How Can the Dr. Seuss Book ‘Yertle the Turtle’ Possibly Be Considered ‘Too Political’ by a Canadian School?
Teachers and management in Prince Rupert, a province of British Columbia, Canada, are currently embroiled in a labor dispute. Now one teacher has been scolded for violating a ban on political messages in schools by having a quote from a Dr. Seuss book visible in her car that was parked on school property.
The quote in question — “I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights” — comes from ‘Yertle the Turtle,’ the story of a turtle who climbs on the backs of others to get a better view.
Dave Stigant, acting director of instruction for the Prince Rupert School District, met with the teacher to discuss what does and doesn’t run afoul of the political message rule. He acknowledges that while the Dr. Seuss line may seem an odd target and was political only in context, his goal is to “protect students” from the bitter labor dispute.
“[Reviewing such quotes is] a good use of my time if it serves the purpose of shielding the children from political messaging,” Mr. Stigant said. “I don’t consider it taking a stand on the dispute. It’s a matter of legality and living up to our obligation to children and their families.”