From A School Superintendent, Authentic Frontier Gibberish And More Evidence Of Why Our Children Are In Trouble.

A nice, smart, passionate, and painfully progressive Facebook friend posted this letter with approval on his page. It was originally written and posted by a superintendent in Voorheesville in upstate New York, and has been circulating on social media for all the wrong reasons. The letter was directed to “All teachers and parents.”

I’ll have some observations at the end, if I can control my gag reflex.

Dear Friends and Colleagues: I am writing today about the children of this pandemic. After a lifetime of working among the young, I feel compelled to address the concerns that are being expressed by so many of my peers about the deficits the children will demonstrate when they finally return to school. My goodness, what a disconcerting thing to be concerned about in the face of a pandemic which is affecting millions of people around the country and the world. It speaks to one of my biggest fears for the children when they return. In our determination to “catch them up,” I fear that we will lose who they are and what they have learned during this unprecedented era. What on earth are we trying to catch them up on? The models no longer apply, the benchmarks are no longer valid, the trend analyses have been interrupted. We must not forget that those arbitrary measures were established by people, not ordained by God. We can make those invalid measures as obsolete as a crank up telephone! They simply do not apply. When the children return to school, they will have returned with a new history that we will need to help them identify and make sense of. When the children return to school, we will need to listen to them. Let their stories be told. They have endured a year that has no parallel in modern times. There is no assessment that applies to who they are or what they have learned. Remember, their brains did not go into hibernation during this year. Their brains may not have been focused on traditional school material, but they did not stop either. Their brains may have been focused on where their next meal is coming from, or how to care for a younger sibling, or how to deal with missing grandma, or how it feels to have to surrender a beloved pet, or how to deal with death. Our job is to welcome them back and help them write that history. I sincerely plead with my colleagues, to surrender the artificial constructs that measure achievement and greet the children where they are, not where we think they “should be.” Greet them with art supplies and writing materials, and music and dance and so many other avenues to help them express what has happened to them in their lives during this horrific year. Greet them with stories and books that will help them make sense of an upside-down world. They missed you. They did not miss the test prep. They did not miss the worksheets. They did not miss the reading groups. They did not miss the homework. They missed you. Resist the pressure from whatever ‘powers that be’ who are in a hurry to “fix” kids and make up for the “lost” time. The time was not lost, it was invested in surviving an historic period of time in their lives—in our lives. The children do not need to be fixed. They are not broken. They need to be heard. They need be given as many tools as we can provide to nurture resilience and help them adjust to a post pandemic world. Being a teacher is an essential connection between what is and what can be. Please, let what can be demonstrate that our children have so much to share about the world they live in and in helping them make sense of what, for all of us has been unimaginable. This will help them– and us– achieve a lot more than can be measured by any assessment tool ever devised. Peace to all who work with the children!Being a teacher is an essential connection between what is and what can be. Please, let what can be demonstrate that our children have so much to share about the world they live in and in helping them make sense of what, for all of us has been unimaginable. This will help them– and us– achieve a lot more than can be measured by any assessment tool ever devised. Peace to all who work with the children!

Observations:

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Weird Tales Of “The Great Stupid”: Another Kid Is Suspended Because A Teacher Saw A BB Gun In His Home

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What are normal, reasonable people who are concerned about the shrinking liberties around them to do?

(I don’t have an answer right now, but that is the urgent question episodes like the ones described in this post raise.)

In 2020, I’ve written about two head-exploding stories involving innocent children forced by their school’s hysteria over the Wuhan virus to allow Big Brother’s eyes into their homes, and who found themselves being demonized and punished because of the completely legal and harmless items a teacher saw there.

First there was the asinine June incident in Baltimore County Maryland, where a 5th grade teacher at the Seneca School saw a BB gun hanging on the wall in an 11-year-old student’s bedroom. She took a screenshot of the child’s room, then notified the principal, who alerted the school safety officer, who called the police. They, in turn, made an unannounced visit to the student’s home.

At least they didn’t kneel on his neck. “I feel like parents need to be made aware of what the implications are, what the expectations are,” the child’s mother, a military veteran, told reporters. “No,” Ethics Alarms concluded, “Parents need to tell schools, administrators and teachers, what parents will tolerate, and the public education system needs a thorough upgrade and overhaul.”

Then, in September, we discussed an even more ridiculous episode. Colorado seventh grader Isaiah Elliott was attending on online art class when a teacher spied Isaiah’s  toy gun, a neon green and black plastic “weapon” with an orange tip and the words “Zombie Hunter” printed on the side. The teacher notified the school principal, and the school called the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, which conducted a welfare check on the boy without calling his parents first. Isaiah, meanwhile, was suspended for five days. The conclusion here on that fiasco:

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“Systemic,” A Four Part Ethics Alarms Depression, Part II: Now THIS Is Systemic Racism!

Love is Love

Once again, I don’t understand how this episode could happen. But let me back up.

Today, while walking my dog on a glorious fall day in Alexandria Virginia, and observing the odd juxtaposition of virtue-signaling lawn signs, Biden-Harris signs and Halloween decorations (Spuds was quite unsettled by 8 foot standing models of a ghoul and his love wearing Trump and Melania masks), I passed one neighbor with a lawn sign grand slam: a Biden sign, the thing above, a straight Black Lives Matter sign, and a sign that read, “End Racism Now!”

I already noted the questions I would like to ask anyone with the BLM sign here. The virtue-signaling extravaganza above is almost too easy, since it’s one flaccid, intellectually lazy generalization without substance after another, and to my mind, is signature significance for a dolt. (“Love is Love, for example,is Rationalization  23 A. Woody’s Excuse: “The heart wants what the heart wants”)

But what precisely is the entreaty “End Racism Now” demanding? It appears to contradict Black Lives Matters, which involves demonizing whites and white society, as well as requiring an end to race-based preferences. What is racism? If it’s an attitude, the sign seems to be advocating brain-washing, indoctrination and re-education camps. If the sign refers to conduct, then I need a definition. Many “systemic racism” complaints consist of African Americans preferring to have “someone who looks like me” on a court, on a board, in a  movie cast. Isn’t a preference for those who are like us one of the definitions of racism being advanced? (It’s not racism, or if it is, it’s racism for anyone, not just whites.)

This story, however, is an example of racial discrimination oozing from racism, and not only should we be able to end such incidents now, I’m stunned that this kind of conduct hasn’t been wiped off the face of the U.S. map.

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Comment Of The Day: “Ten Questions About The Lakewood High School Football Game Incident”

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Once again, as I can’t resist doing periodically, I’m publishing a dinged comment as a Comment of the Day to illustrate the kind of thinking and debating technique that goes on among the addled, biased, and ethics-free.

This one is from someone with the ironic email handle “rightwing moron” (he is, it seems, a “woke” moron) objecting to the position expressed here that schools must not take political positions and inflict them on their students, parents and football game spectators, because doing so is an abuse of position, function and power, and because those who operate schools are (theoretically) trained as educators, not public policy experts and political scientists, and have no right to engage in indoctrination.  I don’t consider that assessment to be seriously debatable, but I am eager to read intelligent, well-argued, articulate and civil attempts.

This is the first of two comments by whoever this jerk is; both violated Ethics Alarms comment standards. The second was more of the same fallacies and typical emotion-based, ignorant reasoning, so it was sent to Spam Hell. Whoever this was didn’t comprehend the essay in question at all. As is usually the case in such screeds (I get a lot of them), the writer presumes that as long as he, she or it agrees with a political view, it is proper and ethical to unilaterally hijack any activity or function to advance it.

I’ll be back briefly at the end to poke some holes, not because any readers of average intelligence won’t see what’s wrong with this mess on their own, but because I enjoy the excercise, like the way I enjoy walking on bubble wrap. I didn’t clean the rant up the way I edit respectable COTDs, because the lack of care the comment exhibits is of a piece with its quality generally.

Here is the Comment of the Day on the post, Ten Questions About The Lakewood High School Football Game Incident”:

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Ten Questions About The Lakewood High School Football Game Incident

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A football game at Lakewood High School in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, was intercepted and run into racial politics and partisan grandstanding territory when a voice over the public address system before the game declares that the school would has designated itself an “agent of change” in the battle against “systemic” racism in “society as a whole.”

After the band played the Lakewood alma mater, it then played “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the so-called “black national anthem,” in imitation of the NFL, which is featuring the song this season as part of its official grovel to Black Lives Matter. The announcer added his commentary about how racist the U.S. is, intoning,

 “Let us pause and reflect on the inequality that our nation has faced since its beginning. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tamir Rice among others remind us of the systemic racism that persists across so many of our nation’s institutions and society as a whole. By acknowledging, discussing, and taking action to address these inequalities, Lakewood City Schools aims to be an agent of change, not only in our community but in the world. We must all take a stand against racism. Let this be the moment when our children someday look back and say, ‘This is when we stood together for change.’”

Sources confirmed that both the school principal and the band director approved the political kick-off.

Despite receiving many complaints from parents and law enforcement over the stunt, the school reportedly will repeat its BLM-themed ritual in  future football games but will remove the names of those killed in encounters with police. Absurdly, the school will read a tribute to first responders at halftime as part of a “compromise” with law enforcement.

The new revised speech will provide context  for “ the black national anthem” explaining  how “Lift Every Voice and Sing” sets “an atmosphere of reverence for the journey of people of color, gratitude for the selfless sacrifices of their ancestors and for the inheritance of indomitability and resilience. The song recognizes these moments as important to moving forward toward hope and faith for a better future and a better America. The song is universally uplifting and speaks to every group that struggles.”

Here are some questions, rhetorical and otherwise:

1. What would you do if your child was involved in a high school sports contest and the school perverted it into a political demonstration? One father who attended the game said afterwards that he would have walked out…if it were not his son’s senior year. Yeah, those are typical priorities all right. It’s an outrage, but not important enough to teach a child that preserving standards and values is more important than a high school football game.

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Big Stupid In Little Miami

In this public school story out of Ohio, the only ones who didn’t embarrass themselves were two suspended students.

When the Little Miami High School football team took the field in the Hamilton Township on September 11, one player carried a Thin Blue Line flag and another a Thin Red Line flag alongside the American flag. The boys, Brady Williams, and Jarad Bentley, were honoring their fathers as well as the first responders in the Twin Towers tragedy. Williams’ father is a police officer, and his son said he wanted to honor all the cops who lost their lives trying to save others on 9/11. Bentley’s father is a firefighter. “If it had been him killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him,” he said.

The gesture got both students suspended indefinitely. Their mistake, according to school officials: asking for permission, and carrying the flags on the field anyway after they were turned down.  “We can’t have students who decide to do something anyway after they’ve been told that they shouldn’t be doing it,” said the school’s athletic director. But why was a gesture of respect to first responders deemed inappropriate on the anniversary of the attacks? The athletic director says he saw the flags as  political, presumably in the context of the George Floyd Freakout.  “We did not want to place ourselves in a circumstance where another family might want a different flag to come out of the tunnel, one that may be [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” he said.

I wonder if a student carrying a Black Lives Matter flag would have been treated as harshly. (No I don’t.) Continue reading

Labor Day Ethics Break, 9/7/2020: Ironically, Somebody Needs To be Fired In All Of These Stories….

1. “Boy, he’s strict!”* Novak Djokovic, the top seeded player, defaulted from the United States Open after the ball he hit toward the back of the court in frustration hit a line judge in the neck. This violated the Grand Slam rule book’s  “physical abuse” provision, which states that players “shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site.” The  fine for this is to $20,000 for each violation of this rule, with the possibility of even more if it is deemed a “major offense.” In a statement, the United States Tennis Association said: “In accordance with the Grand Slam rule book, following his actions of intentionally hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences, the U.S. Open tournament referee defaulted Novak Djokovic from the 2020 U.S. Open. Because he was defaulted, Djokovic will lose all ranking points earned at the U.S. Open and will be fined the prize money won at the tournament in addition to any or all fines levied with respect to the offending incident.”

As I read it, if the ball bounced back and missed the line judge, the rule wouldn’t apply. If it did hit the judge, even though the result was unintentional, then the player gets the full penalty. What a moronic rule! I guess they’ve never heard of moral luck in the tennis world. Either it should be a serious offense to slam the ball anywhere on the court in anger whether someone is hurt or not, or it should be a violation to intentionally harm and official. The rules is incompetent and unethical.

Naturally, none of the stories about the episode point this out.

2. Oh no! Not this again! Seventh grader Isaiah Elliott of the Grand Mountain School just south of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was attending on online art class when a teacher saw Isaiah’s  toy gun, a neon green and black plastic “weapon” with an orange tip, and the words “Zombie Hunter” printed on the side. The teacher, an idiot, hysteric and bully,  notified the school principal, and Isaiah was suspended for five days. The school also called the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a welfare check on the boy without calling his parents first. Here’s the toy:

This is even more idiotic than this story, which was discussed here in June, about the kid whose teacher called the cops on him because she saw his BB gun.

The teacher should be fired and the principal should be fired. Isiah’s parents appear to be raising  hell. Good.  They would be terrible and irresponsible parents if they didn’t. There is an ethical  duty to confront this creeping state child abuse and indoctrination. Continue reading

Fire These Free Speech-Chilling School Administrators

Hannah Watters, a sophomore at North Paulding High School outside Atlanta, took a cell phone photo of her school’s crowded  hallways showing few students wearing masks.  She posted it to social media, and the school suspended her.
Then Hannah’s mother, Lynne Watters, spoke with the school’s principal by phone. The school immediately backed down, and said her daughter  would not be suspended, nor would a suspension  appear on her daughter’s record. That’s nice, but it’s too late. You can’t undue blatant intimidation designed to crush basic rights. The fact that she would be suspended at all, regardless of how long, because the school was embarrassed by its own conduct shows an administration that will abuse its power to cover up its incompetence.

Time to clean house. Fire them all. Continue reading

The Court Ruling I’ve Been Waiting For Since 2011

In a June 30 decision, B.L v. Mahanoy Area School District, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals  ruled that a Pennsylvania  high school violated a cheerleader’s First Amendment rights when it kicked the young woman off the squad for a message she had posted on SnapChat. A distruct court judge had ruled last year for the ex-cheerleader, whose  post pictured the teen and her friend holding up their middle fingers accompanied by the eloquent sentiment , “fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything.” She was  upset because she had only made the junior varsity cheerleading squad, rather than the varsity team.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania argued the case for the girl, so at least sometimes the organization  still puts its partisan politics aside to do its traditional job of looking out for the First Amendment. The group called the ruling a “landmark decision,” finally barring schools from policing students’ off-campus speech using the claim that it might disrupt school activities.

The Supreme Court decision on campus speech, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, did not apply to off-campus speech. Tinker held that student speech could be regulated by schools only if it would substantially disrupt school operations or interfere with the rights of others. That case involved a school disciplining students when they wore black armbands to class as a protest against the Vietnam War.

The 3rd Circuit majority ruled .“We hold today that Tinker does not apply to off-campus speech—that is, speech that is outside school-owned, -operated or -supervised channels and that is not reasonably interpreted as bearing the school’s imprimatur,”

Because the teen’s speech was outside the school context, Tinker did not apply. The cheerleader’s speech “lies beyond the school’s regulatory authority,” the court said.

The ACLU’s  press release stated that the decision was important “because it recognizes that students who are outside of school enjoy full free speech rights, not the diluted rights they have inside the schoolhouse.”

Bingo.

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Zoom Ethics: And You Thought The School Board President Who Had To Resign Because He Drank A Beer In His Home During An Online Meeting Was Crazy…

This is even worse.

The post about the scandalous swig of beer was less than a month ago, but in comparison to the events of the last couple weeks, the Covina, California story doesn’t seem anywhere near as nuts as as it did at the time. Then, Ethics Alarms was concerned with privacy and officious inter-meddlers dictating how citizens get to behave in their own homes. I even called the incident a “freakout”! Now we know what a real freakout looks like.

The poll on whether poor Brian Akers, the ex-president of the Charter Oak Unified School Board who impulsively guzzled a beer while on camera during a remote board meeting was unfairly maligned was pretty decisive:

I won’t bother to poll today’s Zoom ethics story. If I did, my question might be, “How could you justify continuing to let your child go to a school with employees like this?”

In Baltimore County Maryland, a 5th grade teacher at the Seneca School saw a BB gun hanging on the wall in an 11-year-old student’s bedroom.  The Horror. She notified the principal, who alerted the school safety officer, who then called the police, who made an unannounced visit to the student’s home.

The child’s mother, Courtney Lancaster, a military veteran, has extensive knowledge of guns, how to use them and how to store them, and she is ticked-off. Continue reading