Patterico's Pontifications


Education in America: The Vegan Art Teacher

Filed under: Education — DRJ @ 10:47 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Dave Warwak, a 44-year-old Illinois middle school art teacher, became a vegan in January 2007. Apparently it was a life-altering experience for Warwak in more ways than diet.

Warwak’s commitment to vegan principles was so strong that by mid-September, he had refused to teach “until the school stops serving milk and meat” and removes posters that (presumably) encouraged milk consumption:

“Dave Warwak has been a teacher at Fox River Grove Middle School for eight years. The 44-year-old became a vegan in January and believes the school is “feeding poison” to students. He also believes the school’s posters featuring milk are wrong. Warwak says he won’t return until the posters are removed.

Warwak also admitted that he urged his students to do research about animal cruelty and handed out materials on vegan diets some parents considered graphic. From there, relations between Warwak and the school district apparently went downhill and Warwak was fired:

“The district superintendent and the principal told Warwak to stop sharing his vegan viewpoint. He refused.

Meantime Warwak has threatened a child endangerment lawsuit against the district for failing to inform the students about the health risks of eating meat.
The school board has voted 7-0 to fire him.”

Now Warwak has appealed:

A vegan middle school teacher who vowed to persuade schools to change their menus is appealing his firing. Dave Warwak, 44, of Williams Bay, Wisconsin is asking the Illinois State Board of Education to appoint a hearing officer to review his firing from Fox River Grove Middle School. The teacher was fired after officials complained he had turned his art classes into lectures on veganism.

Warwak had said he would not return to the classroom unless the school served only lunches free of animal products. Saying that meat would remain on the menu, District 3 school board members voted Sept. 24 to fire him.”

Too bad for Warwak that he is an art teacher instead of an English teacher. He could teach vegan principles and animal cruelty material for a semester by assigning Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, and he would probably still be employed.

He looks healthy, though.


23 Responses to “Education in America: The Vegan Art Teacher”

  1. Where are the parents in this? I pack my daughter’s lunch and I don’t give her sandwiches — I give her what she would have had at home, from succotash, to spaghetti with vodka sauce, to pizza, to meatballs, to lamb chops, etc.. She told me that one kid made fun of her lunch one time and I told her if it happened again to say back, “My daddy says I can eat what I want as much as I want”. Where does this little weirdo get off trying to dictate how other peoples’ kids should eat?

    nk (7d4710)

  2. Little weirdo? It’s perfectly normal to make fun of kids who are different.

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  3. I meant the vegan teacher, Daryl. (But I don’t know that I wouldn’t want my daughter to believe that any kid who is not exactly like her is “a little weirdo”. Thanks. I’ll think about it.)

    nk (7d4710)

  4. I supposed he will be ruled “disabled” and will get back pay and special accomodations.

    Patricia (4117a9)

  5. A guy like that, you just want to slap him in the face with a pork chop. Boneless of course, and defrosted, so you don’t actually hurt him.

    Stephen Macklin (68591a)

  6. For crying out loud!!! What next?

    PatAZ (56a0a8)

  7. I understand his desire to do what he thinks is best for the kids – but why drag the school into it? If he explained why he was a vegan without the proselytizing elements, I doubt many would have a problem with it … but this move basically implies that his judgment trumps that of all the kids, all the parents, and all the administrators. What if the guy changes his religion or his political party? Will the entire school need to follow that as well? I don’t get the arrogance of some people … then again, I don’t get some people.

    John Barrett Jr. (241ec0)

  8. Too bad the guy’s such a nutball, it detracts from some of the legitimate issues that come up around school nutrition.

    Itsme (9e7ee6)

  9. This is actually pretty funny – mostly because as I was watching a Discovery channel show on the evolution of man from neanderthal, Alec Baldwin – who was the host – had to make the statement that “the big leap came when man began eating meat – and our brains grew much larger as only could happen by the nutrition from eating animal meat” (paraphrasing despite the quotes). So – in other words – did this guys brain shrink when he went vegan?

    Reptevye (3e75f9)

  10. Kooks who try to ram their beliefs down yer throat are everywhere. Crusaders, idealouges, and “I have to always be right” types…. yeeesh…(shudder).

    I guess being a person with a “cause” is a lot more entertaining and exciting than just being a middle school art teacher.

    EdWood (0be30b)

  11. The guy’s a religious nut — he just happens to have taken veganism as his religion. If he were spending his classes lecturing the students on the “glory of Christ”, there’d be no question that he was out of bounds. Heck, I’d bet the school would have broken records firing him.

    Rob Crawford (ede9d5)

  12. The Brits used to do it better.
    (Sorry for the length, but I doubt it’s available online, and I’ve abridged as much as possible.)
    When Wells, the porter, entered the Modern Sixth room ten minutes before the end of last period, he found Mr. Etherege expounding the technics of demonology and black magic.
    Wells was not greatly surprised at this. Mr. Etherege was one of those leavening eccentrics who are sometimes to be found at a large public school, and he had been at Castrevenford for so long that he now legislated for himself, both as to what he taught and how he taught it. He had a fancy for the esoteric and the remote, and among his more recent obsessions were Yoga, Notker Balbulus, an obscure eighteenth century poet named Samuel Smitherson, the lost island of Atlantis, and the artistic significance of the blues. No boy passed through his hands without acquiring some knowledge of whatever obscure and useless subject happened to interest him at the moment.
    The framers of Educations Acts have little use for such dominies as Mr. Etherege, but in this, as in so many other things, they are grossly impercipient. The fact is that every school requires an advocatus diaboli, and at Castrevenford Mr. Etherege occupied this important position….In a school like Castrevenford a good deal of emphasis is necessarily laid on public spirit, and the thing is liable to develop, if unregulated, into a rather dreary fetish. Mr. Etherege helped to keep this peril at bay, and consequently the headmaster valued him as much as his more sternly dutiful colleagues. His divagations from the approved syllabus were the price that had to be paid, and its evils had in any case been minimized by the removal from his timetables of all important work for examinations.
    Cautiously skirting the mirific sign of the pentagram which was chalked on the floor, Wells delivered the headmaster’s message to Mr. Etherege….Wells departed, and Mr. Etherege commented briskly on the Grand Grimoire until an electric bell, shrilling loudly through the building, indicated that morning school was over.
    Edmund Crispin (pseudonym of Bruce Montgomery), Love Lies Bleeding (1948) (Penguin Books paperback edition, 1982, pp. 24-5)

    For those who have never read the Gervase Fen mysteries, I recommend them; the best ones, such as the Moving Toyshop, Holy Disorders, and Glimpses of the Moon, are not only great mysteries ( but some of the best black comedies ever written.

    kishnevi (72879a)

  13. I think kids might be better served with Mr Gradgrind’s academy (or any of Dickens’s other Yorkshire kiddie pens). Than either the entertaining Mr Etherege, or the barking Mr Warwak.

    For Warwak’s part, the fellow is clearly confused. He has mistaken the prerogatives of the tenured professor, to which he is not entitled, for those of the schoolteacher, to which he is.

    His ilk are common as dirt in the undemanding liberal-arts disciplines (English, soft -ologies, various Angry Studies). Indeed, they’re crowding out real scholarship.

    This guy is actually quite mild compared to, say, Edward Said, Ward Churchill, Henry Louis Gates Jr., or Lani Guinier, to name a few — or their many imitators at down-scale colleges, who tend to be even less able and more strident (funny how those two go together).

    Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien (88bf29)

  14. Seeking to impose any extreme view in personal choices (religon,food choice, sexuality)is essentially child abuse. So this abuser is fired. As it should be. Sadly, some lawyer is going to smell cash here and flex his morals, and help this whacko justify his abuse. I hope not, but I know better. yeeeesh

    paul from fl (7da085)

  15. Honestly?

    I’d have bought my kid cloths about meat, sent him or her to school with piles of jerky, and shown up for conferences chowing down in the biggest hamburger you could ever think to see.

    100% loon, and I hope he doesn’t win his appeal (though it’s Illinois, so I’m not all that confident).

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  16. That vegan wacko must have connections with PETA and PCRM and CSPI to try and force their rediclous vegetarian lifestyle down the throats of those kids their parents should complain about these fools forcing their rediclous ideas on others

    krazy kagu (f674df)

  17. 12 Oct. 2007

    Williams Bay, Wisconsin


    Dave Warwak received a strong warning today from his hometown police, during the town’s annual homecoming parade.

    Accompanied by his dog, Warwak allegedly entered the town’s parade and passed out small cards to children.

    The warning came in response to parent and teacher complaints who were in attendance.

    Police stopped Warwak, escorted him home and instructed him to “stay away from the town’s children”.

    At particular issue with police was Warwak telling children, Santa Claus is not real.

    The card’s front reads:
    Remember the Santa Claus lie?
    One lie is so bad, some people prefer to keep it hidden.
    So hidden, some never find out!
    Do you want to live a lie?

    The back reads:
    Go to your favorite search engine.
    Look-up “Factory Farming” Look-up “Vegan”
    “Naming a rock, a banana, does not make it food”

    A teacher of ten years in Illinois, Warwak was recently fired for his vegan views. Warwak filed an appeal in response to his termination. No date has been set.

    warwak (ea6351)

  18. 12 Oct. 2007
    Williams Bay, Wisconsin

    Dave Warwak received a strong warning today from his hometown police, during the town’s annual homecoming parade.

    Accompanied by his dog, Warwak allegedly entered the town’s parade and passed out small cards to children.

    The warning came in response to parent and teacher complaints who were in attendance.

    Police stopped Warwak, escorted him home and instructed him to “stay away from the town’s children”.

    At particular issue with police was Warwak telling children, Santa Claus is not real.

    The card’s front reads:
    Remember the Santa Claus lie?
    One lie is so bad, some people prefer to keep it hidden.
    So hidden, some never find out!
    Do you want to live a lie?

    The back reads:
    Go to your favorite search engine.
    Look-up “Factory Farming” Look-up “Vegan”
    “Naming a rock, a banana, does not make it food”

    A teacher of ten years in Illinois, Warwak was recently fired for his vegan views. Warwak filed an appeal in response to his termination. No date has been set.


    Adama Speaks interviews Warwak on Atlanta Radio

    warwak (ea6351)

  19. Police take vegan books from children

    FOX RIVER GROVE – A former District 3 art teacher and outspoken vegan embittered over his dismissal has been distributing a 700-plus page book that chronicles his firing.

    David Warwak, 45, allegedly posted a request via the Internet for his former students to meet him at a Fox River Grove McDonald’s after school May 23. He gave numerous copies of the book, “Peep Show for Children Only,” to middle school children, Fox River Grove Police Chief Ron Lukasik said.

    Lukasik said police became aware of the book after a mother complained May 27. The mother said her daughter, along with several other students, was pictured in it. The police since have recovered six copies of the book that were given to District 3 students.

    Police and McHenry County prosecutors reviewed the book and determined that although Warwak did not have permission to include the photos, he would not be charged with any crime. Civil charges could be possible, Lukasik and First Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Carroll said.

    “While we certainly do not condone what he did – we don’t think it was appropriate – … we are unable to charge Mr. Warwak with violation of any criminal statute,” Carroll said.

    Warwak said there was nothing inappropriate about distributing information on veganism, the practice of not eating any animal products.

    “With all the school shootings that happened and the climate of schools today, something has to change, so I offer solutions in the book,” Warwak said. “Humane education is what’s needed. … That’s what’s missing in school.”

    The soft-cover, self-published book – a large, rambling text – is mostly transcripts from various proceedings regarding Warwak’s dismissal last year sprinkled with rants about society’s obsession with eating meat and animal products, such as milk. It also contains correspondences with students.

    The school board said in terminating him last fall that Warwak ceased teaching art and turned his classroom into an indoctrination zone, telling students to keep his teachings secret.

    At least two versions of Warwak’s book exist. Warwak said the one that his students received was a draft. Another is available online for $29.95. The online version is 487 pages long.

    Warwak, who lives in Williams Bay, Wis., said he distributed the drafts to 15 to 20 students. Students, he said, are more receptive to his message.

    “Kids see it because they’re still in touch with their heart, and adults don’t see it,” Warwak said. “Adults, they flip out, and they don’t want kids to even check it out.”

    Warwak said he was not surprised that police looked into the books, but no parents had called.

    “I know that the school was upset, and I know that police were going to kids’ houses,” Warwak said. “Anyone can contact me at any time. I’m not hiding from anyone.”

    Warwak described himself on the back cover of the book as a social critic, humanitarian and philosopher who “just as Scopes changed the landscape of education with his ‘Monkey Trials’ some 80 years ago, Warwak has come forward in present day with striking revelations about our current failing educational system and offers clear no-nonsense solutions that chill one to the bone. This book is for all ages and for all time.”

    An excerpt from “Peep Show for Children Only”:

    “The beef industry knows all about me. They documented my initial emergence on the scene. Funny how they monitor such things. … Too bad these losers can’t control the internet. People are finding out. The gig is up! The internet shall set us free!”

    warwak (73e760)

  20. Brings to mind those atheists who want all references to religion removed from public display. Funny though just how so many citizens buy into the religion the AGW Goracle. Fat Albert won’t even brook any opposition or debate anyone who takes issue with his BS. If he and others of his ilk really believed their own propaganda you’d think they themselves would conserve and not be making windfall profits from carbon credits.

    As far as the practical aspects of vegan lifestyle, I don’t buy accept it at all. I think kids who go without essential complete proteins are malnourished and will have other problems down the road. Not that many of us don’t go overboard with the fat and calories. Most all the women I meet of a certain age are bowlegged sows. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I don’t buy into the BBW thing either. Of course it is grand that some find fat beautiful and maybe there is a lid for every pot.

    madmax333 (c40255)

  21. Fox River Grove parents, your school system is actively keeping gravely serious information from you and your children. People deserve all the information so they can choose wisely about things such as living an extra 10 to 12 years or never having to worry about many cancers, heart attacks or strokes.

    I am simply offering information and have not forced food or beliefs down people’s throats. Imagine if just saying or writing something could force people to change.

    It is not a “personal choice” when you are eating my friends and you are ruining my world. My tax money subsidizes your “personal choice.” When you made your “personal choice,” did you ask the animal if you could confine, torture, and murder him or her? When you made your “personal choice,” did you ask me if I mind all your pollution and devastation? Just because we personally make selfish choices does not make them “personal choices.”

    Humane education reinforced with a vegan school lunch will end school shootings and create a generation that cares. When children see that adults care enough to change, they will care in turn. This is too serious of an issue to leave alone just because some wish to eat unimpeded.
    NW Herald

    warwak (73e760)

  22. Milk on Trial as Cornell Expert Testifies at Fired Teacher’s Hearing
    By Martha Rosenberg
    Jun 23, 2008

    Chicago, IL — The life expectancy of National Football League players might have as much to do with teaching art as the factory farming fired middle school teacher Dave Warwak is accused of teaching.

    But it formed the backbone of Cornell University Professor Emeritus Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s testimony at the Board of Education hearing into the middle school teacher’s dismissal in Fox River Grove, IL, population 5,000, in April.

    NFL players are only expected to live to 56 because “they are dying of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and diet related illnesses,” testified Campbell in defense of Warwak’s classroom charge that animal foods will shorten lives.

    Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, is author, with son Thomas M. Campbell II, of the 2005 nutrition bestseller, The China Study, which links premature death and many diseases to diet and was called the “Grand Prix of Epidemiology” by the New York Times.

    After reading The China Study, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Tony Gonzalez dropped animal products from his diet. testified Campbell, and “this past season he broke the all-time record for the most catches, the most touchdown passes and the most yards gained of any NFL tight end in the history of the National Football League.”

    The China Study also converted Minnesota Twins pitcher Pat Neshek to an animal free diet says a June ESPN report which also cites vegan diets of Detroit Lion Desmond Howard, Miami Dolphin Ricky Williams, former St. Louis Ram D’Marco Farr, Milwaukee Brewer Prince Fielder and Atlanta Hawk Salim Stoudamire.

    Forty-five year old middle school art teacher Dave Warwak was dismissed last fall from the District 3 school system where he had taught for eight years for, “turning his classroom into a forum on veganism,” abandoning the art curriculum and asking students to keep it a secret from their parents according to school board documents.

    What began as a simple be-kind-to-animals project approved by administrators who even participated–marshmallow Easter “Peeps” were made into “pets” to be cared for–got out of hand when Warwak put the “pets” in cages, pots and pans and between slices of bread.

    “The problem was when it turned into a PETA advertisement and it was against the school lunch program,” testified Fox River Grove Middle School Principal Tim Mahaffy at the Illinois Board of Education’s three day closed hearings into Warwak’s dismissal conducted at the Fox River Grove City Hall in April.

    Despite hearing officer Barry Simon’s repeated admonishments that the case was not about whether veganism, “is right or wrong or good or bad,” feeding children animal products was the 300 pound Peep in the room as Warwak, acting pro se, questioned Mahaffy.

    Q: Would you say the school lunch goes against humane education?

    A: I disagree. I don’t see the connection.

    Q: The humane education says be nice to all things; the school lunch says, well, not animals?

    Robert E. Riley (counsel for District 3): Objection. Arguing with the witness.

    Q: Does the school promote meat and dairy one-sided or do they allow other viewpoints on it?

    A: The school is committed to following both the State and federal guidelines for serving school lunches.

    Of course Fox River Grove Middle School is paid to be one-sided.

    Like 45,000 other public middle and high schools in the US and 60,000 elementary schools, it only receives reimbursement from the National School Lunch Program when it pushes milk and life-size Milk Mustache and “Body By Milk” posters adorn lunchroom walls.

    This is the program that served children downer dairy cows, at risk for mad cow disease, until the January recall of Hallmark beef, observes Warwak in a recent memoir about his termination, Peep Show For Children Only, found on

    Yet the pro dairy message on the school posters–which feature sports figures and popular musicians and arrive unsolicited from the National Dairy Council–is misleading and harmful testified Dr. T. Colin Campbell on the basis of decades of his National Institutes of Health-funded research.

    “The consumption of dairy, especially at the younger ages, is a problem,” said Campbell which includes health consequences like higher risks of prostate, uterine, breast and endometrial cancers, osteoporosis and a “threefold higher risk of colon cancer.”

    The health promises about strong bones and healthy bodies on the posters are written by a USDA dietary committee, said Campbell, whose members were found by a court to have conflicts of interests after refusing a Freedom of Information request.

    “Six of the eleven members of the committee including the chair had an association with the dairy industry,” said Campbell. “And the chair himself had taken more money without telling the public about it than he was allowed under the law.”

    The animal rich diet the Fox River Grove’s District 3 defends to the point of firing a tenured teacher might mean kids won’t live longer than the sports heroes they admire, summarized Campbell.

    Arbitrator Simon has yet to make a ruling about Warwak–or the posters.

    Original Text at Food Consumer

    warwak (73e760)

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