The easiest place to render oneself disconsolate regarding the pit of warped values we must send our public school children into every day is Fark.com, which cheerily documents the child predators in the teaching ranks and their exploits. Let’s see, I haven’t checked in a while…I wonder what the tally is for February? Hey, February’s a light month! I have to go all the way back to the 19th to find the first, LaShawn Simmons, a 41-year-old former Pasadena middle-school math teacher who had sex with four students. She’s charged with sexual assault of a child, two counts of improper relationship between an educator and a student, online solicitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.
Actually, February was a terrible month to go to school, just not one with a bumper crop of child-molesting teachers. For example, in Port St. Lucie, Florida, we had a female teacher who didn’t have sex with a male student, she only purchased drugs from him and went drinking with him. It would be hard to top the teacher who poured pencil shavings in the special ed student’s mouth (and who wasn’t fired), but I think the Linden, California gym teacher who was caught on video stealing money from her students’ backpacks gets the prize. She was caught when a suspicious student and aspiring Nancy Drew hid in a locker to see if she could solve a string of thefts, and recorded the teacher’s larceny on her phone. It gets worse: when she brought the video to the attention of the principal, he told her to destroy the evidence. Luckily, she had already sent the video to her father.
What has the student, Justine Betti, learned from this episode? She has learned that institutions often close ranks to protect their own, not those they are supposed to serve. If she had followed the principal’s directive, what would have happened then? As it is, the school is “investigating” and the thieving teacher has only been put on administrative leave. Justine knows now not to trust her teachers and administrators, at least I hope she does—especially if either the gym teacher or the conniving principal are still working there a month from now. (By the way, you readers who are constantly chiding me about my frequent failure to use the term “alleged,” news reports on this story routinely said that the video showed the teacher “allegedly stealing.” That’s nonsense. The video showed the teacher taking money from students’ backpacks. There was nothing alleged about it. It wasn’t alleged, it was recorded.)
Or, perhaps Justine has learned that the whole purpose of authority is to use it as an opportunity for enrichment. We shall see how corrupting this experience was, won’t we?
It’s fair to say, I think, that 14-year-old Michael McIntyre wasn’t corrupted by the experience of having his teacher tell him that he would be suspended if he didn’t turn his T-shirt with a U.S. Marines logo on it inside-out. He merely learned that he was being instructed by an idiot, and will presumably be wary of future insructors. This won’t help his education any, but might protect his values from people like the teacher, Karen Deverell, who believed the interlocking rifles on the shirt violated the school’s dress code. That code commands that “Student dress…may not advertise, promote, or picture alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, violent behavior, or other inappropriate images.” You see, Deverell, who is typical of a lot of the people, including too many journalists and elected officials in high places driving the anti-gun hysteria now running rampant, apparently believes that the mere picture of a gun is the equivalent of violence, and that references to the armed services are “inappropriate.”
By all means, I’d trust her judgment in instructing my children.
Deverell is just one dumb and biased teacher, however: at least her superintendent backed the student. In Texas, 80% of the public schools apparently follow curriculum plans that require that teachers teach “both sides” of the World Trade Center bombing and must call the terrorists “freedom fighters.” This is just one of the features of the infamous CSCOPE curriculum, which carries a leftist political agenda, all the better to indoctrinate your child with.
Oh, there was lots more mirth and mayhem in the schools this month: a substitute teacher who thought first graders were ready to play “The Sandy Hook game,” with him playing the shooter; the history teacher who lassoed a seventh grader around the neck. Remember, these are only the tales from February, and its a short month.
Who is at fault for this? We are, of course: for not reading our children’s textbooks, for trusting phony and falsely credentialed professionals, for entrusting the minds and bodies of our children with untrustworthy people we do not know, for being so busy and self-involved that we are willfully blind to dangers and trends that we would rather not know about, because then we would have to do something about them, or, more likely, feel guilty about doing nothing.
Pointer: One of the helpful commenters: I lost the e-mail. Thanks, whoever you were.