Last week, I wrote an article about the now national story of the teacher in Jimtown, Indiana who was caught on security cameras striking a student in the face. At that time, I only had the bare facts what was apparent on the video. In that article, I went out of my way, right in the first paragraph, to issue a disclaimer that I did not think that teacher should be able to keep his job because there’s no excuse for striking a student. I said in my article that I wasn’t prepared to discuss whether the teacher should be allowed to retire and collect a pension. That was mostly because I didn’t know the particulars of that teachers’ history. Where that specific incident is concerned, my article merely used the rage I witnessed from that teacher in the video to open the discussion about teacher trauma. The rest of the article was mostly about me and my experiences with teacher trauma. As I followed the many comments on social media in response to my article, I noticed that quite a few people seemed to entirely miss my point and imply that I was trying to make excuses for that teacher’s actions and shift all blame to mental health—even though I started out the article by saying he should lose his job and there was no excuse for what he did. That just comes with the territory of writing articles for public consumption, I suppose. I’m used to it by now.
That said, in the days since I wrote that piece, some new information has come to the surface about that teacher from Jimtown. I have now learned more information and have moved from my original wait and see stance about his retirement and pension. From the photograph of that teacher’s classroom cabinets, which you can see at the top of this article, a much clearer picture has emerged. This teacher has apparently had a long history of projecting very divisive political messages in his classroom. He is clearly sending out a hostile message to students who might not share the same world view as him—and until now, he’s been getting away with it. The fact is, this guy should have been, at the very least, reprimanded and put on notice—if not fired—for his blatant attempts to intimidate and indoctrinate his students with his particular political views.
Now it’s time for another disclaimer: The visual information plastered all over that teacher’s classroom cabinet doors would be JUST AS WRONG if he were posting liberal messages. Everyone needs to read that line again before anyone comments about it—I’ll wait…
Great, let’s go on.
I find it highly ironic that in this era of the war on public schools for “indoctrinating” students with leftist ideology, we get this story about a teacher who has, apparently for many years, been blatantly attempting to indoctrinate his students with right-wing ideology. I’m sure he was allowed to get away with this because he is from a small suburban town in northern Indiana where the majority of the families of his student’s likely agree with the messages he sends from his public pulpit. Let’s point out some of the violations on display in his classroom, shall we.
- There is a Trump/Pence campaign sticker
Teachers have every right to campaign and electioneer to their hearts desire on their own time and away from school property, but they cross legal lines when they do so in their classrooms. I am asked by kids every election cycle who I voted for and I have never, nor would I ever tell them. In fact, it’s a source of pride to me that they don’t know based on how I teach them. That campaign sticker is clearly over the line.
- There are Prayer in Schools, 10 Commandments, and anti-abortion stickers
The stickers about prayer in schools, the 10 commandments, and abortion are all treading very close to the line of separation of church and state provided by the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment.
- There is a sticker with the smiling Reagan and the sinister looking Obama
It’s tough to read on that display but the message says, “In challenging times, we need real leadership.” That message is more ambiguous, but the juxtaposition of the two presidents with very different countenances is pretty easy to figure out. That sticker is borderline offensive and certainly inappropriate for display in a public school classroom.
- There are Proud to be a Conservative and Do the Right Thing (with the elephant) stickers
Clearly, this teacher is proselytizing his particular political stance as superior to others. This is over the line for a public school classroom.
- There are Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Democrat and Liberalism is a Mental Disorder stickers
Do I even need to expand on how terribly inappropriate and offensive these messages are in any setting, let alone a public school classroom?
- There is a This car stops at all Dairy Queen stores
I’ll let that one slide 🙂
Now we have a much clearer picture of what kind of teacher this man was. It is abundantly clear that he had no business teaching in a public school whatsoever. Anyone who so blatantly and callously preaches a political agenda in a public school should have been stopped very early on. Yet, he taught for decades.
Now that we have the facts, if you read this and think this guy wasn’t way over the line in the message he was sending to impressionable kids, you need to reevaluate your definition of indoctrination and what public schools are actually for.
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