Our past, our present, our parents, our children’s potential future!
One year has passed.
Queen Elizabeth the Second passed away on September 8, 2022. I was at school when the students who entered my class gave me the news, which they had become aware of through their cell phones. Even though her passing was not surprising, it still had that shocking effect that one would feel if one senses the stability of one’s surroundings has been threatened. She held the longest verified reign of any female head of state in history, the longest reign of any British monarch, and most importantly, she was our head of state and commander in chief. Her passing was a historical event in its own sad way. Her Majesty had been a part of many people’s and nations’ lives and history, making it always seem impossible to imagine a world without her as the Queen of England.
The world reacted; if not all, at least the majority of the media outlets announced the news of Her late Majesty’s passing. Even the Indigenous people of Canada reacted to it, of course with mixed feelings, but that is not the point. I went to school the next day, Friday, with the expectation that I would hear an announcement from the administrators in the morning about this news. I listened attentively. Nothing. Not a word. I could not believe that this was happening. As usual, I wrote an email to my administrator, providing them with some information, background, and rationale, and asking them to acknowledge this event. I believe it is the students’ right to learn about their country and the important events at school. If not, then what are schools for? ( I am not naive and of course I know better, but I am still hopeful!) The response I received was that the school is awaiting direction from the school board. Not a convincing one, and definitely one that had a nasty smell.
Some other teachers also voiced their concern about this evidently deliberate silence. The school appeared to be disregarding the significance of the Queen’s passing, effectively undermining our system of government. The very systems and institutions that owe their existence to the Education Act, which would not have come into being without the Royal assent, now seemed to feel entitled to omit this news. How abhorrent! I reached out to fellow teachers in other schools and school boards, and found that the approach was the same and some worse. Some administrators berated the teachers who expressed their concerns and emphasized their duty of teaching history and civics. They went so far as to label them as white supremacists—a typical, pathetic, narrow-minded label often bestowed on anyone who disagrees with the dominant narrative!