and coming straight from the heart, and not just another expense forcely deducted from their allowance or their parent’s payroll.
We implore you to please stop communicating directly with our daughter regarding our personal issues. She is too young to understand the technicalities behind it. You may not be aware, but she is already hurting deep inside. Also with her delicate medical condition, the added stress might just worsen her condition. The discussion should be limited to the adults. You would just be adding injury to insult if you continue to defy this request.
If you have any immediate concerns, contact us directly. We do know that you have access to our contact numbers.
To close, I leave you with this:
There’s no compassion or virtue in spending other people’s money taken by force. If a thug forces you to donate to charity, does that make either you or the thug virtuous or compassionate? What if this charity unfairly competes with the real voluntary charities, fosters dependency of recipients, and is run by organizations that are questionable in the first place?
Advocating for church or government-run charities doesn’t make one compassionate, as there’s no compassion in forcing others to comply with another’s notion of virtue. Unlike the real voluntary charities, not “donating” to a church or government charity lands you in judgemental eyes.
Compulsory donations to church or government charities are unfair to the real voluntary charities. Every peso the state extorts from unwilling individuals is one less peso for a voluntary charity.
Empowering individuals to choose allows for true compassion, which is absent when we are forced to give.
Forced giving is also disrespectful and intolerant. By forcing us to fund causes others think are important, it thwarts our freedom of expression and ability to support causes we judge to be worthwhile.
Unlike church or government charities, the real voluntary charities have strong incentives to be effective. Since they compete with other charities for donations, they must convince potential donors that their cause is worthwhile. Church or government charities need not persuade.
We should envision “an increasingly efficient nonprofit marketplace where donors seek out and compare charities, monitor their performances, and give with greater confidence; nonprofit organizations pursue more effective operating practices, embrace greater accountability, and enjoy lower fund-raising costs; and society benefits from a more efficient, generous and well-targeted allocation of resources to the nonprofit sector.”
So drop the “you’re a bad person for opposing church or government charity” rhetoric and rise to this challenge: If church and government charities are so good, why not let them compete fairly with other charities, do not force these plethora of donations, and let individuals decide for themselves.