A continuing story of a complaint that a high school teacher preaches conspiracy theory bilge (Loose Change) and Leftist drivel (Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11) in a course purporting to instruct students in U.S. History II (from WWII forward).
In a recent interview with a local high school student, allegations were made that a history teacher's conduct was highly inappropriate. Instead of teaching U.S. History II (from WWII forward), this teacher is alleged to have been salting his classroom instruction with movie clips and internet videos that represent, at best, the lunatic fringe of radical Leftist politics.
As a concerned citizen who is tired of stories about the lunatic Leftist dominance of one college faculty after another, I believed something must be done to stop this nonsense in local public schools. It seemed clear to me that the vast majority of parents would not want their children exposed to the alleged actions of this particular teacher. Understanding the reluctance of parents to take on a teacher who might retaliate against their child in the classroom, I decided to confront this situation directly.
On May 25, 2006, I sent a letter to the accused teacher, his Principal, and his Superintendent of schools, with a copy to the Superintendent of school in my own community (whose students attend the high school where the alleged inappropriate instruction is taking place).
What follows is an edited copy of that letter with the full name of the teacher, the high school, and municipality redacted pending the outcome of an investigation to confirm or discredit the allegations.
I bring this matter to your attention as a taxpaying citizen of [redacted] a sending district to [redacted] High School.
As a graduate of [redacted] High School (class of 1960), I was shocked when a current student recently recounted the classroom actions and statements being made by Mr. [redacted - substituted with "R" in rest of letter]. I vividly recall my years at [redacted] High School and the instruction in U.S. History by [redacted]. In that day students studying current events were exposed to objective news reporting and encouraged to discuss such reports in a fair and unbiased atmosphere. If the allegations by a current student of Mr. "R"’s conduct are confirmed, it would appear that objectivity and an exchange of viewpoints from a broad spectrum are no longer in fashion during instruction of U.S. History at [redacted] High School.
What follows is an outline of the most severe of the allegations:
During the course of the school year (2005-2006), while teaching the subject history course to members of the class of 2007, the following claims were made or actions were taken by Mr. "R":
He routinely attempted to make the current U.S. President an object of ridicule and presented information suggesting our President was stupid.
He showed Oliver Stone’s film about JFK and treated it as if it were fact and not fiction.
He told students anyone who did not believe Stone’s film’s premise that more than one shooter killed JFK and that his assassination was part of a wider conspiracy wasn’t “smart.” Dismissed the Warren Commission findings.
He showed various clips from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and presented the information as if it were true. He presented nothing to balance Moore’s propaganda piece (e.g., he did not include balancing clips from either FahrenHype 9/11 or Celsius 41.11). Note: In describing Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, respected liberal Christopher Hitchens commented: “To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of ‘dissenting’ bravery.”
He presented as facts clips from conspiracy theory film Loose Change that claims, among other things that:
a. 9/11 was a government conspiracy designed to start war with Afghanistan and Iraq.
b. Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon (it was a missile).
c. Flight 93 didn’t crash in Pennsylvania (it landed safely in another airport).
He presents highly biased material from a very extreme Leftist viewpoint and does not present objective history.
He routinely claims the U.S. is only in Iraq to protect the oil industry.
He displayed pictures from Iraq showing dead babies and other civilians implying to students that they were killed by U.S. actions targeted to kill civilians.
He provided no balance to such carefully selected reports -- such as contradictory reports from Iraq revealing the vast majority of peaceful Iraqis support the U.S. attempt to bring freedom and peace to their nation.
He routinely mocks students who disagree with his radical viewpoint.
I believe these allegations, if supported by a thorough investigation, are a clear indictment of Mr. "R"’s qualifications to teach in the [redacted] Public School System. As a concerned taxpaying citizen of [redacted], I request the following immediate steps be taken:
A complete review of Mr. "R"’s lesson plans be performed.
A confidential interview be conducted with each student in the subject course to ascertain the extent and accuracy of the allegations made above. These interviews should require no more than 10-15 minutes per student and should be performed prior to the end of this school year. Students must be informed that whatever they say will be held in the strictest confidence and regarding any statements they should make, their identity will not be revealed to Mr. "R".
The clear picture that emerges from these allegations illustrates a teacher whose conduct goes far beyond any reasonable bounds. Mr. "R" appears to be substituting disreputable propaganda and conspiracy theory for U.S. History. If confirmed, Mr. "R" has abused his position to the extent that rather than enriching, he has potentially poisoned the minds of some of his students. This is unacceptable and robs the students of their opportunity to be exposed to a proper course of instruction in U.S. History II. It also robs taxpayers of [redacted] of a proper education for our high school students.
If student interviews confirm the above allegations, Mr. "R"’s employment by the [redacted] Public School System should be terminated with the end of the current school year. The magnitude of the inappropriateness of Mr. "R"’s behavior goes well beyond any reasonable bounds for serious class instruction and demonstrates without question his lack of suitability to teach any course of instruction in the [redacted] Public School System. His inappropriate behavior far exceeds what mere disciplinary actions could cure.
I spoke of this situation with [redacted], President, [redacted] Board of Education. [redacted] explained the proper protocol for lodging a complaint against a teacher (take the matter up with the teacher, if no satisfaction, then take it up with the Principal, if no satisfaction, take it up with the Superintendent, if still no satisfaction, then take the matter up with the [redacted] Board of Education). However, the exigency of time (coupled with the realization that it is unlikely this teacher will provide a satisfactory response) compels me to notify you of this situation without further delay.
I look forward to an early response to this request.
As this story unfolds, I will provide additional information as new parts of this commentary.
Bob Webster is a descendent of Daniel Webster's father and early American patriot, Ebenezer Webster. Bob has always had a strong interest in history, our Constitution, U.S. politics and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican ("little r" republican) with objectivist and libertarian roots, he has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for every high school student so they can understand the dangers of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.