Sat, Sep 15, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Principal wears dress to support education agenda

BOOK FUROR:A parent of a Heping school student encouraged their own child to wear a dress in support of the principal’s reaction to a book being removed

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer

Male Taipei Heping Experimental Elementary School principal Huang Chih-shun (黃志順) greeted students in a dress as they arrived at school on Thursday morning after reports on Wednesday said that Long An Elementary School in Taipei’s Daan District (大安) had removed the Chinese-language version of David Walliams’ book The Boy in the Dress from its library.

A parent complained about the book, saying it encourages children to “cross-dress,” reports said.

Huang said on Facebook that he wore a patterned dress and stood outside the school’s gate to greet students as they arrived for educational purposes, not to make the news.

Huang said he would not give any interviews because his actions were not a show to please others, but rather the “ordinary job of supporting an educational philosophy.”

A parent of a student at the Heping school wrote on Facebook that upon hearing about Huang’s actions, they encouraged their own child to wear a dress to school in support of the principal and to understand that overcoming stereotypes, prejudices and judgment requires courage.

Each child is a unique individual, the parent wrote.

Those who agree with the attitude expressed at Long An school should be tolerant, allowing all people to contribute to their children’s upbringing, the parent said.

The Boy in the Dress was the first book by comedian and children’s book author Walliams, the book’s Chinese-language publisher, Linking Publishing, said in a statement after the book was removed from the library.

The book is about a 12-year-old boy in an unhappy family who enjoys soccer and fashion, and is one of the best players on his school team, the publisher said.

One day, he wears a dress to school and is kicked off the team.

The book emphasizes mutual respect and teaches children that everyone is unique, it said.

It teaches children to accept differences between themselves and others, and to cultivate understanding and empathy, allowing each child to have a happy life and grow up with confidence, it said.

After reading the book, people understand that the author’s intention is to help readers overcome the misunderstandings that are caused by stereotypes and to learn to respect others, Linking Publishing said, adding that this is also its own intention.

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