The idea of time travel has captured the imaginations of human beings for about as far back as anyone can remember. Maybe even further back than that, in fact. Perhaps if we had a time machine, would could go back in time and find out. In any case, when people contemplate time travel, it's usually under the assumption that it's completely fictional. It's something that happens in movies, not real life.
This is Stephen Callaghan, a 51-year-old father from Australia. He wrote a letter to his daughter's school, accusing them of causing her to travel through time. But his letter's not quite as crazy as it might sound.
"I must draw your attention to a serious incident which occurred yesterday at your school where my daughter Ruby is a Year 6 student," Callaghan began. "When Ruby left for school yesterday it was 2017 but when she returned home in the afternoon she was from 1968." That's a pretty neat trick, but how is it possible?
"I know this to be the case as Ruby informed me that the 'girls' in Year 6 would be attending the school library to get their hair and make-up done on Monday afternoon, while the 'boys' are going to Bunnings," Callaghan continued. Bunnings is a hardware store that offers DIY classes to kids in school. Because the school insisted on dividing the kids by gender in such a manner, Callaghan said, "Are you able to search the school buildings for a rip in the space-time continuum?"
Callaghan wondered how this could have happened, asking "Perhaps there is a faulty Flux Capacitor hidden away in the girls toilet block?" He concluded by saying, "I look forward to this being rectified and my daughter and other girls at the school being returned to this millenium where school activities are not divided sharply along gender lines." And then he sent off the letter.
However, before sending the letter, he also posted a picture of it on Twitter. And from there, the letter spread across the internet. People were delighted at the whimsical way in which he fought against the school's outdated view of gender roles.
Callaghan said his daughter Ruby wants to be an engineer, and would have preferred the hardware store trip to the makeup tutorial. "She did originally want to go to Bunnings and had asked her male teacher if she could go," he said. "But (she) was told the Bunnings trip was only for the boys."
The main issue that Callaghan and other had with the school's policy is that they were making the kids do one activity or another, without giving them an option. There are female students who would prefer the hardware store, and male students who would prefer the hair and makeup session. But the school felt their gender should make that choice for them.
Other people on Twitter told stories of facing similar restrictions at their schools, based solely on gender. The good news is that this kind of discrimination can be overcome. But the world would be better if it wasn't an issue that had to be dealt with to begin with.
This tweet gave proof of what school really was like in 1968. He said he would have preferred to take home-ec over woodworking, but he was not allowed. Nearly 50 years later, most schools now know better than to divide these classes up by gender.
There were some people on Twitter who insisted, for whatever reason, that their own kids would have chosen activities along gender lines, so there's no reason to be upset. But as this Twitter user pointed out, that's not the point. The point, once again, is the assumption that everyone of the same gender would make the same choice.
After receiving the letter, the school sent out a notice of their own. "Several years ago, the visit to Bunnings replaced the previous boys’ activity," it said. "The school is happy to accommodate any student who prefers the alternative activity."
The school also informed Ruby that, in the future, she'll be allowed to choose whatever activity she would like. So it appears that the school closed off whatever wormhole that existed in the building. From now on, time travelling in the school will be much more difficult.
Callaghan sent out another tweet, saying he doesn't care if people are upset with him for speaking out. He's deeply devoted to making sure his daughters and all women get the same opportunities to do what they love that men get. And he's willing to do anything to get people's attention on this issue...even suggesting the possibility of time travel.