A Stumbling Block to School Administrators

Tuesday, December 15, AD 2009

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  As someone who received an undergraduate degree in the teaching of social studies, I am never very surprised when a school administration decides to engage in an act of public stupidity, however, this incident is in a class all by itself.

A second grade student at the Maxham Elementary School in Taunton, People’s Republic of Massachusetts, was sent home from school after drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross.  The student made the drawing in response to a class assignment that the students draw something that reminded them of Christmas.  Apparently the student’s dullard teacher decided that the drawing of the cross was too violent.  The school administration, in a move which hearkens back to the old Soviet Union placing dissidents in psych wards, decreed that not only would the child be sent home, but that he would have to undergo a psych evaluation.

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17 Responses to A Stumbling Block to School Administrators

  • That’s “The Peoples Republic of Taxachusetts.” Otherwise known as “the Pay State.”

  • Well it’s kind of a happy ending.

    He still had to get a psychiatric evaluation and be approved that he was “sane”.

    He did just that and “passed”.

    He then was so traumatized by the entire incident he didn’t want to return to the same school so the father is petitioning (I think he got approval) for his son to transfer.

    This is very scary. For a school administrator to cater to hate-mongering of an innocent depiction of Jesus’ crucifixion makes my blood boil.

  • I would NEVER take my child to a psychologist over this, but I learned my lesson the hard way. When my son (who was then seven) was having trouble in class, the school wouldn’t do anything until we had a complete evaluation to make sure he didn’t have psychological or emotional problems. My husband and I went for OUR evaluation with the school psychologist (“case history” stuff before he was scheduled for a trip) and were so unimpressed with her that we cancelled his eval and went to our pediatrician instead. Our son didn’t even know anything was going on. Then, when things got really ridiculous (I was observing in the classroom and the teacher was incompetent) I threatened to take him out of school and he was moved immediately. His problems were solved. I learned then not to do ANYTHING the school said (not the lesson they intended to teach) but instead to insist on my child’s rights under the law. And they wonder why parents are antagonistic! Could an 8-year-old be traumatized over this incident? You bet, depending on the kid and on how it was handled. The parents should have had a nice, calm, conversation with the principal and the teacher. And then if that didn’t work, they should simply have said that he would be back in class the next day or the school would hear from their lawyer the next day.

    All schools freak out over violence. When my son was eight he used to draw soldiers, bloody knives, spaceships shooting each other, etc. on his papers. The teachers told us that was “unacceptable” and so just told him that the school was silly about things like that, so he would have to draw those things at home. Don’t ALL little boys draw that stuff? Likewise, same year, he got a discipline point for reading an “inappropriate” book in class. When I asked the teacher what it was, she said it was a book about the Battle of Gettysburg and it had photographs of dead soldiers in it. I told her that he got it from the SCHOOL LIBRARY, so she took the discipline point away — but he still couldn’t read the book in class.

    They are all terrified of boys becoming violent. My kids are now in Catholic school, but they can’t bring in toy guns — even neon-colored plastic squirt guns — for skits and things.

  • It seems like there are plenty of news stories everyday of the public schools doing something not terribly intelligent….

    This has especially been on my mind with kids right around the corner. What a faddish wastebasket of wishful thinking many schools are…..read about the Kansas City case (and New Jersey, for that matter, following the court cases of the 80s) for example.

    What folly!
    http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-298es.html

    What is needed is not more money but better moral foundations.

  • This is the logical result of all those “zero tolerance” anti-violence, anti-sexual harassment, and drug abuse policies that became so popular after Columbine.

    Zero tolerance policies forbidding absolutely ANY word, image, object or action that even hints at violence allow school administrators to APPEAR to be doing something about youth violence, without the bother of actually having to get to know students personally, judge each case individually, or risk being accused of racism or discrimination if the child/youth involved happens to be of a protected minority group.

    The result is that little kids get busted for drawing crucifixes, kissing girl classmates on Valentine’s Day, etc. while outside (or even inside), gang violence, suicide, drug abuse, etc. continue unabated.

    The main reason schools are “terrified of boys becoming violent” is because so many of them HAVE NO FATHERS and therefore no idea how to be real men, except by being the kind of macho jerks they see on TV or in movies.

  • Zero tolerance usually means zero brains. It allows administrators to mindlessly follow policy rather than to make real decisions, which of course is what they are supposed to be doing. True profiles in uselessness.

    I agree that public schools usually have no clue as to how to handle boys who act, well, like boys. A perfect example is a timeout. Most of the time a timeout will simply make an energetic boy bored and hostile. Much better to give him a task to accomplish, especially if it is something physical. Of course this is just common sense knowledge of the differences between girls and boys, something that seems to be verboten in public schools, but which is obvious to most parents who have spent time rearing both boys and girls.

  • I’m not a “rogue parent” at my daughters’ virtual school (where my wife is also a teacher). My emails to their former teacher (who was not accommodating my eldest’s disability) are now being quoted regularly at meetings as signs of a parent to watch out for. The latest suggestion was that parents who challenge “school policy” (which is defined as the whim the principal, a Charlestonian elitist who goes way back with Mark Sanford) could be charged with educational neglect.

  • Well … if you believe every dad trying to horn in on America’s reality tv culture …

  • Having dealt with public schools Todd both as an attorney and as a parent, I readily confess that I am more inclined to believe parents over administrators until the opposite is proven.

  • Well … if you believe every dad trying to horn in on America’s reality tv culture …

    Heard that before.

    http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/2005/11/expelled.html

  • What Mr. McClarey said on Paul Zummo’s Cranky Conservative bears repeating: “The forces of open minded tolerance so often are represented by narrow minded bigots.”

    Quite frankly, I’m surprised “Christmas” was even mentioned, much less had an assignment attached to it.

  • “I readily confess that I am more inclined to believe parents over administrators …”

    It would seem there’s a good bit more to the story than was posted here. What’s still standing today is a he-said/they-said tussle that’s more than two weeks old. The news reports I’ve seen is that the drawing was not the one that got the young lad noticed, that there’s a history with the boy and his family, and that nobody was expelled from school. It would seem enough doubt has been thrown into this story to cause prudent observers to withhold judgment. Clearly, Donald shows us why he stayed at the attorneys’ tables and never ascended to the judiciary bench.

    In my long experience in parishes and schools, I often find that two sides in a dispute often are talking past each other and not even in agreement on the point(s) in question. It’s usually adequate enough to make the communication connection and allow diplomacy to smooth kinks in the relationship.

    What Art seems to be getting at is this: one must agree with him not only on the major points, but on every small detail of politics in situations like these. No room for dissent from the jots and tittles of the Catholic blogetariat.

    I would hold it is possible to be right (pointing out a grave moral or administrative error, for example) but to go about it in the wrong way (producing a forged document, or making oneself a threat–even just a perceived one–to a school administration). Prudence would dictate leaving the judgment to the Judge, and taking necessary precautions for one’s own children, or one’s own morality, depending on the circumstances.

  • “Clearly, Donald shows us why he stayed at the attorneys’ tables and never ascended to the judiciary bench.”

    Actually Todd, that is by choice. The legal profession is not one where all attorneys wish to be judges. Some, as in my case, make it very clear to judges who indicate that we would make a good judge that we do not wish to have to wear a black robe on the job.

    The school administration, after coming under intense media scrutiny yesterday, has a different story from the parent. That is as surprising as the sun coming up in the east or bureaucrats dodging responsibility. This incident in June 2008 indicates to me that bozos are in charge of the Taunton school system and that the parent is probably more accurate:

    “This is not the first time in recent years that a Taunton student has been sent home over a drawing. In June 2008, a fifth-grade student was suspended from Mulcahey Middle School for a day after creating a stick figure drawing that appeared to depict him shooting his teacher and a classmate.

    The Mulcahey teacher also contacted the police to take out charges in the 2008 incident.”

    http://www.tauntongazette.com/news/x1903566059/Taunton-second-grader-suspended-over-drawing-of-Jesus

  • I’ve also read that there was a gun incident in that school district not too long ago. Parents themselves insist that schools be hypervigilant when it comes to the safety of their children. A one-day suspension for a blatant act of insubordination to a teacher … I’m sure you saw enough contempt of court citations in your years in the courtroom. Authority figures take authority very seriously.

    According to you, the school administration was a loser no matter what they did. If they were totally wrong, they could confess or clam up or lie. If they had justification for criticizing the lad, they could either remain silent on the matter and let the conservatives spin it, or they could offer a public rebuttal. By your statement, whether they lied or told the truth, your reaction would be the same.

    The caveat emptor in this case: if something sounds too good to be ideologically true, it probably is. Given how this story is unravelling for the father, I’d say there are a number of media and blog outlets with egg on their faces today.

  • What Art seems to be getting at is this: one must agree with him not only on the major points, but on every small detail of politics in situations like these. No room for dissent from the jots and tittles of the Catholic blogetariat.

    News to me.

    I’ve also read that there was a gun incident in that school district not too long ago.

    So we call the cops over some other kid’s droodles.

  • Part of feminizing men is to make all violence bad because boys tend to violence. Ladies, before you get upset with me, there is nothing wrong with the feminine – I love and respect my beautiful bride and the Blessed Virgin Mary – but women should be women and men should be men – equal in dignity yet different.

    Violence is not necessarily bad, or good. It just is. Drawing a picture of Christ crucified is a picture of violence – what could be more violent than Diecide?
    Mel Gibson’s movie was also violent – too violent for some tastes. Was this bad violence? I don’t think so, the worst evil was also the greatest good. There is nothing wrong with depicting Christ crucified, in fact there is everything right with it, as violent as it is. All men should wish to be Christ on His Cross.

    Boys are violent – boys like guns, swords, fights, tanks, knights, cavalry, shields, war games, etc. and that is as it should be. Our job as a society, and by logical extension our school systems, is to direct and temper that violence – not emasculate it.

    Thank God that the generation born in the 1920s was violent. They went overseas and did some violence to the Nazis – and I am pretty sure we’re all happy with how that turned out.

  • “Our job as a society, and by logical extension our school systems, is to direct and temper that violence – not emasculate it.”

    Which is exactly what a society in which vast numbers of young boys are raised without stable father figures fails to do. Even among animals like elephants, the presence of older males keeps fighting among the younger ones from getting out of hand.

    Was the World War II generation really any more “violent” than we are? I’m not so sure. Yes, boys played with guns, collected toy soldiers, and played cops, robbers, cowboys and Indians and other politically incorrect games. However if you take a look at the movies from that era, even the toughest tough guys like Bogart, Cagney, et al. used far less firepower and killed far fewer bad guys in 10 movies than, say, Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger did in just one.

    Also, Knight, I think you overlook the fact that there are times when women can or must become “violent” in a “good” sense, particularly when defending their children from harm. Again, even among animals, a mother defending her young from real or percieved threat is often far more dangerous than the male.

Well, at Least Spell my Name Right

Tuesday, August 4, AD 2009

Inform

Hattip to DrewM at Ace of Spades HQ.  This from the White House Blog:

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care.  These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation.  Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to [email protected].”

I trust that some of the Obama supporters who frequent our site will draw the attention of the White House to a few of my posts regarding ObamaCare on this blog.  When you do please remember that the last name is spelled McClarey, not McCleery, McClaren, McClary, etc.  Thank you!

Update I: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has some pointed comments here about the sheer political stupidity of the White House making this public call for informants.

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10 Responses to Well, at Least Spell my Name Right

  • Hey, maybe the Obama admin will revise the Homeland Security alerts, now that we know we have nothing to fear from terrorists. Maybe something along these lines:

    Level Red: The Great Leader is more popular than Jesus, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson combined. This is how it should be.

    Level Green: A few grumblings are heard from disgruntled rednecks in fly-over country. Nothing to worry about, really, but keep your eyes open.

    Level Orange: Uh, oh. The peons are doing a lot of grumbling and booing at town hall meetings and there’s a quite a bit of seemingly fishy information (cunningly planted by Fox News) out there on the Net. Couric, CNN, HuffPo, you know what to do.

    Level Purple: Lord, the fish is now a great big dead rotting whale on the WH lawn. Comrades Dowd and Krugman, fire photon torpedoes!

    Level Gray: We’re screwed. We have now crossed the River Styx and are in Jimmy Carter territory.

  • Thank you Donna! That was the funniest bit I’ve read on the net today!

  • There will be some who quickly point out that Bush did the same thing at times. He DID, for instance, ask that truckers keep an eye out for the unusual in their cross country treks.

    But theres a whale of a difference between trying to stop terrorist acts and trying to ferret out political dissenters.

  • Huh… wonder if I can do a diving expedition to the KOS kids’ playground and send in some of their defenses….

  • Pingback: Obama Homeland Security Alerts « The American Catholic
  • I have an idea: who wants to join me in flooding that email address with “flags” about the fishy positions Obama’s been taking with regards to abortion’s role in this health care plan?

    If we flood it, we can take it and Obama’s Big Brother mentality down.

  • It’s been almost 24 hours since you posted this and I’m disappointed. I was hoping to see a trackback saying, “Dan McCleary at the Catholic American has a good post about…”

  • Don’t know about anyone else, but this was about the 15th post on my RSS feed about the snitch program.

  • And I’m reporting them all to my Staatssicherheit commander!

  • When you do please remember that the last name is spelled McClarey, not McCleery, McClaren, McClary, etc.  Thank you!

    Isn’t one “Mc” the same as any other? *wink*

24 Responses to The War on Joe the Plumber-Update

15 Responses to The War on Joe the Plumber-the Report

  • I agree with your anger Jonolan but I deleted your comment. Talk of “gunning down” the officials involved goes way, way over the line.

  • If you say so, Donald; it’s your blog.

  • How infidels may be punished for daring to challenge the Most High and Mighty President Elect. Of course the main bureaucrat responsible donated a couple grand or so to the campaign. Would write It Will Have A Chilling Effect and Beware The Fairness Doctrine and so forth. I have very little faith in anyone involved in the business of politics- as Scripture warns put not your trust in princes. But I sense the Obamaites will fall over themselves to implement their many and varied and often conflicting agendas. From Fairness Doctrine to FOCA to whatever, they may well wind up with a losing batting average. Consider the Dems’ panic at the thought of a 2010 meltdown. While sending up Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to Homeland Security. In past life, she was legal counsel in 1991 for St. Anita Hill, Virgin And Martyr. I would expect her confirmation hearing to be jolly fun, particularly if she faces my senior Senator, the Hon. Arlen Specter. AKA Chief Inquistitor for St. Anita. As for our Joe, he will walk away with much coin following the mandatory lawsuits against these officials. A special guest star at GOP fundraisers. Nothing succeeds like excess.

  • Maybe you should offer Plumber Joe’s (along with You Betcha Sarah’s) book through American Catholic…

    They all seem to go hand in hand…

  • Funny how I did not see a similar concern from you over the Bush Administration’s outing of Valerie Plame…

  • Funny how I did not see a similar concern from you over the Bush Administration’s outing of Valerie Plame…

    I don’t know why I am bothering to respond to this troll, but A) This blog didn’t exist in 2005, and B) the Bush administration did not “out” Valerie Plame, but of course knowing that would require getting one’s news from something other than the Daily Show and CNN.

  • My recollection is that, indeed, American Catholic was silent about the Plame affair. Additionally, we failed to condemn Watergate, opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and Joe McCarthy ;-).

  • Btw, I don’t think Mr. DeFrancisis is a troll (despite occasional similarities).

  • Oh, so he just plays a troll on the internet?

  • The Plame case is still an existing civil suit.

  • The person who revealed the non-secret secret that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent and used her position to have her husband Joe Wilson investigate Iraqi attempts to purchase yellow cake in Niger was Richard Armitage, right hand man of Obama endorser Colin Powell. The Plame civil suit was dismissed in federal court on july 19, 2007 and the dismissal was upheld on appeal on August 12, 2008.

  • Let us also remember – well, learn if the Leftists have that capacity – that there is no direct equivalence between outing a CIA operative and illegally using government resources in order to harm a private citizen who embarrassed a political candidate. Both are wrong, but they’re not equivalent crimes against America.

  • Well said Jonolan, especially when the fact that the CIA operative was a CIA operative was an open “secret” in Washington is taken into account. Joe Wilson, her garrulous husband, certainly went out of his way to tell reporters that his wife worked for the CIA when he was shopping around his take on his role in the Niger yellowcake investigation:

    http://sweetness-light.com/archive/when-and-why-joseph-c-wilson-iv-outed-valerie-plame

  • Tito,

    Thanks for this bit. Can’t wait to see an update on the news tonight.