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.

Continue reading...

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.

Boycott Upcoming Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection

Thursday, October 29, AD 2009

REFORM CCHD

There is a coalition of Catholic organizations that have formed that will be pushing for a nationwide boycott of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) called REFORM The Catholic Campaign For Human Development with a website.  The Sunday before Thanksgiving a collection is done by many parishes for CCHD.  Instead of donating money to an organization that is diametrically opposed to many teachings of the Catholic Church, submit the coupon that is at the top of this posting.

You can also download a PDF file and print it out yourself here.

The many scandals that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) never ceases to amaze.  It’s been well documented how insidious and diabolical CCHD is from funding ACORN to funding abortions.

Continue reading...

20 Responses to Boycott Upcoming Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection

  • The Catholic Media Coalition has a two-minute YouTube video about CCHD that is a quick and easy way to warn Catholics about the collection. Pass it on.

  • I first learned of CCHD’s shennanigans after last year’s elections. I could have vomitted. We truly are our own worst enemies. I felt like leaving the Church, except there is no where better to go. These dopey bishops and priests who crave worldly acceptance are a terrible problem. I will print out a thousand of these coupons and start passing them out today.

  • Daledog,

    I intend to do the same at the more orthodox parishes.

  • Another beaut involving the Archdiocese of Chicago.

    http://tinyurl.com/yf4nhqe

  • Dear me, I’ve given to them in the past, vaguely supposing I was helping to feed and clothe the poor.
    Thank you for the tip.

    I am feeling a bit disheartened today. It’s bad enough that I no longer trust many secular institutions – the media and the people of both parties who supposedly represent my interests in DC – I have to bring that mistrust to Mass with me. I can’t trust that money given in a second collection will be used for good purposes. It’s very depressing.

  • Didn’t Jesus have something to say about making His Father’s House into a den of thieves?

  • I regret to say ican’t join the boycot.

    When a discussion of this group came up 10 or 15 yeras ago, just ignoring the accuations, the explantiohs provided by its supporters were so lame I decided I would rather give to other organazitions that at least promised to do somethng useful.

  • Hank,

    You can’t join the boycott, yet you give to other organizations that are not CCHD?

    OK, did I miss something or did you mistype?

  • I’m wondering if Hank quite understands what a boycott is. I’m guessing, from his comments, that he thinks it means ‘supporting’ a group.

  • Or perhaps he can’t BEGIN boycotting because he already started 10 years ago.

  • AKL’s second comment has it.

  • Pingback: Not One Cent « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: My final sermonette on boycotting the CHD « Churchmouse Campanologist
  • Pingback: Is Bishop Roger Morin Mendaciously Defending CCHD? « The American Catholic
  • We must not give to those organizations that are utilizing the money to do things that are against our believes and teachings.

  • Pingback: Bishop Bruskewitz Brings the Smackdown on CCHD « The American Catholic
  • I have served on a committee for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. It is an outstanding organization from local committees to national. There are many checks and balances that insure Catholic teachings are upheld. They focus on de-institutionalizing poverty hence their slogan of a hand up rather than a hand out. I quadrupled my giving to them this past year and invite others to find out the truth and trust their money can find no better charity.

  • Paul A.,

    You and your cohorts are going to have to donate more than 4x the amount next year in your cooperation with evil.

    The more of a bright spotlight we put on CCHD, the more the cockroaches will finally be stamped out of it.

  • Paul said, “I…invite others to find out the truth and trust their money can find no better charity.”

    This is no doubt absolutely true if you are a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual leftwing liberal. Congratulations to the CCHD for pulling the wool over the eyes of faithful Catholics for so long.

  • Most devout Catholics would never knowingly support pro-abortion groups.

    Yet on November 21st, many Catholics throughout the Arlington Diocese will unwittingly donate to organizations that promote abortion, homosexual marriage, and contraception.

    That is because, despite the extensive publicity regarding CCHD’s funding of questionable groups, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington plans to go forward with the collection next month for CCHD.

    Most people already know that CCHD gave millions of dollars to ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) before news of ACORN’s scandalous activities made national headlines. However, many people are not aware that CCHD continues to fund dozens of similar groups that promote abortion, contraception, homosexual marriage and other activities that are in direct conflict with Church teachings.

    Hundreds of parishioners have already urged Bishop Loverde to withdraw his support of CCHD by signing the Prayerful Petition found at http://www.NoMoreCCHD.com We remain hopeful that Bishop Loverde will join other American bishops who have already withdrawn their support for CCHD.

    Sincerely,

    Jeffrey E. Knight

    466 Long Mountain Road
    Washington, VA 22747
    (540)675-1440

The Flames of Dissent and Discord

Saturday, October 24, AD 2009

Patrick Kennedy

Politicians make asinine statements all the time, but sometimes there is one that stands out from the crowd for its sheer cluelessness, duplicity and perversity.  Patrick Kennedy, yep, one of Teddy Kennedy’s sons, a Democrat member of Congress from Rhode Island, lambasted the Church for not falling into line behind ObamaCare. Here is a statement that he made  to CNSNews.

“I can’t understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time, where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we’re caring and giving health care to the human person–that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured,” Kennedy told CNSNews.com when asked about a letter the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) had sent to members of Congress stating the bishops’ position on abortion funding in the health-care bill.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to The Flames of Dissent and Discord

Don't Negotiate, They're Crazy!

Monday, August 24, AD 2009

I made the mistake of following a link to a Frank Rich column this morning — an activity liable to cause lowed IQ, severe irritation, or in extreme cases, the gnawing off of one’s own arm. In an effort to channel possible side effects into a vaguely positive outlet, I hope that readers will forgive me if I revisit a topic that I already touched on once before: the increasing attempts by Democratic partisans to insist that the only people who could possibly oppose their agenda are evil, racist, gun-toting, potentially-violent freaks.

abc_rifle_protestor_090821_mnLike many of Rich’s pieces, this one is wandering and somewhat inarticulate. However, the basic thread is that the right as a whole is made up of violent extremists who should not be a part of the current health care debate in congress. In support of this, he points to the handful of 2nd Amendment activists who have been showing up at Townhall Meetings and other public venues in states that allows the open carry of firearms and exercising that selfsame right. This, he argues, proves that they are just like Timothy McVeigh (after all, one of them quoted Thomas Jefferson, who was also quoted by McVeigh), and to cap it all off some Republicans opposed counter-terrorism bills proposed in the wake of the OKC bombing. Got all that?

A couple things strike me about the unreasonableness of this line of thinking.

Continue reading...

13 Responses to Don't Negotiate, They're Crazy!

  • Darwin don’t be too hard on Mr. Rich. When Obama was elected with large Democrat majorities in Congress he, like much of the Left, thought that this was their final victory over conservatives. Instead, Obama is proving himself singularly unable to carry his agenda through Congress in the teeth of popular resistance. So what is Rich to do?

    He could write that Obama made a key mistake in attempting to shut out the GOP from his legislative initiatives, thereby ensuring that 40% of the country would be in automatic opposition. Another possible column might be that Democrats with such a large Blue Dog contingent have to learn how to compromise. Finally, Rich might tell his fellow Leftists that they should adopt an incremental approach and that bold schemes such as federalizing health care simply produce too much opposition to succeed.

    Of course, these type of columns would detract from the idea that Obama is a Leftist Messiah who will lead his followers to an unending political reign in an earthly socialist paradise. Thus we have Rich, rather than dealing with an unpleasant reality, writing another blame the Right column, which allows him and his faithful readers to vent emotionally, while doing absolutely nothing to address the fact that the Obama legislative agenda is taking on water faster than the Titanic.

  • I made the mistake of following a link to a Frank Rich column this morning

    I made the same mistake. I generally enjoy the give-and-take of partisan debate, but the last couple months have been depressing, and Rich’s column is just another salvo in the bitter recriminations following the health care debacle.

    Democrats think they’re on the side of the angels with health care reform. I think they’re right – at least as a matter of intention – but they’ve mismanaged it badly, and now are reduced to pretending as if it’s shocking – shocking! – that an amorphous and chaotic mess of a reform bill is being successfully mis-characterized by its opponents. It would be nice if they found a better outlet for their frustrations than writing shrill and incendiary op-eds, and it certainly would be better for the country. On the other hand, Republican partisans must enjoy seeing Democrats like Mr. Rich in such a state. The surest and fastest route to a Republican recovery is for the Democrats to convince themselves that it was evil Republican lies, rather than their own mishandling, that prevented health care reform.

  • On the other hand, Republican partisans must enjoy seeing Democrats like Mr. Rich in such a state. The surest and fastest route to a Republican recovery is for the Democrats to convince themselves that it was evil Republican lies, rather than their own mishandling, that prevented health care reform.

    There’s a sense in which it is perversely satisfying to see many Democrats consistently unable to understand that some people of good will actually oppose their program, but from such cheap victories come lazy habits.

  • Finally, Rich might tell his fellow Leftists that they should adopt an incremental approach and that bold schemes such as federalizing health care simply produce too much opposition to succeed.

    Yes, but what we are seeing is the incremental approach to federalizing health care. When Hillary the co-president failed, she said that they would have to take incremental steps. That’s what the idea behind expanding SCHIP to upper middle class adults was about. This is about that too. Remember the Barney Frank clip from a week ago, he’s all for federalized medicine but prefers this plan be pushed through as an incremental step.

    I don’t think anybody, left or right, sincrely believes this is actually a good or workable plan. Most on the left still want it as a step toward government control of HC, the less workable this plan is, the better for their objectives. Some on the left oppose it because they have no patience for the incremental approach, they want it all, and now. The rest of us oppose it because it’s not only a bad plan but we know where it’s leading.

  • but from such cheap victories come lazy habits.

    I admit I’m enjoying watching both parties flounder to some extent. My hope is that the end result will involve better access to health care for the chronically under-insured – and little else.

  • To be fair, I think Clinton Derangement Syndrome played some role in the coarsening of public discourse as well.

  • Fair point. And indeed, though it was a bit on my early end, there seemed to be a pretty clear Reagan Derangement Syndrome as well. I’m not really clear if Carter managed to inspire that kind of craziness. Nixon did — but then managed in many ways to deserve it as well.

    Come to that, I’m not sure there’s a real beginning to the trend. It may just be that after a certain point that kind of pop culture phenomenon fades into the background of historical awareness.

  • Jefferson was a crazed atheist, Adams a dangerous monarchist. Just ask the partisans that opposed them. I think every president since Washington has attracted extreme opposition, and by the middle of his second term even he was not immune.

    The advance of mass communications, especially the internet, makes it seem like we’re in an intensely partisan age, but this sort of bitterness has always been there. That said, I think Peter Wood makes a good case that perhaps anger is more intense now than ever before.

  • Come to that, I’m not sure there’s a real beginning to the trend.

    Robert Bork has said that there was a change in the culture of official Washington around about 1981. Larry Sabato identified 1966 and 1973 as salient punctuation marks in the evolution of the national press corps.

  • I don’t remember ’66. ’73 was pure anti-Nixon. ’81 pure anti-Reagan. I suspect if the MSM were more objective in their reporting on Obama there might be less aggressive displays by conservatives.

  • I became eligible to vote in ’81. Reagan Derangement Syndrome was very much extant, but I think things have gotten worse since. Reagan’s personal charisma, like Clinton’s after him, may have had the effect of toning things down a bit.

  • That in part is probably true. Obama’s charisma seems part real and part manufactured. That plus the “messianism” of his movement probably also contributes to the extremes of response.

  • Sabato referred to the period running from 1966 to 1973 as a sweet interlude. By his account, from about 1941 to about 1966, the national press corps had little critical distance from the politicians and government they covered. (Critics who read Katherine Graham’s memoir said one of the disconcerting elements was unselfconscious description of the incestuous relationship between the Kennedy Administration on the one hand and Philip Graham & Ben Bradlee on the other). In his view, from about 1973, the press was overtaken with unprofessional behavior. Nicholas von Hoffman has been critical of what he called “media Monovox”, but has also said that there was a lowering of standards of journalistic proof that began around 1973 and that the behavior of major newspapers during Richard Nixon’s last years in office was embarrassing.

    Bork has said that political life in the capital was adversarial but not vicious prior to 1981, and that was what changed.