It is no secret that I am a political partisan. It is also no secret that I am a social studies teacher. That said, I go to great lengths to keep my politics out of my classroom. How successful am I? Four years ago I taught a lesson on the two major presidential candidates a few days before the election. I refused to tell my students who I was going to vote for -- and had them write down who they thought I would vote for. The results were surprising, even to me -- the students split almost evenly in whether I would vote for Obama or McCain, with a significant minority being unsure. I call that fairness and balance.
It begins with a classroom conversation about a recent news story detailing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney allegedly bullying a classmate in prep school. It turns into a heated, sometimes confrontational debate.
One student asks, “Didn’t Obama bully someone though?”
The teacher responds: “Not to my knowledge.”
In response to the Romney story, conservatives have recently been pointing to a passage in Obama’s book, “Dreams from My Father,” in which the president writes that while in grade school he shoved a little girl, the only other black student in his grade, after other students called him her boyfriend.
When the student tells the teacher that Obama admitted to bullying a girl in school, the teacher goes on the defensive.
“Stop, no, because there is no comparison,” she says. Romney, she says, is “running for president. Obama is the president.”
When the student says they’re both “just men,” the teacher continues to argue that Romney, as a candidate for president, is not to be afforded the same respect as the president.
The teacher tells the class Obama is “due the respect that every other president is due.”
“Listen, let me tell you something, you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom,” she says.
The student replies that he’ll say what he wants.
“Not about him you won’t,” the teacher says.
Later in the conversation, the teacher tells the class it’s criminal to slander a president.
“Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush?” she says of former President Bush. “Do you realize you are not supposed to slander the president?”
The student responds by saying being arrested for talking badly about the president would violate the right to free speech.
“You would have to say some pretty f’d up crap about him to be arrested,” he says. “They cannot take away your right to have your opinion. … They can’t take that away unless you threaten the president.”
This is a teacher whose job includes teaching students about the rights they have under the constitution. She clearly does not know what they are. Her attack on a student who would dare be critical of the president is also beyond the pale.
And no, nobody was arrested for saying bad things about George W. Bush. In fact, those who did so became cultural heroes -- don't you remember that "dissent is the highest form of patriotism" and that Cindy Sheehan was treated as some sort of demigod by those opposed to Bush and his policies?
Tanya Dixon-Neeley needs to be fired from her job in
South North Carolina. Then she can take the position currently available as a social studies teacher at Kim Jong-Il High School in the North Korea independent School District, where her rant about it being illegal to criticize Dear Leader would be accurate.
UPDATE -- As they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
A teacher at a Rowan County school has been suspended after getting national attention for a YouTube video video that surfaced last week showing her yelling at her students, saying it’s wrong to criticize the president.
Unfortunately, it is with pay. But that isn't a bad thing -- any investigation of a teacher misconduct always begins with a suspension with pay pending a fuller investigation. I would not be surprised to see further personnel action taken -- which could include a suspension without pay or termination.
And let me be clear -- I do not want this woman fired because of her politics. As a teacher who publicly expresses political opinions on this blog (and some controversial ones at that) and who has been targeted by local Leftists for doing so, I want to see this woman's First Amendment rights protected and respected. My objection is her obvious lack of competence in her teaching field and her abuse of a student for daring to make truthful statements as part of a class discussion.