Saturday, November 13, 2010

Intolerance in Howell Schools

I was up north on break and saw a couple of interesting stories. First is the latest from Howell Schools.

Thanks to Jay McDowell, MEA leader and Howell teacher, Howell Schools got itself in the news again. It was something that could have been avoided. This was on a day were several wore purple as an anti-bullying symbol. (On a side note, if you want to stop bullying, start allowing self-defense for once. Nothing stops a bully better than a good right hand impacting the jawbone)

I’ll start out with this. Schools aren’t the place for social issue agendas sanctioned by government. That means Superintendents, Principals, other administrators, or teachers. That goes regardless of which side of the issue. Gay rights agendas and anti gay rights agendas do not belong there. Reading, writing, math, history, and science belong there. Facts belong there.

The closest thing to political agendas which belong in class is related stuff lead by a devil’s advocate and neutral facilitator. My current events class (which was during an election year) I took in Brighton was excellent. The teacher there did an excellent job. I found out later that he leaned left, but did not show it in class. He was tough, but fair to all sides, and that’s how it should be. It was also time, place and manner. An economics class is a different deal. It’s not history class. It’s not government class. It’s not current events. (I have to wonder if there’s anything mentioned besides Keynesian stuff in that class)

From what it sounds, one student wore a Confederate Battle Flag belt buckle to class. The flag has several meanings to different people, not all of them symbols of “hate.” It can mean:

1. Rebel. Some fly the flag as a rebel against all authority.
2. Lynyrd Skynyrd or Southern Rock fans. There’s plenty of Southern Rock fans north of the Mason-Dixon line.
3. Southern heritage. There are a sizable number of Southern and Appalachian Transplants and their descendents in Southeast Michigan with the automobile factories.
4. Some indeed use that flag for white supremacy. Those offended by the flag point to this view and refuse to accept others.

While I have no problems with the flag, I won’t fly or wear the flag as my ancestors were union, and became citizens because of the civil war. Although with the politically correct hype these days, I’m tempted to fly that one as well as the Gadsden Flag. Some people need to be tweaked. I won’t fly it, but I love seeing the left get bent out of shape by that flag.

McDowell was offended by the belt buckle and apparently told the student to remove it. Another student compared wearing the belt buckle to someone wearing gay rights shirts (which was against his Catholic Religion) on the day of bullying. McDowell told the person to leave the classroom. This student repeatedly said he wasn’t against gays, just compared the confederate flag to the rainbow flag.

The perception here is that “tolerance” means follow the left’s agenda and the MEA’s agenda. Period. “Conform or be cast out” to quote the Rush song “Subdivisions.” Jay McDowell could have stood up for true tolerance. He failed. Instead, he, as a fairly high ranked big fish in the small pond government official using the power of authority, bullied and was intolerant to views he doesn’t care for.

What should have happened is a lesson in true tolerance in a real neutral tolerant manner.

1. Explain why the flag is offensive to some. Explain other meanings used of the flag.
2. Explain how homosexuality is against some beliefs, and also how people get offended by that.
3. Also mention the recent suicides and why there is a problem with bullying and how derogatory names for homosexuals are a favorite weapon used and how that is unacceptable. The confederate flag has nothing to do with that.
4. Then on to class.

Many MEA supporters wonder why teachers get maligned. Actions like those taken by Mr. McDowell are the reason why it happens. McDowell’s actions, ironically were the same type of actions as those he claims to oppose - Bullying actions. Conform or be cast out.

McDowell was rightly disciplined. Tolerance includes tolerating views which one does not personally support. That's something the left has a major problem grasping.


Mitchell Robinson, Ph.D. said...

the notion that teachers can only cover the limited content of their discipline while teaching is simplistic and absurd, and renders the rest of your "argument" irrelevant. schools would be pretty barren places if all teachers followed your advice.

Communications guru said...

Good for Jay McDowell. There should be no tolerance of bigotry. The Confederate flag may also stand for treason, but the biggest thing it stands for is something that even someone as biased as you can understand.