Superintendent Bill Harrison was deluged with phone calls for Harris to be fired.Diath Harris is still teaching at MacArthur Elementary School. An internal investigation, reports The Fayettville Observer, Diatha Harris was cleared of any wrongdoing or violations of state law and Cumberland County Board of Education policy. A letter of reprimand was placed in her personnel file.
The video shows that when student Cathy Thompson said she was backing McCain because her parents were, Harris responded, "Oh, Lord." She later called the war in Iraq "senseless" and told the girl that McCain planned to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for 100 years, if necessary.
"That means your daddy could stay in the military for another 100 years," Harris told the girl, who silently bit her lip.
Harris said the comments on the video were taken out of context and edited to make her look bad, but she apologized to the student and her parents.
"I was wrong for saying that. I was truly wrong for saying that, but I would do nothing on this Earth to hurt this child."
After the election, another MacArthur Elementary School teacher is in trouble for remarks she made in her fifth grade Social Studies class concerning the upcoming Obama administration.
In the latest local incident, Eastover parent Tenesia Jackson accused Mac Williams teacher Melissa Smith of disparaging an Obama administration after pupils voiced excitement at the prospect.I'll go out on a very non-PC limb. The teacher in this case, Melissa Smith, is white and the parent, Tenesia Jackson, is black. Just a guess, though. As we saw in the video of Diatha Harris, she and most of her pupils are black. The target of her abuse, Cathy Thompson, is white. The parents came to the defense of the teacher. In the new case, the students are probably mostly black (it's the same school, after all), and the teacher is white. The parents are not coming to her defense. Hmmmm.
In a complaint to the school system, Jackson’s daughter quoted Smith as telling the pupils “don’t come crying to me” if the taxes paid by their parents go to “a 13-year-old girl for an abortion.”
Jackson said she had hoped that she wouldn’t have to discuss terminating pregnancies with her 11-year-old daughter until the girl was a bit older.
“Kids should not be sitting there talking about abortion,” Jackson said.
Smith’s Nov. 6 classroom comments happened on the same day that the Harris video was outraging Internet bloggers.
The fifth-grader’s parents have come to Harris’ defense. But Jackson said she won’t be defending Smith.
In her complaint to the school system, Jackson said Smith asked pupils hypothetical questions, such as: How would you feel if you were a waitress and a customer gave your tip to a homeless man carrying an Obama sign?
The comments made by both teachers may be seen as inappropriate on their surface. The comments by Harris were the more egregious because they were made in a Math class. Her remarks had nothing to do with the classroom subject. Melissa Smith's comments could have been made in a more sophisticated manner, but the discussion was appropriate to the classroom subject, Social Studies.
What the troubles in the Cumberland County schools comes down to is that a black teacher ragged on McCain and was supported by the parents; a white teacher ragged on Obama and was not supported by the parents. Race issues are alive and well in the all inclusive Democrat counties. Because of it, teachers of any subject are now scared to talk to their students.
“They are scared to talk about current events and controversial issues because of potential negative ramifications and how it might be perceived,” said Kelley O’Brien, director of the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium, which trains teachers to prepare students for responsible citizenship. “But they also know that their students would be so much more engaged.”
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.