Last month, the unhinged government school teacher of the month award went to Jay Bennish — a left-wing, anti-war screecher/teacher who used his high school world geography class in the Denver area as a Bush-bashing bully pulpit.
This month, the leading nominee is one Steve White. Like Bennish, this public school teacher reportedly strayed far from his core subject — he’s an eighth-grade science teacher in Alabama — in order to subject his students to his flaming anti-war, anti-conservative views.
As I noted on my blog over the weekend, White showed his class a profane, left-wing video film attacking the White House, Republican politicians and conservative commentators. Posted at filmstripinternational.com, the clip first surfaced on the Internet in 2004. While a song titled "A — hole" warbles in the background, the film derides the president and his Cabinet. The slideshow is a compendium of Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers’ pet causes, complete with paranoid Halliburton references, swipes at the Fox News Channel, and moldy Michael Moore-esque platitudes about Saddam Hussein and the war in Iraq. The Athens News Courier, which broke the story, noted: "The word a — hole is sung nine times and shown on screen 11 times; the s-word is used once and someone is shown ‘flipping a bird’ once."
One parent was livid when she received a forwarded e-mail with the clip. Christy Jackson told the News Courier that when she contacted her son’s principal to complain, she was told White had been "reprimanded." That’s it. In fact, the school district had known about the teacher’s misconduct for a month, and the situation was quietly shunted off to the superintendent as a "personnel matter." One school insider told me the state school board was not notified until after the story broke in the local media last week.
The outrage is not merely that White introduced moonbat politics into his science classroom, but that he compelled his captive young audience to endure personal politics of any kind. The offense is compounded by the teacher’s blatant violation of school rules against obscenity, along with the use of cockamamie Internet propaganda. And according to the parent who spoke up, Christy Jackson, White also subjected her son to a bizarre political ultimatum: "I know of one instance where my son was told he couldn’t leave the room without saying, ‘John Kerry rocks,’" she said. "I think my son is entitled to his opinion, just like (his teacher) is. I don’t think any issue should be forced on my son."
It now appears that White may have used another crude political video downloaded from the Internet in his classroom. In a follow-up story on Tuesday, the News Courier reports that parents told school officials White showed students "an obscene video showing an animated Bill Clinton."
The school district’s refusal to disclose the nature of White’s punishment smacks of partisan special treatment. White just happens to be a Democratic candidate for the District 4 seat on the state House of Representatives. School officials are refusing to take media inquiries about White’s punishment. Limestone County Schools Superintendent Dr. Barry Carroll issued a terse, two-sentence statement on Friday: "The matter at West Limestone is a personnel issue and has been dealt with. There are no additional comments."
But thanks to parents and the Internet, the case is not closed. Like the Bennish story, the White case is spreading across alternative media. Taxpayer-funded school employees can no longer abuse their positions in secret. And the "local" news of public education run amok has been globalized with the click of a mouse.
Sunlight, as always, is the best disinfectant. But if your government schools aren’t willing to clean up the mess, there’s always homeschooling.