Thursday, May 20, 2004

Speech is free unless it's critical  

An article by Bill Hill of the Daytona Beach Online describing something you think would be happening in other countries, but not in the good ole US of A. Here's the gist:

"In March 2003, a teenage girl named Courtney presented one of her poems before an audience at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Albuquerque, then read the poem live on the school's closed-circuit television channel.

A school military liaison and the high school principal accused the girl of being "un-American" because she criticized the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failure to give substance to its "No child left behind" education policy.

The girl's mother, also a teacher, was ordered by the principal to destroy the child's poetry. The mother refused and may lose her job.

Bill Nevins was suspended for not censoring the poetry of his students. Remember, there is no obscenity to be found in any of the poetry. He was later fired by the principal".

If that wasn't bad enough -- "After firing Nevins and terminating the teaching and reading of poetry in the school, the principal and the military liaison read a poem of their own as they raised the flag outside the school. When the principal had the flag at full staff, he applauded the action he'd taken in concert with the military liaison."

(Thanks for the tip, Max) Ok, so obviously this will be dealt with in the courts and public opinion, but the sheer fact that these types of things happen on a regular basis is cause for concern. Likewise, that these right wing nutholes continue to act on their fascist passions scares the crap out of me.

Also, teachers "get" the message. Across the nation teachers will be more unwilling for students to engage in any politics or issues either in exploration, reaction, or action out of fear of losing his/her job or merely out of a reluctance to have to "deal with" the reprocussions. Let me go in, teach to the test, get out, and get back to my "real life" and kids; really who needs that crap -- they don't pay me enough -- besides, the college teachers will make them think, that is, if they go to college.

A friend, The editor at Zugernaut, sent along this info if you so feel inclined.

"Here is the Rio Rancho Public Schools website:


Here is their feedback page:


Here is the school board's email:


Rio Rancho High School's principal is named Richard Von Ancken--make that HERR Richard Von Ancken.

Here is the high school's phone and fax numbers:

Phone: (505) 896-5600
Fax: (505) 896-5901

Here is the high school's webmaster address:


Drop them all a line or email, and pass this info along to your friends!!"

Take his advice -- make some poetry and write a letter!

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