Warning – if you are easily offended stop reading now cause I’ve got my soapbox out and we’re fixing to have a rant. Okay, now that the disclaimer has been posted I’m going to continue. The other night I was at my kids’ school for an open house and noticed the two signs pictured to your left posted outside of a few classrooms. I’ve heard the phrase “Safe Space” bantered around in conversation and in various forms of media. I sort of thought it was kind of a myth. I mean the whole idea of an actual safe space one can go to – are we talking about a safe room here? Are we hiding from home invaders? No, apparently it’s just a generic room. Next, I read the secondary sign. Okay, I think to myself, this classroom is a place where all are welcome. My first thought was well that’s nice but then my brain kicked in and it pissed me off.
Why the hell are these signs necessary? Let’s address the signs individually. Safe Space? Are you kidding me? No place is safe – ever. You can trip over your own two feet and bust your lip in said safe space. If no one is in the room to see your trip you’ll still have a physical injury – see not safe. If there are people in the room does anyone actually think someone is not going to point and laugh? If this happens you’ll have an actual physical injury and a very minor emotional injury but again you are injured just the same, are you not? Furthermore, what sort of failure are we setting kids up for by offering them this pretend safe space? The real world does not have safe spaces. When you can’t pay your rent and someone crashes into your car there is no safe space. When the boss yells at you and you come home to find the cat puked in the dead center of the living room there is no safe space. You are supposed to pull your shit together and take care of it. It’s not being mean or unreasonable; it’s called being a grownup human being. A person can go have a moment alone but it’s not a genuinely safe space.
(Insert eye roll) You’re being obtuse on purpose. You know that the safe space sign just means what the bottom sign says. It’s a place of no judgment. No, I’m not being obtuse. and I will again call bullshit. There is absolutely no place under the sun without judgment. Someone somewhere is always judging you. Family, friends, peers, complete strangers are judging. It might be silent judging or judging you’ll never know about but it’s judging just the same. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the IDEA of a judgment free zone. I love it actually. Our world would be a better place if we offered everyone a little bit of grace and forgiveness. But, that is a Utopia for perfect beings and we are SO imperfect. We can try to be inclusive and welcoming. We can try to have an open mind about things and ways which are different from our own. It’s definitely a behavior to strive for. I agree with teaching the kids acceptance of others but to post this sign and act like there can actually be a safe, judgement free place in this world. Why don’t you just pee on their leg and tell them it’s raining?! Also, just curious, does this judgment free zone extend to the bullies? Are we not supposed to judge the bullies? If so I call bullshit on that too. They need to be called out for being assholes.
Finally, what does this say for the classrooms that don’t have the sign? Do the kids at this school think those classrooms are a free for all where they will get thrown under the bus at any moment? I hope the kids don’t think that. I’d like to think no matter if the sign is displayed or not any teacher who catches a kid being judgemental ass will call them on it. It’s called being a good human being. You can throw little catch phrases around like inclusive and judgment free safe space but at the end of the day it all boils down to this phrase: Don’t be a jerk. If everyone practiced being good people and mindful others’ feelings our world would be a better place.