Showing Cotton Bolls As Part Of A Lesson On Slavery: OK. Making Black Students PICK Cotton Bolls? Uh, NO. Is This Really A Difficult Line To See?

Apparently so, at least for some members of the teaching profession whose judgment parents are supposed to trust blindly, according to President Biden and others.

Just a few days ago, Ethics Alarms discussed [#3] the vile treatment of a social studies teacher by the San Francisco’s Creative Arts Charter School, which suspended her and forced her to grovel an apology for bringing cotton bolls, into her class as part of a lesson on the cotton gin and its impact on slavery and the Industrial Revolution. Commenter Curmie, a teacher himself, properly condemned the school’s reaction in a post on his own blog, here.

However, a Rochester, NY white middle school teacher told his class of mostly black students to pick seeds out of cotton bolls during his lessons on slavery in a seventh-grade social studies class. In another fun exercise, the same teacher brought in handcuffs and shackles for the black students to put on. White children were allowed to opt out of the cotton-picking, reportedly, while black students were not. When a black child balked at putting on the shackles, the teacher threatened her with punishment.

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The Ethics News Lately Is Sure Giving George Costanza A Workout…

I usually use this video clip…

…from the memorable “Seinfeld” episode where George tries to talk his way out of being fired for having sex with the office cleaning lady on his desk, when someone does something so spectacularly and obviously unethical that it can’t reasonably be called “a mistake.” Lately, stories where George’s query seems appropriate have been an almost daily occurrence…like the high school teacher who accidentally showed porn on the class projector.

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PM Ethics Shadows, 4/12/2022: Civil War Memories, Crazy Climate Change Terrorists, Someone Figures Out That BLM Is A Scam, And More [Corrected]

The Civil War started on this date in 1861, as Southern forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor. That’s about all that needs to be said. All wars are ethics nightmares, but none has had more ethics ramifications for this country, from the lives sacrificed to end slavery, to the war crimes of Andersonville, and the total war tactics of Sherman, to the myriad instances of astounding courage, cruelty and incompetence on the battlefields and the ongoing debate about how best to glean the right ethics lessons from them. (Tearing down statues is not it, though.) The Civil War took away our greatest POTUS, Lincoln, and gave us Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Harrison and McKinley, Civil War veterans all. The one non-veteran in the sequence, Grover Cleveland, is an ethics controversy himself because of it: Grover paid someone else to take his place in the draft. And yet….try asking the nearest college grad to give you the dates of the Civil War. I asked a Cornell law grad and former associate of one of the most prestigious law firm in the nation once.
She guessed “Somewhere in the 1930s, right?”

1. I’ll take “Unethical environmental fanatic nutballs, Alex!” Adbusters, a self-described “international collective of artists, designers, writers, musicians, poets, punks, philosophers and wild hearts” posted instructions on how to deflate the tires of “rich people’s” gas-powered vehicles. [Pointer: JutGory] “Wedge gravel in the tire valves, leaflet the SUV to let them know the tires are flat and why it was done, and walk away. It’s that simple,” the group said in a tweet. The group cautioned “to avoid targeting vehicles with disabled stickers or hangers.” That’s considerate of them…

This is what climate change hysteria does to people who lack ethics alarms. Here’s what they want you to leave on the windshield when you disable a car:

2. Good. Now what took you so long? On the Huffington Post, progressive opinionater Stephen Crockett authored a rueful essay bemoaning the fact that Black Lives Matter is apparently a racket. (Please note that this space figured that out years ago, and it wasn’t hard.)

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Tuesday Ethics Afterthoughts, 3/29/2022: A Cheat Sheet, Mask Mayhem, And More

(THERE IS NO GOOD GRAPHIC FOR “AFTERTHOUGHTS”)

The 29th is another of those ill-starred days in U.S. ethics, topped off in 1973 by the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, the half-way war that was an ethics train wreck for decades. Two years earlier, on the same date, Lt. William L. Calley was found guilty of premeditated murder by a U.S. Army court-martial at Fort Benning, Georgia. Calley, a platoon leader, had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians including women and children on March 16, 1968. Ten years before Calley’s conviction, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War II. They were executed in 1953, a flashpoint in the schism between the American Left and Right that still is a sore point. (Ethel appears to have been a genuine villain.)

1. I thought this was a hoax. It’s not, unfortunately: someone got a photo of the cheat cheat for “talking points” that President Biden was holding when he massacred his explanation for his Russian regime change outburst in an exchange with Peter Doocy.

This does not fill me with confidence. You? The ethical value at issue is competence.

2. The propaganda and misinformation continues. Though some recently departed here could never grasp it, honest and trustworthy newspapers shouldn’t be publishing falsity and partisan propaganda in house opinion pieces. That’s when the opinion is offered using misleading or incomplete facts—deceit–and the New York Times does it almost every day. I can’t trust a group of editors who permit that. Examples:

It’s incredible how quickly we’ve normalized the fact that the last president tried to retain power despite losing the election and that a mob he incited stormed the Capitol. Many people took part in the effort to overturn the election — among them, we recently learned, the wife of a sitting Supreme Court justice, who hasn’t even recused himself in cases about the attempted coup.

The President in question wanted to challenge the results of an election he believed was the result of illegal manipulation, and as President, he had a duty to do that. I know Krugman isn’t a lawyer, but incitement is a term of art and a crime, and Trump did not “incite a mob” by addressing a crowd. Saying Justice Thomas “hasn’t even” recused himself because of the completely legal communications of his wife falsely implies that doing so is required or the justification for him to do so is undeniable. It isn’t. Editors should not allow such deliberately confusing and misleading opinion material Continue reading

When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring: The South Dakota Teacher “Dash for Cash”

Hey, how about this? Let’s make our underpaid school teachers scrounge for dollar bills on their knees to amuse the crowd! What do you think?’

Someone really said that, or something similar, in a team promotion brain-storming session for The Sioux Falls Stampede, a junior league hockey team in South Dakota. And apparently everyone loved the idea, because they did it! As what was advertised as the first of many”Dash for Cash” attractions between periods in their home games, the team dumped $5,000 in $1 bills on a carpet at center ice and invited ten hockey helmet-wearing teachers from local schools to fight for the bills as fans cheered the degrading spectacle….

Teachers cash

The teachers’ hauls ranged from $378 to $616.

Videos of the educators stuffing cash into their shirts and pockets spread on social media over the weekend, and the reaction was…not good.

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Ethics Quiz: The Perfect Murder Assignment

lamb murder

“Ick” or ethics? This recurring question seems to be at the core of a controversy at Central Valley High School in Spokane, Washington. Ninth graders in a language arts class were instructed to compile the components of the “perfect murder.”

The assignment read, in part:

“Turn the following into real sentences and put them in a paragraph briefly explaining, ‘the perfect murder.’ Items should appear in your paragraph according to the order of importance. There are 10 ideas here, so if you remove one you have to add an idea of your own.

  1. It should be easy to arrange.
  2. It should leave no clues.
  3. There should be no noise.
  4. It should look like suicide.
  5. It should take place in a lonely, isolated place.
  6. It should not be cheap.
  7. No violence should be necessary.
  8. It should look like an accident.
  9. It should be quick.
  10. The murderer should have a good alibi.”

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Your Child’s Teacher Might Be An Idiot If…

Poster

…this poster is hanging in the classroom. Is there any “might” about it? Well, it’s possible that the teacher knows most of the bumper-sticker platitudes on the poster are naive, misleading, simplistic to the point of uselessness and actively suffocate critical thinking, but they are part of a loose conspiracy determined to breed Marxism, or maybe just stupidity, which is to Marxist indoctrination what agar is to bacteria, in our rising generations.

That fatuous list of virtue-signaling blather is being sold on T-shirts, stickers, posters, mugs, kids’ T-shirts and masks, and could stand as Exhibit A to prove the proposition that any parent who doesn’t drop in on their child’s classroom to see what kinds of propaganda is being force-fed there is lazy, irresponsible, and partially responsible for the rapidly spreading cultural, intellectual and ethical rot spreading over the land.

The nine progressive spit-bubbles above also turn up on lawn signs in my neighborhood. That’s fine: if adults want to signal they are squishy-brained moron, that’s a public service, and if they choose to train their children to think the Care Bears are profound, well, those kids’ DNA is probably pretty wan anyway. But teachers openly promoting such stuff as “truth” or worse, wisdom, is a hair from child abuse, and maybe not even a hair. I am going to begin advocating that all teacher interviews include the questions,

  • “Do you but, wear anything with these statements on them? Why?”
  • “Would you display such messages in your classroom?”
  • “Taking each of the statements individually, please explain how they are overly simplistic or inappropriately political in nature, or why you think they are not.”
  • “If you had such messages posted in your classroom, would you object to a parent of one of your students see it?”
  • “If a parent objected to the display, how would you respond?’

Let’s examine those nine assertions. One, “Kindness inspires,” is unobjectionable. As for the rest,

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For Ethics Alarms, The Controversy Over The Unmarried Pregnant Art Teacher Is An Easy Call

pregnant teacher

I lost an ethics training client over the issue now raising its ethically-muddled head in New Jersey. Several years ago, during a day long seminar I taught for a teachers association, I stated that a teacher who taught grade school, middle school of high school students while pregnant and unmarried was harming her students, and that responsible school were ethically entitled to make pregnancy outside of marriage grounds for dismissal. Literally all of the attendees were outraged (even the two men in the group), though none could articulate a valid argument against what I said. (“The right to choose!” is not a valid argument in this context.)

I was right, they were wrong. The controversy now over a Catholic school art teacher who is demanding that she should have been able to keep her job despite being pregnant is much easier, or should be.

Victoria Crisitello was an art teacher at the New Jersey’s St. Theresa elementary school in Kenilworth. In the course of negotiating for a raise, she mentioned that she was having a baby. Weeks later, she was fired by the principal, a Roman Catholic nun, who explained that she was being terminated “because she was pregnant and unmarried.” “Sex out of wedlock violates a fundamental Catholic belief that the school in this instance felt it could not overlook,” lawyers for St. Theresa’s wrote in a petition to the state Supreme Court. Crisitello’s lawsuit was tossed out by two trial court judges, only to be restored each time when an appeals court sided with the ex-teacher. Now the state’s highest court, acting on an appeal by the school, has agreed review the case, which raises the continuing thorny question about the relationship between the government and religion.

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The Teacher, The Toilet, And Signature Significance

In Little Rock, Arkansas, Ashley Murry’s 5-year-old son told her that after a toilet clogged following his use of it, his teacher ordered him stick his hand in the toilet and remove his feces and the dirty tissue. Murry’s son is a kindergartener at Crystal Hill Elementary School. The mother reacted to his report by filing a complaint with the school, pulling him out of the class, and posting the story on social media.

The Pulaski County Special School District began “an investigation” while the teacher was put on administrative leave. The teacher attempted to patch things up by calling Murry and saying that she knew she was wrong. She also explained to the principal that she was only trying to teach the child not to use too much toilet paper so that the school toilets wouldn’t get stopped up.

See? Her intentions were good! Nonetheless, the child’s mother says the teacher needs to be fired, because “you don’t treat kids like this.”

Observations:

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Unethical Quote Of The Week: Deyate Hagood’s Zoom High School Economics Class

“What that nigga want God? Word up, look out for the cops…Word up, two for fives over here baby. Word up, two for fives them niggas got garbage down the way, word up.”

—-Lyrics in “Cash Rules Everything Around Me,” performed by Wu-Tang Clan ,in one of two rap videos that formed the basis of an economics class taught by Deyate Hagood, a social studies teacher at A-TECH High School.

For the uneducated, “Two for fives” is a 90s’ term for crack cocaine sales, meaning “two vials for five dollars.”

When a Queens mom working at home heard this and another equally vulgar rap video taking up the bulk of her son’s Zoom economics class on “money, power and respect,” she snapped. The woman, whose name is being withheld because she fears retribution against her or her son, grabbed her son’s laptop and shouted at Deyate Hagood, the social studies teacher at A-TECH High School in Williamsburg, saying…

“You honestly ought to be motherfucking embarrassed. Disgusting! You have rap videos using N-words, talking about whores and bitches and selling drugs. I’m working from home, and this is what I’m hearing my kid in his senior year learning in class?”

Indeed it was. “I’ve had to watch my high-school senior spend an entire year at home in isolation while receiving a very limited education,” said the Queens mother, an executive assistant with a younger son in middle school. She told the New York Post that her 12th-grader did not have a book or syllabus for the economics class. Her son reported that Hagood usually showed videos. In the second rap video played that day in Hagood’s class, a prostitute in black lingerie “sings,”  “First you get the money. Then you get the muthafuckin’, power. After you get the fuckin’ power muthafuckas will respect you.”

Nice!

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