May 24, 2012
Did you know you can be arrested and jailed for saying “disrespectful” things about the president?
According to a highly-trained education professional teaching “social studies” in the Rowan-Salisbury public schools, North Carolina, you can’t “say things” about the president—although in just about the same breath, she said President George W. Bush was, if you’ll excuse the expression, “sh**ty.” Her tirade was recorded by a student in her classroom, and you can listen to it here.
The Salisbury Post reported last week that the teacher “tells a student he can be arrested for speaking ill of President Barack Obama.” In the interests of truth, we must point out that the teacher, for all her blustering foolishness, did not actually say that. If you listen to the entire recording, almost 10 minutes long, you will not hear her say you can be arrested for dissing the current occupier of the White House.
What she did say—and it’s clear she is fanatically devoted to Obama, even to the point of being emotionally disturbed about it—was this.
“You will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom… As a teacher, I’m not supposed to allow you to disrespect the president of the United States… Do you realize people were arrested for saying things about Bush?” Note that no cops or Secret Service agents burst into the room to grab her when she said President Bush was “sh**ty.”
So the lesson the teacher was teaching was this: it’s a crime to say anything disrespectful about a sitting president.
Gee—if they had arrested every person who said disrespectful things about George Bush, they’d have had to haul in virtually everyone in Hollywood, college professors, and our so-called news media, not to mention left-wing bloggers and classroom teachers. What would make a teacher say something that was so obviously false? And “teach” it as a fact?
Let’s hope she doesn’t teach geography, too. She seems to think North Carolina is part of North Korea.
But there is a bright side to this story. Despite the school’s best efforts to turn them into bigoted dolts, the teenagers in this particular classroom show up as more rational, more fair-minded, more generous, and much more well-informed than their teacher.
The teacher lit the fuse by posting on her blackboard the “fact of the day”--that Mitt Romney was a “bully” in school some 50 years ago (in an incident which the alleged victim’s family says never happened). How did she know it was a fact? “This was in the news the other day,” she explained. So of course it must be true.
Now consider some of the things her students said.
“Didn’t Obama bully somebody, though?” The boy who asked that question must have seen something else that was in the news: Obama volunteering the information that he had once bullied a girl in school. So it was a reasonable question to ask—but it got the teacher’s dander up. In the student’s words, “All I had was a question, and you just freaked out.”
A student remarks, calmly, and accurately, “You’re disrespecting Romney… Obama is no god—he’s just a man.”
The teacher yells at the student. Her grammar is atrocious. In the background you can hear some of the kids laughing. Another student says, “They’re both men [Romney and Obama]. They’re equal. As men they are equal.”
Teacher (angrily and loudly): “No, they’re not!”
Student: “If you’re gonna talk trash about one side, you gotta talk trash about the other.” The teacher maintains that because Obama is the president and Romney “is wanting to be what Obama is,” the ordinary rules of decent fairness don’t apply.
Student: “Whenever Bush was president, everybody talked sh*t about him.”
By then the teacher had lost the argument. Rather than admit the double standard that she had just displayed by her crack about Mr. Bush, she retreats to the flagrantly ridiculous contention that it’s a crime to speak disrespectfully of any president. We are free to doubt her sincerity.
The students pointed out that they do have a Constitutional right to say anything they want about a president, provided they don’t actually threaten him. We hope the teacher is grateful to her students for trying to fill the holes in her understanding of basic civics.
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Critics of homeschooling fail to realize that the quality of instruction offered in the public schools is so abysmal that, in many cases, such as this one, the kids are already homeschooling themselves.
Where did these teens in Salisbury learn about fair play, rational inquiry, and their right to free speech?
Certainly not from their social studies teacher!
UPDATE: The teacher has just been suspended, with pay (it’s always with pay—you don’t want to cheese off the union)—if not for confusing the president with Dear Leader, then for the faux pas of drawing national media attention to her classroom.
© 2012 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com