In his book, Teaching toward Freedom, "William Ayers illuminates the hope as well as the conflict that characterizes the craft of education: how it can be used in authoritarian ways at the service of the state, the church, or a restrictive existing social order-or, as he envisions it, as a way for students to become more fully human, more engaged, more participatory, more free."
One of the "authoritarian ways" is demonstrated by Diatha D. Harris in a Swedish television documentary. The fifth grade teacher, Ms. Harris, asks the class who they support for President, Obama or McCain. One young girl has a parent in the military supporting McCain, she tell the teacher, so she, too, supports McCain. Ms. Harris then proceeds browbeat the little girl almost to tears. Stunned, the fifth grader just sits and stares in bewilderment at what has just happened to her.
The ONLY media outlet for this story has been the original source, The Fayetteville Observer, numerous blogs, and talk radio. So far, the story has been ignored by networks and syndicates.
Published on Friday, November 07, 2008Dr. William Harrison, Superintendent of Schools issued the following statement and a video response on the district website --
Teacher's comments about McCain, war stir anger
By Francis X. Gilpin
A Cumberland County school teacher is defending her comments to a fifth-grade pupil who expressed support for John McCain in her class last spring.
The exchange at Mary McArthur Elementary School was captured by a Swedish television documentary crew, and the video is making the rounds on the Internet including YouTube.
In the video, which reportedly aired in Scandinavia earlier this week, teacher Diatha D. Harris calls the Iraq War “senseless” and tells one student whose father is a soldier that McCain would keep troops there for 100 years. She said in an interview that her comments were doctored.
Superintendent Bill Harrison called that student’s father today and apologized, a spokeswoman said. He also issued a statement saying he was “shocked” by the video and “particularly disturbed” by how the teacher’s “inappropriate actions” made the children uncomfortable.
The videotaped discussion begins with Harris asking the class who they support for president. When two students say McCain, she responds with “Oh Lord” and “Oh Jesus.”
She asks them why they are you pulling for McCain or Obama. One student says she supports Obama because “he is making good changes” like “not having a fight between Iraq, and having soldiers killed.”
“So in other words,” Harris says, “Barack is going to end that war in Iraq.”
One girls says she supports McCain. When asked why, she tells her teacher, “I think it’s because of my parents are going for him, too.’’
Harris points out that the girl’s father is in the military, then says to the class that Iraq is a “senseless war.”
“And by the way,” Harris tells the girl, “the person that you’re picking for president said that our troops could stay in Iraq for another hundred years if they need to. So that means that your daddy could stay in the military for another hundred years.”
The girl appears to be embarrassed and doesn’t respond.
Harris said three children in the class had parents in the military.
In an interview late Thursday, Harris, 53, said somebody edited the video to make it appear she was an Obama partisan imposing her views on a child. In fact, Harris said, she made gestures after pupils voiced support for Obama.
“It has been doctored,” Harris said. “They didn’t show anything about Obama.”
In another sequence on the video, however, Harris sports an Obama button during a pep rally at the school.
Harrison, the superintendent, said in the statement that neutral discussion of the political process is appropriate. But, he added, “at no time, particularly with elementary students, should a teacher infuse his/her political views into the discussion. Most disconcerting was the military slant that made its way into this discussion. We are a military community, serving over 15,000 military students and their families. We value the sacrifices, not only of the military parents but also those of their families.”
The statement, posted on the school system’s Web site, assured the public that “the actions exhibited in this video are not consistent with the vision” of the school system.
“Once the video was brought to my attention, I immediately launched an investigation. ... I can assure you that upon completion of the investigation, I will take appropriate action.”
Wanda McPhaul, a spokeswoman for Cumberland schools, said school leaders were deluged with protest calls today. She said state law prohibits them from revealing what, if any, personnel action would be taken against Harris. The personnel records that officials did release show Harris has taught school for 27 years, the last four in county schools.
McPhaul said the father of the girl in the video is active-duty military and didn’t know about the video until Harrison called him today.
One of the first Web sites to report the video was a blog called Tundra Tabloid.
Initially, bloggers said Harris was a teacher in Asheville. She used to be a teacher in western North Carolina, but moved to Fayetteville within the past couple years.
CCS Headline News - Superintendent's Response to YouTubeI believe Dr. Harrison when he says the views of Diatha Harris do not reflect the views of the Districts many teachers and other employees. But, her views are also not unique in our schools and haven't been for many years. The dozens of blogs that have already reported this story are replete with personal anecdotes from commenters who have had similar experiences themselves or through their children. All of them write that they did nothing because they thought their experience was an isolated event.
I was shocked when I saw the clip of an interaction between a Cumberland County Schools teacher and her students as posted on YouTube. While neutral discussion of the political process is appropriate, at no time, particularly with elementary students, should a teacher infuse his/her political views into the discussion. Most disconcerting was the military slant that made its way into this discussion. We are a military community, serving over 15,000 military students and their families. We value the sacrifices, not only of the military parents but also those of their families.
We believe that military children are our children, military spouses are many of our employees, and military service men and women are our heroes. We proudly serve our military children and have received national awards for our support of military families.
I was particularly disturbed to see the uncomfortable position in which our children were placed due to the inappropriate actions of one of our teachers. Please be assured that the actions exhibited in this video are not consistent with the vision of the CCS. Moreover, the actions of one teacher do not represent the 7000 employees in our organization.
Once the video was brought to my attention, I immediately launched an investigation. Personnel laws prevent me from releasing information regarding individual employees and personnel action taken. I can assure you that upon completion of the investigation, I will take appropriate action.
Dr. William Harrison
The Left is in control of our educational system, the textbooks written and used, and curricula from daycare to pre-school, from kindergarten to university. It take a bare 15 years to indoctrinate an entire generation and the Leftist have had 30+ years to do their damage. The student protesters of the 1960s are the retiring and senior Master Teachers of today and their third generation of Marxists are in elementary schools now.
Regaining control of our country depends on regaining control of the schools. Every event like the one shown here must be confronted and exposed. Contact the Principal, the District Superintendent, the local School Board, the local press, the PTA, tell other parents, shout it from every hill and mountain top. Do not let this continue.
In this case, contact Principal Lola B. Williams at Mary MacArthur Elementary School, 3809 Village Drive Fayetteville, NC 28304, (910)424-2206, and School Superintendent William C. Harrison at (910)678-2300, Fax: 910-678-2339, 2465 Gillespie Street Fayetteville, NC 28306. Very politely, but firmly, let them know what you think should be done with teachers who are more interested in indoctrination over teaching.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.