Subject: Fundies Attack Hand-Puppet
Date: 25 Mar 91 20:53:32 GMT
From the 25 March 1991 San Jose Mercury News...
PUMSY IGNITES PROTEST
(there is a picture of a dragon hand-puppet with the caption:
"Pumsy, the dragon hand-puppet used to promote self-esteem among
elementary-school students, is prompting protests by Christian
fundamentalist parents in Madera.")
PARENTS RALLY, PULL KIDS FROM CLASS
MADERA (AP) -- Pumsy, a blue hand-puppet dragon created to help improve
a child's self-image, has sparked a roar of protest in this San Joaquin
Valley farming community.
"This program leads children astray because it is teaching them that
they don't need God in their lives -- that they can solve problems
without God's help," said the Rev. Roger Leach of Valley West Christian
"Pumsy in Pursuit of Excellence," a self-esteem program aimed at
second-, third- and fourth-graders, was designed to teach young students
to deal with problems.
But Christian fundamentalist parents began taking children out of the
classrooms, eventually withdrawing 15 of the 500 students enrolled, and
religious groups started rallying against Pumsy.
Charges of mind control, hypnosis and secular humanism forced district
officials to halt the program and investigate last fall.
The school board reinstated Pumsy this month, but the controversy may
undercut the program, used in more than 12,000 elementary schools
"I would bet money that no other teacher is going to teach it,"
counselor Michael Daniel said.
The program was designed by Jill Anderson of Oregon, who says Madera
is the first district to pull it.
"It's a censorship issue when Pumsy is pulled from a classroom," she
The program is a combination of reading about Pumsy and her friends,
singing songs and discussing situations Pumsy gets into. Throughout
the course, letters are sent to the parents explaining current Pumsy
"I thought it was a terrific program," Daniel said. "It presented self-
esteem in a very concrete way."
Even after the course ended, teachers said students were using lessons
learned through Pumsy to deal with other classroom issues.
But opponents say the Pumsy program goes against their religious beliefs
because it teaches self-sufficiency.