Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the YouTube video in which you can listen in as a Salisbury, N.C., public high school teacher berates and bullies students critical of Barack Obama is the absolute ignorance displayed by the instructor.
I invite you to listen in if you can stand it. (Be advised, some of the language used is vulgar.)
That the school district is protecting her with anonymity is a scandal. Government schools should not be political indoctrination centers for captive audiences of impressionable young minds.
The unnamed teacher tells a student he can be arrested for criticizing Obama – and suggests some were arrested for criticizing his predecessor, George W. Bush.
This sounds like a teacher with big problems – the kind who simply doesn’t belong in a classroom.
Not only are her facts wrong, but her diction is an embarrassment. She yells at the students who hold a different political opinion. She suggests Americans have no right to “disrespect” a sitting president. When she is challenged repeatedly by students with a different political viewpoint, she repeats her argument over and over again.
The school district says the teacher has not been suspended for disciplinary reasons – even while admitting, in a written statement, that the interaction was inappropriate: “The Rowan-Salisbury School System expects all students and employees to be respectful in the school environment and for all teachers to maintain their professionalism in the classroom. This incident should serve as an education for all teachers to stop and reflect on their interaction with students. Due to personnel and student confidentiality, we cannot discuss the matter publicly.”
The discussion, likely captured by a cell phone, begins with a 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. The incident was presented by the teacher as her “fact of the day.”
One student asks, “Didn’t Obama bully someone though?”
The teacher responds: “Not to my knowledge.”
The student was likely referring to an incident revealed 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 that 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.”
Another disturbing aspect of the recording is the language used by students and the teacher in the classroom.
At one point a student says, “Whenever Bush was president, everybody talked sh-t about him.”
To which the teacher responded: “Because he was sh-tty.”
Maybe more students should keep their cell phone recorders on while inside classrooms so parents can see and hear what their children are listening to while under the care of the state.