Patterico's Pontifications


Scattered Idiocy in Our Public Schools (And From Keith Ellison)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:47 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Once again the brilliance of our pubic public schools has been demonstrated by a pair of special stories about the brilliance of our school administrators.  Lord knows, it would be a not good, very bad idea to give kids vouchers that might allow them to escape the sheer competence of our school administrators.

First we have a group of kids who call themselves the Christmas Sweater Club near me in Haymarket, Virginia, who like to sing, spread Christmas cheer and candy canes.

So clearly they are dangerous hoodlums.  And those Candy Canes?  Clearly they are weapons:

Skylar Torbett, also a junior, said administrators told him, “They said the candy canes are weapons because you can sharpen them with your mouth and stab people with them.” He said neither he nor any of their friend did that.

By that logic, a pencil is a weapon…  Wait, maybe I shouldn’t say that.  They might ban pencils, too.

Of course you can watch a short video report on the story, here:

And if you watch the video you will hear that the administration also argued that not everyone wants the Christmas spirit spread around, that suicide rates go up this time of year and so on.  So then you realize we have a true rarity here: a collision between gun free school stupidity and anti-Christmas politically correct stupidity.   A two-fer!

Meanwhile, apparently in Brookline, Massachusetts, they hadn’t been saying the pledge of allegiance in their schools, so they chose to bring it back in the most ham-handed way possible:

A Brookline public school is bringing back the Pledge of Allegiance next month — and the principal is asking parents to fill out permission slips before their children participate….

On Monday, Devotion Principal Gerardo J. Martinez sent a letter to parents telling them that the school would begin weekly recitations next month of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag that he’d lead over the public address system.

He said teachers and students can’t be mandated to participate in the pledge under the Constitution, and called it a personal choice to participate.

“I urge you to have a conversation as a family to help your children understand why I will be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and to support them in feeling comfortable and confident in the decision on whether or not to participate,” Martinez said in the letter.

Indeed, this is what the letter looks like:

Yes, that is right, before your child can recite the pledge, you have to sign a permission slip.  Now it is true that the Supreme Court has said that no kid can be forced to recite the pledge against the wishes of his parents.  That was decided in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette in dealing with a straight armed “flag salute,” where the facts alone should create an appropriate sense of discomfort.  From footnote 3 in that case:

The National Headquarters of the United States Flag Association takes the position that the extension of the right arm in this salute to the flag is not the Nazi-Fascist salute, ‘although quite similar to it. In the Pledge to the Flag the right arm is extended and raised, palm Upward, whereas the Nazis extend the arm practically straight to the front (the finger tips being about even with the eyes), palm Downward, and the Fascists do the same except they raise the arm slightly higher.’

Well, glad they cleared that up.

But the Supreme Court has never said a school has to get affirmative permission from the parents to allow the students participate in the pledge.  It is perfectly constitutionally permissible, for instance, for the dissenting student to be the only one in the room seated while everyone else takes the pledge.  Unlike in religion clause cases, the Supreme Court is perfectly comfortable with the idea of the school clearly endorsing a thing like the pledge and even making life a little uncomfortable for those who are unwilling to take it.  And bluntly, unless you are a Jehovah’s witness, or have some other issue like that, where it is not from a lack of patriotism that leads you to object, but merely having a tangential objection (the Jehovah’s witness in Barnette considered the salute to be idol worship and expressed a willingness to speak an alternate pledge which was equally patriotic but not troublesome to their faith), I don’t have a lot of sympathy for you.  If you don’t love this country, why are you here?

But it gets even dumber than that, with the ACLU managing to beclown themselves:

But Sarah Wunsch, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union in Boston, said she hasn’t heard of another school using permission slips to handle the pledge.

“It suggests that this is a decision for parents alone. Are they going to enforce that?” asked Wunsch, calling the use of permission slips “really strange.”

She said that the permission slip raises the issue of what would the schools do if a student’s wishes differ from his or her parents.

“I think that’s really strange that they’d do that… even children don’t lose their right of expression simply by walking into a schoolhouse’s doors,” said Wunsch, herself a Brookline resident.

Mmm, yeah, in fact it is and should be up to the parents to determine their children’s upbringing.  Indeed the Supreme Court has said that parents have a right to control their children’s upbringing in a string of cases on the issue of privacy, that were used to justify even the right to contraception, abortion and gay sex.  That was why Michael Newdow lost his case challenging the Pledge of Allegiance.  In that case, Elk Grove Unified School Dist. v. Newdow, Newdow had claimed he had standing to sue because as the father of a girl in public school he was injured in his ability to instill his atheism into his daughter by those dreaded words “under God.”  But, the Supreme Court correctly explain that the problem with that claim was that he was divorced from the mother and she had been granted custody of the daughter and thus “the custodial parent undoubtedly has the right to make ultimate decisions concerning the child’s religious upbringing.”  Newdow retained the right to talk to their child about his faith, but the mother could enroll their daughter in a religious school for all she cared, and he couldn’t do a thing about it.  Therefore he had no power to control his child’s upbringing, and had no right to sue for the School supposedly infringing on it.

But if the ACLU is confused about parents’ right to actually, you know, teach their children values, so is at least one of the parents sampled in this article:

“It’s uncomfortable. The pledge is a promise, and I’ve always taught my kids to think very carefully before making any promise. It’s not a decision I want to make for them,” said Judi Puritz Cook, who has two sons at the Devotion School….

She said she supports the school’s efforts to be inclusive of everyone, and feels that restarting the pledge after at least seven years was contrary to that.

“We’re celebrating diversity and including people… and then to be the one sitting there, waiting for the pledge to finish, [that] doesn’t feel inclusive,” said Cook, who later noted, “Yeah, it’s weird. That’s the right word for it.”

Yes, it is weird to suggest that people pledge allegiance to their own country.  God forbid we do that.

Ah but then again maybe this won’t be a problem if “God, willing one day the border will become an irrelevancy,” right, Representative Keith Ellison?

Yes, the idiot really said that.  And people really agreed.  Jesus wept.

Hat tip: The Blaze, Instapundit.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

46 Responses to “Scattered Idiocy in Our Public Schools (And From Keith Ellison)”

  1. Your mentioning ham offends me as a Muslim.

    And don’t even get me started on that Monty Python “Spam” sketch.

    A boy in La Linea, Cadiz, Spain (890cbf)

  2. You think the violence is bad now, just wait until the Super Bowl!

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  3. sending your kids to pubic schools these days is a form of child abuse.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  4. Since Ellison’s joined at the hip with CAIR, the only God he recognizes is Allah and his will. You could also include the idiot local League of Women Voters rep here who lost her temper after the audience started to recite the pledge of allegiance before a debate, despite her express wish for them not to do so.

    Here’s a short vid of what happened:

    Immediately after the pledge she lectured the crowd on disrespecting her.

    Now here’s the cowardly Women’s League rep who also happens to be a public school teacher, naturally. Funniest moment is when some douche tries to stop the questioning, then another taxpaying citizen asks him if this is what she pays them her tax dollars for, and what are the schools teaching her children if they can’t even allow the pledge of allegiance to be said before a public meeting?

    BTW, the debate was between the excreable Melissa Bean and her opponenet Joe Walsh, who had next to nothing in financial support, because he was backed by the Tea Party here and the GOP was too feckless to give him anything. He WON, anyway!

    Dmac (498ece)

  5. Based on the Devotion School’s Vision Statement, sending permission slips for children to say the Pledge of Allegiance seems about right.

    ACADEMIC—We work hard so we can become smarter. We take risks as learners. We communicate effectively: orally, in writing, and through technology.

    COMMUNITY—We make sure everyone feels physically, emotionally and intellectually safe. We give and receive respect. We have compassion for one another. We contribute to our school, our community, and to our world. We establish and maintain healthy friendships.

    WHOLE PERSON—We are confident in our abilities. We love to learn and strive to become lifelong learners.

    And on a side note:

    It enjoys an international reputation: historically, it is the public school that President John F. Kennedy attended; academically, it welcomes students from all over the world, and socially, it reflects and respects human diversity. Devotion 3rd graders honor the memory and legacy of John F. Kennedy by engaging in a four-week study in collaboration with the JFK National Historic Site which culminates each year with students reading essays and poems about what JFK means to them.

    A parental failure – I never once asked my own children what JFK meant to them!

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  6. So these freeloaders that sit out the pledge don’t want to honor those that pay for their schooling.

    To the education industry that makes sense.

    Birdbath (8501d4)

  7. Home of the brave, indeed. Spineless school bimbos.

    Icy Texan (b86223)

  8. Dana – I think you should do an interpretive dance about your failings.

    JD (07faa1)

  9. I object to the Pledge of Allegiance, because it’s a piece of socialist/collectivist propaganda, written by Edward Bellamy’s brother in order to indoctrinate children away from the true American values of individual liberty. If you want to promote patriotism, have the kids recite the national anthem; especially the last verse: “And thus be it ever…”.

    And for God’s sake (literally) please don’t introduce flag worship ceremonies that wouldn’t look at all out of place in any pagan temple. I love the company, not the logo; the land and the people and the ideals, not a piece of cloth that’s merely a sort of shorthand for those things. Venerating a flag makes no more sense than doing so to a map. And either one is no different than worshiping a statue that’s allegedly of God, but which is treated as if it were itself that God.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  10. The Sweater Club incident is very representative of how the fear-mongering nannies in charge are running amok with reasonable common sense becoming but a memory.

    And to think these are high schoolers – some of who are able to enlist in the military, carry a loaded weapon, and serve their country… but look out for those deadly 2 inch candy canes!

    Best comment from the article,

    In a related incident, several trespassers described as “small, suspicious looking gingerbread shaped men” were detained in a school cafeteria where they were milk-boarded for several minutes before the administration determined they were not a threat to the elimination of any type of enjoyment of the holiday season.

    “We want all pastries regardless of their orientation to feel welcome on our campus without the threat of being looked at hungrily as if they were common deserts,” said an unnamed administration member.

    “We want the community to know that we support gingerbread men and women of all orientations and find the act of milk-boarding offensive and call for a congressional investigation.”

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  11. Drat! All those years ago when I taught silent weapons, I never even considered candy canes! But I did teach the proper technique for using a #2 pencil to kill someone. The same techinque will work for a Bic pen but . . . a candy cane? Maybe those educators know something! Not how to educate students but how to recognize improbable weapons. Suggestion – switch educators with TSA employees. Both operations just might improve.

    Longwalker (996c34)

  12. If you don’t love this country, why are you here?

    This seems too easy … because they were born here. I would also accept ‘everybody has to be somewhere’.

    Counterfactual (b2304e)

  13. So how many licks on a candy cane does it take to create a weapon?

    PatAZ (b334e9)

  14. Comment by Milhouse — 12/22/2010 @ 1:44 pm
    And people wonder why the absolutist-libertarian message just rolls over people, never gaining traction.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  15. I’ve wondered whether the flag or the republic is the sticky wicket for them.

    narciso (6075d0)

  16. The Brookline School Principal has sent another letter.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  17. DRJ

    Thanks for the heads up. I am amused by it.

    Aaron Worthing (b8e056)

  18. AD-RtR/OS! People wonder how socialism gained such traction; the answer is obvious, when people elevate the likes of Bellamy into heroes.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  19. Actually there is very little of Bellamy’s penchant for socialism that can be discerned in the pledge,

    narciso (6075d0)

  20. My aunt and uncle lived in Brookline and raised my cousin there. It was such a nice place back then….

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! — 12/22/2010 @ 3:38 pm

    It’s not really a libertarian issue so much as it’s a religious one. When you’re raised in a radically anti-iconic religion, there are a lot of practices that seem normal to the mainstream but which verge on the forbidden-because-it’s-idolatrous to me. For instance, if the Pledge did not contain that phrase “under God”, I would feel it forbidden to say it–but that phrase, by acknowledging the United States to be subordinate to the Master of the Universe, makes it okay. (You’re talking to a person whose mother took him into St. Patrick’s Cathedral as a boy with the explanation that she wanted me “to see the idols”. Her exact words there–she meant the statues of the saints inside the church.)

    BTW, I think the quasi-fascist salute got lost over the years. When I said the pledge (every morning, for every day I was in school for twelve years, no hint that it was voluntary), it was with right hand over my heart, left hand by my side, standing erect. This was both in Massachusetts (not Brookline, but Stoughton, another suburb of Boston you may have heard of because it’s the HQ of Reebok and some other shoo/sneaker companies) and Florida.

    kishnevi (3a3033)

  21. shoo/sneaker

    Shoe/sneaker. You’d think I would know how to spell what I sell for a living, but my brain obviously has other ideas.

    Speaking strictly as a person who works in retail–by the time December 25 rolls around, I’m always ready to make the argument that Scrooge shouldn’t have changed his mind.

    kishnevi (3a3033)

  22. Narciso, on the contrary, the very idea of the pledge is collectivist. It’s no accident that nobody came up with it until Bellamy.

    And pledging anything to the flag itself, rather than to the republic, is idolatrous. Read the words: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States, and to the republic for which it stands”. How many objects is that? One or two? What does that “and” mean?

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  23. Milhouse, the Pledge was written in a different time, after a difficult experience that came close to putting a permanent rend in the fabric of the Republic; a time when in the smoke and confusion of battle, one looked for the Flag to give one his bearings.

    AD-RtR/OS! (375bbb)

  24. Looking at the letter, I don’t see the form as a permission slip. The letter and form don’t say you have to give permission for your child to recite, or not recite, the Pledge.

    Nels (3e56d7)

  25. AD-RtR/OS!, the pledge was written a whole generation after the war was over. Do you really think it’s an accident that nobody proposed such a thing until it took a socialist propagandist to come along and do so?

    In any case, idolatry is idolatry, whether in 1311 BCE or 1892, or 2010. I bear allegiance to the republic, but I will not do so to a piece of cloth, or to a map or a logo. If someone needs a golden calf to give him his bearings, he’s a pagan.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  26. “Yes, it is weird to suggest that people pledge allegiance to their own country.”

    I don’t care for the pledge too much. It’s too close to a blind oath of obedience. If it said “I pladege allgiance to the Republic of the United States of America as long as the Republic secures the rights of those it governs…”, then I’ll pledge. Otherwise, no. And you can leave the flag part out. I don’t pledge allegiance to flags, period.

    And, kids are too young to pledge allegiance to anything. When you’re old enough to sign a contract, then you can start thinking about pledging allegiance to nations. Making kids say the pledge is brainwashing…and, I don’t like that.

    Dave Surls (834282)

  27. To think that Massachussetts was one of the Twelve Colonies, and Boston was where it all started…

    Fish indeed rots from the head down.

    Triumph, in constructive mode (0692b1)

  28. Triumph

    um, its 13 colonies. but there were twelve colonies in BattleStar Galactica…

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  29. “to the republic for which it stands,” Surls. There is a big difference between pledging allegiance to the government and pledging allegiance to the nation.

    Icy Texan (b86223)

  30. Virginia was the Cylon colony, and a lot of people don’t count it.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  31. Dustin

    a colony full of boomers and cylon #6’s? no wonder I like living here!

    (joke based on the new BSG, not the old one, where the women are hot as hell.)

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  32. Read the words: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States, and to the republic for which it stands”. How many objects is that? One or two? What does that “and” mean?

    Purely as a grammatical consideration, and not weighing in on the question of idolatry since I would never presume to get between a man and his obsessions, the use of “and” in this context is not necessarily a conjunction. In fact, most people perceive it as an epexegetical construction, so that the second part of the phrase is explanatory of the first. The second phrase (“the republic for which it stands”) is obviously the main point. Such a use of “and” is well known in many languages.

    More to the point – everyone else who ever recited the Pledge understood it right away… except you.

    Gesundheit (cfa313)

  33. I bear allegiance to the republic, but I will not do so to a piece of cloth, or to a map or a logo. If someone needs a golden calf to give him his bearings, he’s a pagan.

    Well, I guess that settles it, then – our founders were pagan worshippers and absolute monarchists – in – training. Good to know.

    Dmac (498ece)

  34. I’ll just add that those who object so strenuously to this citation tell us a lot more about themselves than it does about the issue itself.

    Dmac (498ece)

  35. BTW, those marines who died after hoisting the flag on Iwo Jima were just suckers doing a fool’s bidding.

    Dmac (498ece)

  36. In God We Trust. What does that mean? It means that we trust the concept of each individual being created with the same rights, which is the basis of our imperfect, yet awesome, republic.

    It’s not that we ‘need’ the reference. It’s that we want it. We let people worship or not worship as they see fit, but this country’s ideas are based on morality that goes beyond what you can prove on a scientific level (this seems so obvious to me).

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  37. It is not at all surprising to find really stupid bureaucrats in the public schools. I well remember that my first contacts with bureaucratic behavior were at an early age in public school. Although we can find the same sort of thinking in such institutions as the IRS or DMV , the bity brained bureaurats have always infested our schools.

    Bar Sinister (4d83c8)

  38. #34, our founders didn’t worship the flag. Or pledge allegiance to it, or to anything. It took a socialist propagandist to do that.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  39. #37, “In God is our trust” means exactly what it says. It certainly does not mean “we trust the concept of each individual being created with the same rights”. God is not a concept, He is a Person, Who hears and answers prayer, Who punishes wrongdoing and rewards virtue, and by Whose providence this republic has prospered. We trust Him to look after us. At least, that’s what Francis Scott Key meant when he wrote that line. And it’s what our republic’s founders believed.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  40. milhouse

    complaining that a socialist wrote the pledge is like the lamers who complain that christmas was taken from saturnalia. the fact is that christmas is a great holiday, wherever it came from, and the pledge is a good thing, even if a dirty socialist wrote it. it doesn’t exactly endorse marxism, indeed that whole bit about liberty goes against it.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  41. Mark Steyn is sitting in for Rush and just got off the phone with a woman who first condescendingly announced she was an educator. Just so he knew he was speaking to someone who knew

    She proceeded to lecture him that he needed to think in a more bipartisan manner because otherwise there can be no peace. Steyn in his usual laid back sly manner commented how he remembered that before educators came along, there was a thing called education.

    Spot on.

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  42. Aaron, on the contrary, it is inherently collectivist, which is why none of our founders came up with such an idea. It’s all about indoctrinating children to subjugate themselves to the collective; to the corporate state, if one may still use that term correctly. The “liberty” Bellamy had in mind was not individual liberty; it’s more along the lines of “Arbeit macht Frei”.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  43. Milhouse

    maybe he intended by double secret meanings to be collectivist, but i don’t see it in the words, and its not what anyone understands when they say it. If you say liberty to most americans, they think of it just like I do.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  44. After I played the story about the candy cane criminals a series of new stories appeared, including one follow up.

    Apparently the school officials are saying that they kids were punished because they were “causing a disturbance” and “throwing the candy canes at people as hard as they could and hitting them in the face”, and saying things like, “Merry ______ Christmas”

    A group of threee students who stated they witnessed the event claimed there was nothing wrong, that they were tossing the candy canes underhand, etc., one of the 3 being interviewed lloked like he could be Arabic and had an Islamic sounding name.

    They also interviewed another student (singular) who also looked like he could be Arab with an Islamic sounding name (FWIW), who said he “had several friends who were hurt with red marks on their faces” from being hit with candy canes “thrown as hard as they could” (quotations all paraphrased).

    It sounds like some grown-ups are needed at the school (acting like grown-ups as well).

    Odds makers say the administration over reacted while some of the students went overboard (can you imagine 10 high school boys doing something and not one getting carried away?).

    Teenager,(noun) Def.- a human between the ages of childhood and responsible adulthood. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of Teenagers says you can know where a teen is, but at any given minute you don’t know whether he/she will display the characteristics of a (over-sized) child or a responsible adult. Some have been observed to switch back-and-forth within picoseconds.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  45. His letter was a plea for somebody to complain so he would have an excuse to kill the policy because if just one person had an objection then he could say it was divisive, and he could blame them while claiming neutrality.

    dunce (b89258)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2276 secs.