Boulders For Brains

Like many of you fellow Longmont residents, it gets old having to endure our city from another planet to the southwest. The latest nonsense, also known as “par for the course”, was a mandatory assembly at Boulder High School put on by CU’s Conference on World Affairs.

I haven’t seen any coverage or comments in Longmont’s Daily Times-Call, and if I missed it, sue me, I have a life. There’s been some coverage by the Rocky Mountain News, but not a whole lot anywhere else.

If you are easily offended, skip the next section as I’m going to repeat some of the quotes used in this assembly. Keep in mind, this was intended for kids as young as 14, and they had to attend, it was not optional.

So, here’s what passes for acceptable public education, Boulder-style: “I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately”

“I want to encourage you to all have healthy, sexual behavior.”

“We all experiment. It’s very natural for young people to experiment with same sex relationships…certainly probably one of the most appropriate sexual behaviors would be masturbation.”

“That’s the thing they don’t tell you about condoms. If you’re lucky enough to get them on, and you still stay hard, it’s hard to stay hard. And another thing, it doesn’t feel as good.”

“Even today, there are psychiatrists who will do sessions under the influence of ecstasy. If I had some maybe I’d do it with someone…”

I get no joy repeating that swill, and since I’m not a tabloid reporter, I don’t get paid to do so. Just thought you’d like to know. Pretty self explanatory, you be the judge.

The school and the district are running from the press on this one, at first acting outraged, then defending it. But regardless if you think this behavior is acceptable or not, and I feel sorry for you if you do, is this an appropriate use of our tax dollars?

Are school representatives beyond question about what our children are exposed to? In our dealings with local school officials, they do act above any possible scrutiny and how dare we ask questions about our own kid’s education. Sounds like these Boulder types are no different.

Personally, I see this as just another attempt by the schools to drive a wedge between parents and their kids. I’ve seen it over the years as a student and as a parent. Step by step, that’s how these types work, gradual indoctrination. In another era, taken a little further, this had another name – Hitler Youth!

Extreme comparison? Not as much as you think. Others, including some of the students, have said these clowns were trying to be “cool”, to speak at their level. I’m not going to give them that easy way out; there was a clear agenda here.

I haven’t seen the St. Vrain Valley School District weigh in on this, and I’m publicly asking them to take a stand, one way or the other. There’s plenty of committee’s, departments, and board members – anyone will do. We aren’t paying you to be politically correct or to ride the fence. I’m sure the Times-Call would be more than willing to give you a large space on their editorial page, use it. Your silence on this issue will signal solidarity with your despicable Boulder counterparts.

Freedom of Speech, Unless You Teach

Attached is an image of the Bill Of Rights. I know, some of you have to turn your heads or cover your ears and yell “la la la la”, but here, in part, is the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”
How might this apply to the recent story of a Longmont teacher under fire? (Daily Times-Call 3/23/07 ” Global warming on trial“) The newspaper was exercising their “freedom of the press”, also part of the First Amendment, in reporting the story. The students were expressing their freedom of speech, in a lively debate and mock trial on this issue. The teacher and CSU student aide were expressing their freedom of speech and agreed that they presented both sides equally. The teacher even explained his neutrality in the classroom on the subject to a parent. So far so good.

The teachers freedom of speech, apparently, has its limits. Even though he threw in the disclaimer ” What I think is not the issue. It’s what the students dig up and how they present the case“, it was the following statement that got all of the attention: ” I don’t believe in Darwinism…” First thoughts that came to my mind were the lines from a song:” I don’t believe in Bible / Jesus / Kings / Elvis / Kennedy.” To many, these words are inspired, enlightened phrases, and artists should be protected enough to utter such things freely. Others may find these words, dare I say, religious or spiritual, equally worthy of encouragement and protection. The above citizen was exercising the full range of his First Amendment rights. But this was British subject, non US Citizen (at that time), John Lennon. A true genius, but not a PhD, and definitely not a grade school teacher. Double standard? But I digress.

With that one comment, this teachers detractors pounced and threw out the baby, the bathwater, the bathtub, and the bathroom. The vitriol is beyond belief as it’s escalated way past civil disagreement. Are these detractors First Amendment rights covered when it drifts into libel and slander? I won’t repeat some of the vile namecalling and attacks on this teacher and his family, you’ll just have to trust me or look it up yourself. Oddly, these are the same people that usually scream the loudest for their right of freedom of speech, but you better not disagree with them. I’ll also point out that much of this started before the second article ran (Daily Times-Call 3/27/07 ” Debunking Darwin“), where the teacher probably sent these people right over the edge.

The attack then switched to a book (and its cover art) the teacher wrote totally outside and separate from his school work. “District standards” (an oxymoron worthy of another discussion) being what they are, make it pretty clear what can and cannot be taught in our government schools. Has there been any evidence that this teacher has brought his outside opinions into the classroom? Appears that he’s gone pretty far not to bring his beliefs into the teaching environment. Which brings us back to the First Amendment. Above and beyond these so-called district standards, after covering the material required, are teachers barred from exercising any First Amendment rights? Namely speech and religion? Don’t give me the “wall of separation” nonsense, unless you can find that in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights (you can’t, it’s not there).

The question is which example do we want taught to our children: Keep your mouth shut and follow the rules no matter if they’re fair or just? That only certain free speech is acceptable (not including yelling “fire” in a theater of course)? Or that you should get multiple sides to the story, question and debate, and draw your own conclusions? The last example is pretty close to what was reported in the 6th grade debate. It is ironic that this whole episode sprouted from the topic of global warming, only in that many call it the “new religion”. Or is that debate also closed for discussion?

Personally, I see a possible First Amendment battle in the making. If not here by this teacher, perhaps somewhere else with another one. First, harm has to be shown to get that ball rolling. Since this teacher is soon retiring, his firing is unlikely. Keep your eye on this subject, it’s far from over.