Unintended civics lesson

Teacher exhibits frightening view of U.S. system of governance

It was like something from a different country, a different political system. A frightening one.

It still is.

Remember a few years ago when a New Jersey grade school teacher taught her students to literally sing Barack Hussein Obama’s praises?

“Mmm, mmm, mmm – Barack Hussein Obama,” the kids chanted, between verses explaining all the wonderful things he would do – one of the verses seeming to parrot the song Jesus Loves The Little Children, but substituting Obama’s name.

It’s the kind of “Dear Leader” political indoctrination that
totalitarian regimes are infamous for.

Similarly, and more recently, a teacher in a North Carolina high school used her “fact of the day” to attack Republican presidential nominee-to-be Mitt Romney – and then shouted down students who dared to suggest equal scrutiny of Mr. Obama.

“You will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom!” she angrily scolded the students.

“I’ll say what I want,” one student protested.

“Not about him, you won’t,” the teacher insisted.

But lest you think she was defending the office of president – guess again. When reminded by students that President George W. Bush also was criticized roundly, the teacher said that Bush actually deserved it.

A family newspaper can’t repeat the language that was used in that exchange.

Worse yet, the teacher told the students that others had been arrested for speaking ill of Bush – a lie, of course, and a clear threat to anyone who might utter the least critique of her favorite president.

You might understand how someone who says such things might not know the Constitution.

The school district in question, Rowan-Salisbury, released a statement last week indicating it “expects all students and employees to be respectful in the school environment and for all teachers to maintain their professionalism in the classroom.” Yet, initial reports indicated the teacher would not be disciplined. Monday, however, after audio of the incident went viral on the Internet, the Salisbury Post reported the teacher, Tanya Dixon-Neely, was placed on suspension with pay pending an investigation.

There’s not much to investigate. How could a teacher so badly misconstrue our Constitution? How could a school district knowingly retain such an inappropriate, incompetent, ill-informed and blatantly partisan teacher?

The audio recording of the incident provides indisputable evidence that she was not only unprofessional but rude and nearly out of control in her defense of the president.

Nor is it even her place to defend the president, particularly in such a biased way. But if her defense of the president was out of line, it was also over the top: All the students did was suggest that Mr. Obama could be subject to the same scrutiny and criticism as Mr. Romney.

Bizarrely, the teacher
posited that a candidate could be criticized, but a sitting president could not be.

This is social studies?

In what country?

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