At St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School, Mrs. Graves’s kindergarten class was fairly unanimous in their disapproval.
“Zombies are just one big cootie,” says Stephanie, her freckled nose crinkling.
“Zombies are slow and ugly and not so smart,” observes Michael.
“They make me want to throw up,” confesses Kelly-Anne, shaking her young head sadly.
Things weren’t much different at Mrs. Matseyve’s first grade class at the Upper West Hebrew Academy.
“Everybody hates zombies. They’re gross!” states Tamar emphatically.
“Maybe if they looked nicer and didn’t try to eat you, people wouldn’t run away from them so much,” suggests Dvorah-Leah.
“They make creepy moany noises,” observes Rivki, her face in a frown. “Nobody likes that, especially at night.”
The second grade children at P.S. 6 did not diverge from what was fast becoming almost a mantra among the youngest amongst us.
“I wish they would just go away. I’m bored of all the zombie stuff!” exclaims Madison.
“Zombies are icky. Vampyres are much better,” admits Claire.
How is it that such a profound prejudice is ingrained in our children at such a young age?
We asked clinical psychologist and misozombia  expert Aaron David Shtarben, Psy.D, at Bellevue Hospital Centre in Manhattan.
“What we’re seeing more and more in young children,” Dr. Shtarben says, “is something much greater than a normal and healthy wariness of the living dead. We’re observing behaviour and speech consistent with an almost pathological fear and an intense hatred far out of proportion to the danger actually posed to children.”
Dr. Shtarben indicates that such deep-seated ‘fear and loathing’ of zombies among children is spreading rapidly through our culture and shows little sign of abating.
How can we stop this? Some experts have proposed a possible solution.
“Parents should be particularly careful in projecting a fair and balanced image to their children,” advises child psychiatrist Dr. Isaac Nifter of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “Especially when children are at a young and impressionable age, it is incumbent upon the parents to ensure that negative stereotypes aren’t imprinted on their children’s minds. And this goes double when talking about the Life-Challenged.”
As the old song goes, you’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.
Back at the Upper West Hebrew Academy, I spoke with a Junior Kindergarten student, 4-year-old Rachel. “They’re schtunky!” she giggles, her little fingers covering her wide smile, her twinkling blue eyes barely concealing the venom and vitriol bubbling within her, just under the surface.
To see such unbridled abhorence in one so young chilled this writer to the bone.
 Misozombia: An intense dislike, hatred, disgust or aversion regarding zombies. This is not to be confused with Zombiphobia: An abnormal or pathological fear of zombies. For more zombie-related words and expressions, see The Zombie Lexicon: A Living Dead Language Guide.