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Teachers Traumatizing Students of Deployed Soldiers
February 26, 2003 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Teachers Traumatizing Students of Deployed Soldiers "WABI TV reported Friday that the Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center has received about 30 complaints from children of deployed soldiers concerning Principals, Teachers and Guidance Counselors reportedly demeaning the role of their deployed parent. Some children involved are 7 to 9 years of age." More inside...
posted by darian (65 comments total)

 
"We are reluctant to give out specific schools and the individuals involved in the interest of giving the education community a chance to address the problem itself." Doesn't the public have a right to know where this is happening and become outraged? Doesn't the school have some sort of policy against this or will this just be swept under the rug and ignored? If that is allowed, does that mean Creationists will be allowed give their religious opinions in class? There are two other great sites with comments and info on this, here and here...

The video clip showing the WABI report can be downloaded from here or my site.
posted by darian at 11:31 AM on February 26, 2003


Wow, what a supremely undetailed accusation disguised as a news story. Then I saw the comments at the bottom of the page, which are absolutely overflowing with unintentional humour value:

There are indications that this might be a coordinated effort by the teachers union

These are not teachers but brain washers.
They are scum!!!!!!

Not that I doubt for a minute that the socialists in possession of our kids would stoop to this new low.


I was going to do a service and pick through the comments and quote some of the more hilarious ones, bt there are just too many.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:36 AM on February 26, 2003


While they might be against the war, there are people going off to another country and some might not return. They don't have a choice in this and I would guess they would rather stay home. If you don't support the war, at least support the solders and their families. Keep the politics out of it.
posted by mkelley at 11:40 AM on February 26, 2003


"Won't somebody please think of the children?"

What a bunch of highly legitimate sites you've linked to, Darian. "The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler?" Now that’s journalism.

Harassing children is pathetic and inexcusable. But the Bangor Daily News seems to think we're talking about a few anecdotal incidents, and no details are being released. Take a valium, and wait to see what’s really, going on, why don’t you?
posted by Fenriss at 11:41 AM on February 26, 2003


aarg, soldiers not solders.
posted by mkelley at 11:42 AM on February 26, 2003


Love those comments! of course the union to blame. Of course the kids got in touch not with their parents but with the National Guard, and on and on. Best line: Maine is a liberal state. Not far from Maine is Mass. and it is there that the witch hunts made their appearance ...here we go again. And, later, more "abused" kids who turn out not to have been abused.
posted by Postroad at 11:42 AM on February 26, 2003


Ouch. It's one thing for a child to contemplate losing a parent in the line of duty, and a double whammy for the brats at school to be teasing them. Assuming the story is accurate.

I was going to do a service and pick through the comments and quote some of the more hilarious ones, but there are just too many.

Not too terribly different than a Metafilter thread, then? :)
posted by dhoyt at 11:46 AM on February 26, 2003


A freeper link?
You go get'em, tiger!
posted by 2sheets at 11:46 AM on February 26, 2003


Watch the video clip for a less biased report.
posted by darian at 11:52 AM on February 26, 2003


This is PURE LIBERAL COMMIE HATE AMERICA and should be HEADLINES in every paper nameing names, positions,party affiliation, what demeaning things were said ECT. ECT. Where does "Opinion" end and "TRAITORISM" begin?

Oh. My. God.

I have a healthy new respect for the level of discourse at MetaFilter. Hell, compared to this trash, I have new respect for the level of discourse at Fark.
posted by ook at 11:55 AM on February 26, 2003


I'm sure the teachers were simply reiterating the rhetoric of Rummy; just calming the nerves of our next batch of consumers. "Don't worry Jimmy. You'll be able to consume what we feed you even if your father doesn't come home. Here, have another ritalin and everything will be fine." Where is this nation going??
posted by Birichini at 11:56 AM on February 26, 2003


They know better than to pull that crap down here at Fort Bragg. Heh.
posted by konolia at 11:56 AM on February 26, 2003


Ohhhh! Now I see that the nicedoggy site is yours, Darian. And that you are the author of the prior entry, entitled "Shut Up and Leave Then, Bitch." Very classy.

Your endorsement of torture for “disgusting little carpweasels” (many thanks for the new screen name, btw!) is very telling. Who else shall we immediately arrest and torture?

Bah. Too much time wasted on such pap. Next.
posted by Fenriss at 12:00 PM on February 26, 2003


We should all learn to be information smart: to understand when a Web site, or a piece of software, or an Internet Service provider  plan, is giving us biased information. We should learn to distinguish quality information and quality links. 

--Tim Berners-Lee

posted by whatnot at 12:04 PM on February 26, 2003


Carpweasels? I like it! Where did you see that, Fenriss?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:13 PM on February 26, 2003


For what it's worth, I have a sister in Kuwait who had to leave a daughter behind, so I would be pissed if my niece was subjected to some kind of harrasement.
But the story is pretty vague, and I'm betting that this will turn out to be a case of individuals having an anti-war stance who didn't say anything about some specific parent. But then, nothing surprises me.

Most of my family are against the Iraq invasion, including my sister who is deployed. But we support my sister and all the troops, and she is a soldier and will do her job.

This is not the Vietnam era, and our troops aren't being spit on,
in spite of the ignorant rantings of the freepers.
posted by 2sheets at 12:17 PM on February 26, 2003


The Bangor Daily News (annoying reg. req.) has an AP blip reporting "the state education department has received reports of children showing stress and anxiety because of their perceptions that fellow students or school employees have been insensitive to their beliefs or to the potential dangers of war."

Maj. Peter J. Rogers, spokesman for the Maine National Guard, said complaints have been fielded at assistance centers for families of National Guard members in Augusta, Bangor, Calais, Caribou and Portland. “Children are coming home from school very upset at things that are being said,” he said. “They're suffering the pain of losing somebody already, and it's causing a trauma at this point.”

Getting teachers to shut up about the war won't be hard. Now, if they could just get the kids in study hall to stop picking on the kids whose daddies have to go invade Iraq.
posted by sacre_bleu at 12:18 PM on February 26, 2003


Maybe Matt could implement a [this is funny] category along with the [this is good] one?
posted by signal at 12:21 PM on February 26, 2003


This is a spiritual batter of the highest order, and children are routinely being sacrificed to beelzebub aka the NEA.

Bump. I'm forwarding this to O'Reilly.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:31 PM on February 26, 2003


mr roboto: http://www.nicedoggie.net/archives/001403.html
posted by Fenriss at 12:33 PM on February 26, 2003


Fenriss: You must have misunderstood, the nicedoggy site is not mine. I did not link my site, but only referenced it for those who either are further interested in my opinions or in case the other site ends up removing the file.

Now that I read that article, however, I do tend to agree with the overall concept of it. If you don't like it here in the USA, you are free to leave. (I do also believe that you either misunderstoood the authors point as well, or are just trying to twist it to make your own point)
posted by darian at 12:33 PM on February 26, 2003


Oh good, a freerepublic link, and only a few days after that delightful illegal-aliens-ate-my-healthcare post.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:35 PM on February 26, 2003


If you don't like it here in the USA, you are free to leave

You are also free to stay and speak your mind.
posted by tolkhan at 12:40 PM on February 26, 2003


If you don't like it here in the USA, you are free to leave.

This statement makes me sick. On preview-- what tolkhan said.
posted by Cerebus at 12:43 PM on February 26, 2003


Man, I love Free Republic! Some more choice comments:

Post 218: COMMMIES! -KILL THEM!

Post 220: Liberals are sick scum! Lawsuit time and criminal prosecution for child abuse.

Post 225: It really is THAT BAD! The marxist NEA MUST BE STOPPED NOW. They hate America and they are brainwashing our kids to hate Her too. If we do not stop it now, just imagine the next generation. Frightful thought is it not?

Post 231: I am sick of high taxes.
I am sick of the NEA.
I am sick of NPR.
I am sick of the Dems.
I am getting sick of the Pubs.
I am tired of celebrities mouthing off.
I am sick of illegal immigrants.
I am sick of pissant countries dictating our foreign policy.
I am sick of tax dollars going to socialist states.

A 2nd American Revolution wouldn't be a bad thing right now.
posted by Gilbert at 12:43 PM on February 26, 2003


Let's see here, the news report says "a few", yet the reactionary sites say "30". How does a few become 30?

Some digging {reg req}into the story actually pulls out info that the majority of these complaints are not about classroom activities at all.

Commissioner of Education J. Duke Albanese said Monday he plans to send e-mails to schools reminding them to be "sensitive" to children whose parents may be involved in the war on Iraq.Albanese said Maj. Gen. Joseph Tinkham, state adjutant general, told him Monday that the Army National Guard had received complaints from parents across the state who felt "people weren't as sensitive as they should be."

When he first heard about the complaints last week, he had been under the impression that parents were upset about teachers making anti-war statements in the classroom, Albanese said.

In fact, according to "anecdotal stories" told to him by Tinkham, the commissioner said only one complaint had to do with a classroom activity in which a child became upset after a teaching assistant "took up the anti-war" side.

Other complaints were from parents on two occasions who thought local school personnel "should have been more sensitive" when a student requested to leave early for a military-related activity and when a student was teased on a school bus because a parent was in the military.
And Darien, I take offense to your "love it or leave it" attitude. Men in my family have fought and died in every war of this nation's history, starting the American Revolution...because they believed that we shouldn't have a tyrannical government. And every one of those men believed that what made America great was the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. One of which is the freedom to disagree with the powers that be. You dishonor every real patriot who has laid down his or her life for our country by suggesting that anyone who disagrees with the government should leave the country.

If you feel so strongly that this war is a just war, enlist. Take it to the front lines. Send me your address, and I'll write you letters and send cookies and do all the other things I do for the soldiers in my family. But if you're an armchair chickenhawk, with the courage provided by a well stocked fridge and the safe blue glow of the TV tube, then kindly STFU.
posted by dejah420 at 12:47 PM on February 26, 2003


You are also free to stay and speak your mind.

Absolutely! But getting back on subject, is an elementary school the place for teachers to "speak their mind" regarding the profession of the child's parent? If "Joe Teacher" has a racist opinion, is it then permissable for him to tell the children that so-and-so is a bad person because he or she is black/brown/yellow/etc? Of course not! "Joe Teacher" would likely be canned the next day!
posted by darian at 12:49 PM on February 26, 2003


As an expat Mainer, I feel confident dismissing this report as unmitigated crap. North of the Portland area, Maine is about as liberal as Alabama. Even educators aren't especially liberal because they tend to come from the communities in which they teach. How would the teachers get together to orchestrate it, anyway, and why would it be unique to Maine? This has "unfounded" and "reactionary right-wing" written all over it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:50 PM on February 26, 2003


If you don't like it here in the USA, you are free to leave.

Ahh the classic line. Just remember that those who don't like it are also free to say so and stay put, and even stick around long enough to vote for the other guy in the next election.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:51 PM on February 26, 2003


OK, I apologize for the misunderstanding. I see now that you said the clip could be download "here or from my site." Missing the word “or” was the source of my confusion. Sorry.

However, if you mean that you agree with the "shut up or leave" article... I'm certainly not twisting anything. It is perfectly appalling and absurd (not to mention unconstitutional) to espouse torture for people because of their beliefs, no matter what they say.

Since we’re discussing it (Jebus, why am I discussing this?!) you might want to follow the link where Janeane is quoted saying these shocking things. It was five years ago. It is a ridiculous, tabloid publication that’s running the story. And, finally, her quote is yanked out of context, and the word SARCASM is conveniently left out.
posted by Fenriss at 12:52 PM on February 26, 2003


This is not the Vietnam era, and our troops aren't being spit on...

They weren't be spit upon during the Vietnam era, either. Turns out that the first stories of returning soldiers being spat at didn't emerge until about ten years after the war, and that those stories are impossible to verify. It might have happened a couple of times, but it's in large part a myth. Most anti-war activists, especially towards the end of the war, looked at veterans of the war as potential allies.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:54 PM on February 26, 2003


But getting back on subject, is an elementary school the place for teachers to "speak their mind" regarding the profession of the child's parent?

dejah420 already addressed "the subject". Can you provide evidence that this isn't just another phantom witch hunt courtesy of the usual slope-browed knuckle-dragging bigots at freerepublic.com?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:54 PM on February 26, 2003


i'm confused. the headline says "traumatized" but the first paragraph says "demeaned". i certainly hope freepers know the difference, lest they be rushing to the emergency room everytime i demean them.
posted by quonsar at 12:56 PM on February 26, 2003


What did I write in that first sentence? "...weren't being spat upon..."
posted by mr_roboto at 12:56 PM on February 26, 2003


oh, and what the heck is up with that trackback down below? someone traumatizing MT again?
posted by quonsar at 12:58 PM on February 26, 2003


"is an elementary school the place for teachers to "speak their mind" regarding the profession of the child's parent?"

Absolutely not! On that we can agree.
Do you have a link to any information that says that this is what happened?

Read and learn.
posted by 2sheets at 1:00 PM on February 26, 2003


The comment that Maine is a liberal state strikes me as a bit whacked. Though the state leg. is now controlled by the Dems, it isn't overwhelmingly so. Also, both of our fed senators are Repubs, though both representatives are Dems.

There are "pockets" of liberalism in Maine, mostly around Portland and possibly some of the college towns. Rural parts of the state, along with Bangor and points north are more likely to be very conservative.

"Rogers would only say that most of the reports have come from elementary- and middle-school students."

So, high school teachers and above aren't part of the problem here? I'd be surprised if this didn't (continue to) end up being a non-story with unsubstaniated rumors.
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:05 PM on February 26, 2003


is an elementary school the place for teachers to "speak their mind" regarding the profession of the child's parent?

No. As long as the socialist NEA stands up and loudly defends this Anti-American behavior, they have no right to confiscate our money for their schools.

Of course, if no one is supporting this kind of behavior, the argument completely crumbles.

I was once traumatized by an insensitive teacher, but my mom refused to home-school me. Damn leftist.
posted by eddydamascene at 1:14 PM on February 26, 2003


Jesus F'n Christ... my statement was about a post that Fenriss referenced and accused me of writing. That article was about Janeane Garofalo and her political views... and I do stand my by statement in that context. (and for the record to be absolutely clear, so that there is not any misunderstanding, I'm not advocating wrapping her up in a flag and setting it on fire either, as described in the article in question.)

But I am not suggesting that anyone who disagrees with the government should leave.... hell if that were the case, I'd be gone too. What I am saying is that people who claim to dispise this place so much are free to leave any time they want as well. If I go to a club, and the environment/drinks/music is cappy, and I hate it there... I leave, I don't stay and complain.

And as a matter of fact, I have already spoken to a recruiter again, and though I am a bit old for it, I may end up enlisting should the situation become worse. If that happens, I will absolutely let you know... I like chocolate chip cookies without nuts.

after preview...

Fenriss... yes, I know, I read that as well... my statement was as a general concept... non specific as outlined in this post.

Armitage... missed that in preview, but view the video.
posted by darian at 1:16 PM on February 26, 2003


In all seriousness I would suggest to Darien that if he cares so much about foreign people's human rights he'd be able to do a lot more good by joining Amnesty International.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:21 PM on February 26, 2003


Has anyone noticed that this story crumbles into near-nothingness upon scrutiny? That, in itself, isn't interesting. What is interesting is this question: Why do pro-war people make up such stories? In other words, what purpose does this fable serve?
posted by Holden at 1:52 PM on February 26, 2003


Why do pro-war people make up such stories? In other words, what purpose does this fable serve?

Holden, you do know the answer to that don't you? Aren't you with us, 'cause you know, if not, then you're against us. We must think of the children...
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:19 PM on February 26, 2003


Circle jerk.

Now where else have I recently seen a conversation devolve into a partisan circle jerk full of speculation and generalizations? Hmm.......
posted by dhoyt at 2:28 PM on February 26, 2003


for teachers to "speak their mind" regarding the profession of the child's parent? If "Joe Teacher" has a racist opinion

Because we don't know what, if anything was said, you can't make parallels. I don't think teachers should tell their students that fellating cattle is fun either, but that's not the same thing as a teacher saying that they feel an invasion of Iraq is unjust or unnecessary. We don't know what was said (if anything) and we don't know the details of the complaints (if any), so creating an empty post shrieking about the leftist/liberal/commie conspiracy in Maine's public schools is, at best, shit.

Also, speaking out against this war is not the same thing as hating or disliking America. People who hate or dislike this country don't have to leave. They can stay and try to do what they think will improve it. "Love it or leave it" is bandied about by people too emotional for rational discourse.
posted by tolkhan at 2:38 PM on February 26, 2003


Now where else have I recently seen a conversation devolve into a partisan circle jerk full of speculation and generalizations?

Doesn't "devolve" imply that the conversation started as something better than a partisan circle jerk full of speculation and generalizations?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:39 PM on February 26, 2003


freeper links are almost as good as The Onion.
posted by th3ph17 at 2:42 PM on February 26, 2003


this story crumbles into near-nothingness upon scrutiny

heck, this whole thread for that matter.
posted by lampshade at 3:43 PM on February 26, 2003


In the voice of a great school-boy "Haaa-haa!"
posted by zekinskia at 4:19 PM on February 26, 2003


The comment that Maine is a liberal state strikes me as a bit whacked.

I dunno. I lived in Lewiston until fairly recently and Waterville before that, and in many ways, it is pretty liberal. It really depends on what your pet issues are. If you are concerned about civil rights for gays and abortion, than no, it's not liberal at all. But if you're concerned about access to health care, good education, generous welfare programs, progressive taxation, rights for workers etc. I think it is quite solidly on the liberal side of the spectrum. Maybe not so much as Mass. or Vermont, but what state is?
posted by boltman at 5:36 PM on February 26, 2003


*raises hand*
posted by eddydamascene at 6:43 PM on February 26, 2003


eddy: Not now. You've gone to bathroom three times already.
posted by ?! at 7:06 PM on February 26, 2003


darian: I thought the humor sites were for Fridays? Please tell me I missed the disclaimer.

lampshade: So, with the mess that is this thread, what would you like to comment on? How about RadioLeft, BuzzFlash, or 101 Ways to Kill a Hippie.

Please note all links above require the viewer not to be offended by, well, by anything. Results may vary.
posted by ?! at 7:17 PM on February 26, 2003


This is not the Vietnam era, and our troops aren't being spit on, in spite of the ignorant rantings of the freepers.

It might have happened a couple of times, but it's in large part a myth.


How about it never happened at all, mr_roboto. And really, 2sheets. that's only about the fourth or fifth time Lembcke's book about this not in large part but total myth has been linked here in the last couple of years. It's an urban legend.
posted by y2karl at 10:10 PM on February 26, 2003


I don't see any problem with the freerepublic link at all (unsurprisingly). The MetaFilter blue is saturated with news links to the Soviet New York Times about a gazillion times a week, with the remaining marx-space taken up by the oh-so balanced 'Guardian' and the Village Voice, so save it with the crocodile tears.

Back on topic: I would like to know where the line is drawn between the peacenik anti-U.S. Saddamites, who are actively supporting a sworn enemy of the United States (instead of logically protesting aganst the enemy), and treason, which is a:

"Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies."

Aiding the enemy is exactly what is happening, and public school teachers demeaning the role of the very people who defend the very country whose freedoms we have the luxury of taking for granted is treason too.

"Take a valium"? Not when the values of the country are under attack from educators who supposedly have the best interests of our children in mind.

That goes for far too many of the universities as well: soapboxes for leftist propaganda.
posted by hama7 at 2:40 AM on February 27, 2003


The simplest solution? Take said teachers and reward them for their thanklessness by booting them out of their cushy state-benefit-receiving day jobs which are supported by taxpayers. Enough.
posted by hama7 at 2:46 AM on February 27, 2003


Soooo… you’re actually comparing the levels of journalism at Free Republic and the NY Times? “Peacenik anti-US Saddamites?” Christ, you can’t make this shit up.

I retract anything I may ever have said to defend Hama7. Here’s a pithy slogan for you, Hama: “Metafilter: Love it or leave it.” Lunatic.
posted by Fenriss at 6:44 AM on February 27, 2003


Soooo… you’re actually comparing the levels of journalism at Free Republic and the NY Times?

I don't necessarily think hama7's comparing the levels of journalism, but the level of bias.
posted by darian at 7:34 AM on February 27, 2003


Other news sources are now starting to pick up on this story.
posted by Plunge at 7:44 AM on February 27, 2003


Hama7, are you nuts? School-teachers have cushy state-benefit-receiving jobs? Give me a fucking break.

All of the teachers that I know -- and I know more than a dozen -- bust their asses all year long, even during the summer. They work evenings. They work weekends. They put up with undisciplined students. They put up with the parents that ought to be instilling discipline into these students. They put up with a burdensome state bureaucracy. They put up with all of this because they believe in what they're doing. You couldn't pay me enough to do what they do.

There's plenty to condemn in our bloated governments, but teachers certainly are not one of those things.

And what do you mean by the values of our country are under attack? Whose values? Yours, it sounds like -- not mine.

But then, what do I know? You've just called me (and others like me) treasonous because I think U.S. policy toward Iraq is fucking insane and based solely on our President's ego and in no way related to any perceivable threat. Better execute me now.

Rant over. Must breathe now. I don't know why I even bother reading threads like this, because they just raise my blood-pressure.
posted by jdroth at 8:41 AM on February 27, 2003


It seems like every time this comes up, the same old tired McCarthyite fallacies get dragged out of the closet. For starters, it is quite clear from both the Constitution and case law involving treason that the standard of "aid and comfort" and involves much more than opposing a given U.S. policy for reasons of religious commitment, ethical values, or political ideology. Secondly, it is been made abundantly clear that no one in this argument is particularly fond of Saddam Hussein. The primary disagreement is whether a preemptive war of invasion as opposed to a policy of isolation and containment is likely to achieve the best results for everyone in the region. Third, it presupposes that a war of invasion is the course of action that best advances American interests.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:28 AM on February 27, 2003


"cushy state-benefit-receiving day jobs "

Politics aside, that would be about the most ignorant thing I've read on Metafilter.
posted by 2sheets at 11:10 AM on February 27, 2003


I retract anything I may ever have said to defend Hama7.

Well by my recollection, Fenriss, you've now called my opinion "shit", in the past called me an "unfit parent" with a "major malfunction" and now a "lunatic".

No retraction necessary, thanks just the same.

Better yet, just imagine if I'd used those expressions when referring to you.
posted by hama7 at 5:32 AM on February 28, 2003


ah, KirkJobSluder, I see you missed the memo. Apparently, being a McCarthyite is not a bad thing anymore.
posted by boltman at 11:29 AM on March 2, 2003


Not to beat a dead thread, but now there's this:

"A few days after a flap over some educators in Maine schools allegedly making inappropriate, negative comments to members of military families, the head of the Maine Army National Guard says it has been blown out of proportion. And Maine teachers say educators typically take an even-handed approach to sensitive issues in the classroom."
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:08 AM on March 4, 2003


Also, this:
School complaints by Guard take on life of own - an excellent summary of how a few isolated incidents became overblown once the national pundits got their mitts on the story.
posted by anastasiav at 11:22 AM on March 6, 2003


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