If it Was Good Enough for Hitler

...Every little thing that can be done to chip away at the Constitution and Bill of Rights is being done by the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature. If the children are now to be taught only the approved curriculum, to be accepted without comment, we may wind up with the equivalent of a Hitler Jugend or a Soviet Young Pioneers here in the United States....

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Back in 1950, my wife was fourteen and in the eighth grade. The subject was History or Current Events. The Cold War was in full flower and Joe McCarthy was in his ascendency. She had been told that Communism was evil and she was scared to death of Stalin, as she and the world had heard many tales of his murdering or imprisoning millions of his own people. The teacher was holding forth on the evils of Communism when Adrienne asked, "What is Communism?"

The teacher hushed the class, went to the intercom and called the Principal's Office. Then she told Adrienne to go to the Principal's Office.

"What for," she asked?
"You'll find out," was the answer.

When she got to the office, she was told to wait, that the principal had called her mother to come and get her and take her home. When she arrived, Adrienne and her Mom were taken into the principal's office. Adrienne and her Mom were told she must never ask that question again. The Principal told her that answering that question could get the teacher fired and the school in trouble. All Adrienne needed to know was that communism was evil and that we had to hate it and fight it. Talking about communism apparently made you a "Pinko."

Eventually, McCarthy and HUAC overreached themselves and passed into history. People were again free to discuss political systems and philosophy without being pilloried. People remembered the Bill of Rights and freedom of speech.

Since the appointment of der Bush as President by the Supreme Court, the Constitution and Bill of Rights have been under increasingly heavy fire. The fraudulent election of 2004 has increased the pressure. The revised PATRIOT ACT has further eclipsed the founding documents of our country. Unfortunately, little attention is paid to the Constitution and Bill of Rights in school classrooms today, so most people don't know what they are having stolen from them.

Today, an article, Judge Rules Teachers Have No Free Speech Rights in Class, by Matthew Rothschild in the Progressive Magazine published on Monday, March 27, 2006 by the Progressive caught my eye:

On January 10, 2003, a teacher of fourth, fifth and sixth graders at Clear Creek Elementary School in Bloomington Indiana was leading a class discussion on an issue of Time Magazine's "Time for Kids." This was a regular routine and part of the school's curriculum. Some of the articles related to the imminent Iraq war and one mentioned a peace march

One of the children asked the teacher if she would attend a peace parch. She answered that she usually honked her horn when she went by a local demonstration that said "honk for peace." She said she felt it was important to seek peaceful solutions before resorting to war and that was why they trained the kids to mediate disputes on the playground, to seek peaceful solutions to their own problems.

According to the records, apparently a student mentioned the conversation to a parent, who complained to the school that her teacher had advocated "peace." The teacher was told never to discuss the war, or "peace " in her classroom again.

At the end of that day, Principal Rogers circulated a memo, entitled "Peace at Clear Creek," that said: "We absolutely do not, as a school, promote any particular view on foreign policy related to the situation in Iraq." And she cancelled the annual "peace month" that the school had been holding.

The case has now been tried with the above verdict. The ostensible reason for her termination was a poor work evaluation, though the evaluation before the incident had been effusive in its praise of her as a teacher. The poor evaluation was written and entered into the court records two years later, long after her dismissal.

On March 10, Judge Sarah Evans Barker dismissed Mayer's case, granting summary judgment to the defendants.

The judge said the school district was within its rights to terminate Mayer because of various complaints it received from parents about her teaching performance.

But beyond that, Judge Barker ruled that "teachers, including Ms. Mayer, do not have a right under the First Amendment to express their opinions with their students during the instructional period."

The judge ruled that "school officials are free to adopt regulations prohibiting classroom discussion of the war," and that "the fact that Ms. Mayer's January 10, 2003, comments were made prior to any prohibitions by school officials does not establish that she had a First Amendment right to make those comments in the first place." The judge also implied that Mayer, by making her comments, was attempting to "arrogate control of the curricula."

And the judge gave enormous leeway to school districts to limit teachers' speech in the classroom.

"Whatever the school board adopts as policy regarding what teachers are permitted to express in terms of their opinions on current events during the instructional period, that policy controls, and there is no First Amendment right permitting teachers to do otherwise,"Judge Barker wrote

So, it is now official. Teachers can teach only the approved party line, with no interpretation, discussion or opinions expressed.

Hitler said the same thing to the teachers in the Third Reich and I'm sure Kindly Uncle Joe Stalin made the same thing clear to his teachers in the CCCP. We can hope that this will be reversed by a higher court, but when I read the article to my wife, who is a retired teacher, she said, "I would never have believed this could happen again in the United States."

Every little thing that can be done to chip away at the Constitution and Bill of Rights is being done by the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature. If the children are now to be taught only the approved curriculum, to be accepted without comment, we may wind up with the equivalent of a Hitler Jugend or a Soviet Young Pioneers here in the United States.

It is way past time to Wake Up, America or lose what has made the United States great, and respected, throughout most of the world. If der Bush and his gang can stifle independent thought and discussion even in our schools than we are truly lost. As Adrienne has said since 2001, Bush and his gang are like the bullies on the school playground that all the teachers hate and the children fear.

Written by Stephen M. Osborn, and published at www.populistamerica.com. Stephen is a freelance writer living on Camano Island in the Pacific Northwest. He is an "Atomic Vet." (Operation Redwing, Bikini Atoll 1956, ) who has been very active working and writing for nuclear disarmament and world peace. He is a retired Fire Battalion Chief, lifelong sailor, writer, poet, philosopher, historian and former newspaper columnist. He welcomes your feedback at theplace@whidbey.net

Tags: anti-war, democracy, Education, First Amendment, Iraq, populist (all tags)

Comments

1 Comment

Re: If it Was Good Enough for Hitler
The bullies the teachers hate and did precious little about.
The day of reckoning for tthe neo-cons will come. I just wish it would hurry up and get here.
Joseph Welch, where are you, now that we really need you?
by spirowasright 2006-04-14 10:27AM | 0 recs

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