Saturday, May 15, 2004
VILLA PARK, Calif. (AP) - At least three teachers have been placed on paid leave following complaints they showed students the videotaped beheading of American Nicholas Berg in Iraq.
Villa Park High School English teacher Stephen Arcudi allowed students to use his classroom computer to see video footage of Berg being executed, school officials said.
The suspended teachers did not force students to watch the video, but seem to have given out web addresses where it could be found and let their students use a classroom computer.
First, this is asinine. High school juniors and seniors can get into 'R' movies -- hell, they can get into NC-17 movies -- and are perfectly capable of finding infinite quantities of deeply offensive material on the Web. Did these teachers really do any harm?
Second, this is appalling. We are a nation at war. If we are going to have a statist, monopoly school system, we might as well use it to educate our teenagers about the purpose of the war, and the enemy we face.
Finally, whatever happened to free speech? What kind of lesson to we teach our children when we discipline teachers for discussing current events?
The culprit here is the Assistant Superintendant of the Orange County Unified School District, Cheryl Cohen. If you object to her action, click here and send her an email expressing your support for the suspended teachers. Of course, be civil: she is only a petty school bureaucrat. But if you agree with me on this, please exercise your Constitutional right to petition government for redress of grievances.