November 08, 2008

Pro-Obama teacher brings kiddie McCain supporter to tears

This strikes home for me as a teacher, and it makes me furious how the utter lack of non-partisanship must be emphasized (or not even brought up at all) at ed schools across the country:

A teacher in Cumberland County, N.C. near Fort Bragg (NOTE: she is no longer in Asheville) was caught on tape by Finnish documentarians making a film about Barack Obamaís supporters. The teacher, Diantha Harris, uses the classroom as a propaganda vehicle to shove her politics down the childrenís throats.

Partial transcript:

Harris: We want to talk about the presidential election. I want to ask you, who are you pulling for? Raise your hand.

Student: Obama.

Harris: You pullin for Obama. Who you pullin for?

Student: Obama.

Harris: Any of you pullin for John McCain? Thatís fine, say him as well.

Student: Obama.

Student: Obama.

[Cathy, the daughter of an American soldier answers McCain.]

Harris: John, oh lord, John McCain. Oh Jesus, John McCain. Ok, now I wanna axe you somethin. Why are you pullin for John McCain? Itís ok, but why are you pullin for John McCain?

Cathy: I thinks itís because my parents are going for him too.

Harris: Ok, your parents are going for him. Why are you pullin for Ba-RACK. Barack.

Student: I just want a black president sometimes.

Harris: Ok, you want a black president.

Student: The reason why I want Barack Obama is because heís making good changes in the good country and stuff like that.

Harris: So, heís making good changes for our country. Now can you tell me just a little bit more, like what type of changes? Like not having big fights between Iraq and having soldiers killed. So in other words, Barack is going to end that war in Iraq. What do you all know about that war in Iraq?

[Harris addresses Kathy] Talk, cause yo daddy in the military. Talk. Itís a senseless war! And by the way, Cathy, the person that youíre picking for president said that our troops could stay in Iraq for another hundred years if they need to!

[Camera pans to Cathy, in near tears.]

Harris: So that means that your daddy could stay in the military for another hundred years!

Watch the video. The school's superintendent has responded.

This is just atrocious. And it doesn't surprise me that Ms. Harris, like many teachers today, believe it's OK to pontificate about their personal political beliefs in the classroom full of a captive audience, let alone berate [young] students for theirs.

I've written about this numerous times, but I'll say it again: My student teacher mentor was a hardcore conservative, yet he was dead-set on me never allowing any of my personal views into my teaching, and it was mandatory to cover both sides of controversial political issues in class. Regarding this recent past election, many of my students wanted to know who I was voting for. I refused to tell them. "Ask me after November 4th and I'll tell you who ... and why," I said.

And I did tell them when they asked me November 5th. And even though the vast majority of my students were Obama supporters, they were surprisingly receptive and understanding of my reasons for voting for McCain. I did, of course, emphasize the quite historic nature of Obama's election, and told my students they should feel very fortunate to have lived through this defining moment in American history.

I had seen (in my class and out) various "teenage style" mocking of others based on their presidential preference, and I when I did I would gently intervene and tell the kids to express their views politely and be respectful of others' differing views. Overall at my school, the many student Obama supporters were quite gracious in their victory -- very little of any "nyah-nyah" stuff -- just a general sense of glee and joy.

Posted by Hube at November 8, 2008 08:06 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I handled it the same way..told the kids after the election who I voted for but only in private when kids asked me on the side...However,at our school there was quite the ruckus in the am when the kids got off the bus from a certain segment of the school population...a kind of in your face prompted me to ask the administrator in charge of disciple 'isn't lunch being served for free today!?'

Posted by: cardinals fan at November 8, 2008 11:28 AM

I was a bit suspicious when the "transcript" had words like "pullin" and "axe you a question"...

But this is just another reason why politics make me ill sometimes.

Posted by: Mister Teacher at November 16, 2008 06:08 PM

Yeah, she doesn't appear to say "axe," but she does say "pullin'."

Still don't know why'd you be suspicious, 'tho, since there's a video....

Posted by: Hube at November 16, 2008 06:24 PM