(From HSW) Confucius once said that educators and teachers should provide education for all people without discrimination. However, a primary school in Xi’an goes the opposite to make underachieving students wear green scarf to distinguished themselves from their normal red scarf peers. (Elementary students in mainland China are required to wear red scarf as a symbol young pioneers for the Party.)
“You didn’t study well and wears green scarf, I am the real Red Scarf.” Two kids were fighting after school. Parent who came to pick up his child with a green scarf was embarrassed. Ms. Su felt strange when her daughter came home last Friday wearing a green scarf. Ms. Su’s daughter in Grade 1 studies hard but her scores still came off below average. Her daughter said that the green scarf was from the school, half of the class got it.
“Other students are wearing red scarf, I don’t like to wear green, but if I don’t I would be criticized by my teachers.” According to a Grade 1 student, mischievous and underachieving students are required to wear a green scarf in and out of the school, otherwise they would be called names in the class by the teachers. Many kids took the green scarf off and put it in their bags right after they walked out of the school gate.
“Kids though still very young, has their self-esteem. They know what the green scarf means even if nobody says anything. We are always told that red scarf is a corner of our red flag, a symbol of young pioneer, now what role does this green scarf play?” Ms. Su said the school is weird to put forth such requirement without any prior discussion with parents, and it would create psychological scars for kids.
But the school claims that the aim of the practice is to motivate underachieving students to work harder and upgrade themselves to red scarf. Teacher Mr. Feng explained: “We didn’t expect parents to disagree with the green scarf method. For students in Grade 1, there are two semesters for them to join the Young Pioneer. Normally students with good grades will have the priority to join, the rest will get their scarf next semester. But some parents said their kids were unhappy about not having a scarf like others, so we give them green scarf for the time being. The intention is to encourage them to work harder and strive for the red scarf next time.”
Xu Jianguo, chair man of Xi’an Education Association said that although the intention of the green scarf is to motivate kids, it also classifies kids into different levels which not only influence their appreciation of the true meaning of red scarf but also bad for their self-esteem.
Green scarf was also seen in schools in Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan before, as a preparation method for students who haven’t join the Young Pioneer yet. But such practice has been suspended since red scarf has significant meaning.