With Veterans Day right around the corner, Scholastic did a fabulous feature in their "Let's Find Out" weekly take home pages about a war veteran who is helped by a support animal, Benjamin:
Unfortunately, it's one take-home flier that I won't be able to use with my students.
You see, my Stars' parents are United States soldiers, several of them either deployed or soon-to-be to places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Seeing photographs of a man injured in war hits too close to home, and my young students (and possibly their at-home parents) will not interpret the wonderful images or informative text the same way "civilian" children and families might.
Seeing Benjamin's photo on the front of the flier, I was tempted to put it in my students' mailboxes without worry, but something told me to look inside. I'm glad I did, because the emotional sensitivity of the students I teach must be taken into serious consideration because of the lifestyle they live: their parents leave them for months or a year at a time to travel and work in very dangerous parts of the world. Daddy or Mommy getting shot or blown up by an IED is a very real possibility for these five and six year olds. As their teacher, it's my job to be protectively selective.
Teacher tip: Know your students and their families, and know what you're sending home to them. Even the most responsible and trusted of publishers might share features that are inappropriate for the students you teach.