Dealing with garbage, part 2


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Darth Ruger
March 11, 2006, 07:47 AM
Here's the update about the situation with my son's anti-gun 1st grade teacher. For anyone that missed it, here's a link to the thread that explained the situation:
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=183770


Sorry for the long delay on this. The last couple of weeks have been very hectic for me and I wasn't able to meet with the teacher until a couple of days ago. My first effort was to set up a time to talk with the principal, but she didn't seem to want to get back to me. So I decided to talk with the teacher. I made up my mind not to go over her head, or get really tough with her, unless she started stonewalling and didn't want to concede to my demands. I kept it very polite and tactful, and wasn't going to pull out my claws unless it became necessary. You'll see some points here where I got a certain feeling from her or she gave me a certain impression, without her actually saying what she was feeling. You'll just have to take my word for it in those cases, since I can only relate what happened through the written word, and no one here was there to interact with her face to face and pick up on the subtle facial expressions, body language, reactions, etc, that often give away certain attitudes in a person. What a person doesn't say, and how they react to what you say, often says much more than the words coming out of their mouth, and in this case, she gave me a very different 'vibe' than she was trying to convince me of with her words.

I started by asking how my son was doing with his work, progress in reading, etc, and got those things out of the way. Then I said I had one last thing to ask her about. I pulled out the paper that started all this and showed it to her.

Me: "When we got to the picture of the gun, Eric crossed it out like this (pointing at the picture). He said you told the class they should do this because you don't like guns. Is that right?"
Her: "Oh, yes, well, that's not quite as dramatic as it sounds (her reaction gave me the feeling that she knew right off the bat that she was up the creek without a paddle, or more specifically, that she 'got caught'. She was clearly uncomfortable with the fact that she suddenly had to defend her actions.) That's just a part of our efforts to not allow the kids to be exposed to violence."
Me: "How does this picture constitute that sort of danger?"
Her: "Well, I've had a couple of instances in the past where there was a picture of a gun on a paper and some of the parents got very upset and raised a red flag about it. So we try to keep pictures of guns and things like that out of the classroom, but I didn't notice this one and it slipped through, so I just told the kids 'Oh, that's not suposed to be there, just cross it out' ".

She was a little too nervous to be honest about "other parents" being behind this. That may have happened in the past, but I felt like she was simply trying to get the heat off herself. I also she knew she was lying, because I grilled my son about exactly what she told the class, and she told them to "cross out the picture because I don't like guns", not because some parents made a fuss about guns in past years. But I didn't accuse her of lying. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and pretended I believed she was being honest, then I proceeded to destroy her illusions with pure logic.

Me: "That's taking the fear of violence a bit too far. How can a simple cartoon picture like that cause a fear of violence in anyone?"
Her: "It's just because there's so much violence in the world today, people get upset when their kids are exposed to it." (She was still missing the point.)
Me: "That's a misplaced, irrational fear that causes further misconceptions and blame to be placed where it doesn't belong."
Her: "Oh, I know. My husband's a hunter! (Yeah, sure. She wasn't very convincing, although she said this several times, trying a little too hard to convince me of it. Even if he is a hunter, it's a common thing for married couples to be on opposite sides of the political fence regarding certain issues, so that didn't mean squat to me. Besides, her husband isn't in the classroom teaching my kid. She is.) It's just a part of the freedom from violence thing. (This part almost made me laugh.) Just like there's no guns allowed in the shool, you know, like the sign out there at the entrance that says no guns are allowed in the school..." (It was pretty obvious that she was suddenly afraid I might be carrying, and she was trying to make sure, without actually saying it, that I knew it wasn't allowed.)
Me: "Yeah, I know. Every school is like that, it's the law. (Attempting to ignore her ridiculous fears and get back to my point...) A physical object can't be evil. The only evil is people who do bad things with those physical objects."

I then proceeded to explain to her the difference between a physical object and an act of violence. The fact that I had to explain this to her and make a clear distinction between the two spoke volumes about her way of thinking. She was being polite, as was I, and seeming to agree with everything I was saying, but it just didn't seem genuine. You had to be there, but her demeanor, reactions, speech, expressions, being a little too agreeable... I kept getting the feeling that she could see the logic in my arguments, but she still didn't want to believe it anyway, but she felt like she had to. That was the 'vibe' I kept getting from her the whole time. Maybe if she were just someone on the street, she would have felt free to disagree, but being my kids' teacher, in a public school... She was more like a deer in the headlights: she knew she was caught and had no choice but to back down. I then used another example. I pointed to a picture of a car on the same paper.

Me: "Here's a picture of another physical object, a car. Every day, cars are used for bad purposes. Robberies. Rapes. Murders. Drunk driving. Transporting victims of murder to dump the body. Transporting stolen guns. Transporting illegal drugs. Carrying out drug deals. Running from the police and killing innocent bystanders in the process. But I don't see anyone complaining about a picture of a car being on this homework paper. I don't see anyone saying that cars are evil and are responsible for so much violence, even though they're used for these purposes every day."

She continued to agree with me, and I continued making position clear.

Me: "I don't think it's okay for a teacher, or principal, or any staff member of a school to bring personal political beliefs into the classroom and influence the kids to feel, think, and react in a certain way to a certain object. My son is here for an education, not an indoctrination. He'll form his own political beliefs as he gets older. If his beliefs differ from my own when he's an adult, that's up to him; as long as he's been allowed to form his beliefs on his own without them being drummed into him at an early age by a teacher that's supposed to be teaching him how to read and write. If a homework paper has a picture of a gun on it and you don't want that in the curriculum, then use a different paper. If some parents, or teachers, don't want to have any pictures of guns in the classroom or on the homework papers at all so it won't even be an issue, I'm fine with that. But don't give him a paper with a picture of a gun on it and then tell him to cross it out because it's bad. That's just plain wrong, it gives kids the wrong ideas about certain things, and it crosses the line about what the school is supposed to be teaching him."

I then asked Eric, who was playing while we talked, to tell her how what she said made him feel, and she told him that he felt like he should get rid of his BB gun. Then I explained...

Me: "The BB gun I gave him for Christmas. His favorite present that he ever got, that I'm using to teach him marksmanship skills and safety, and that we have fun spending time together with." (She seemed to realize how personal it was for me at this point, and she brought up her husband 'the hunter' again, although all she did was mentioned him without offering any details about him.)

Although I've had to condense it here, our discussion went on for a bit, touching on various other things like video games, movies, etc. I used logic to dispel every irrational fear she brought up. She was being agreeable the whole time, although I didn't feel like it was genuine. Still, I had already decided that even if she didn't agree with me or my point of view, I wasn't going to push it any farther than our private discussion as long as she conceded to my demands. I wrapped it up by saying...

Me: "So, since you seem to understand the logic of my point of view and why an irrational fear of a physical object is misplaced and misinformed, I'd like you to do something as a personal favor to me. I'd like you to tell the class tomorrow that crossing out a picture of a gun, or any other object, simply because somone else doesn't like it, is wrong and they're no longer required to do it. If some other parents don't like that and they want to tell their kid to cross it out, that's up to them. That's a parent's decision and they can do that if they want to. But a teacher shouldn't be telling a whole room full of kids that they should do that, because that's stepping over the line into the area of indoctrination, and not all parents are okay with that. Some parents feel very differently about it than others."

She seemed to understand what I was saying and agreed to do what I asked. No threats were made and I kept it very civil, but I also made it clear that I was determined not to let this sort of thing go unchecked and that I wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. Although I never said it, I was prepared to take it as high up the chain of command as necessary and what happened after this would be up to her, and it was obvious that she realized that. I think she also realized that not all parents are going to stand for that sort of thing, and that I was going to be watching from now on. I thanked her for taking the time to talk to me and all that polite stuff and then we left.

The next day, Friday, I asked Eric if she said anything about it to the class. He said she told the class they didn't have to cross out pictures of guns anymore. She didn't explain why, she just said they don't have to do it anymore and all they have to do is fill in the missing letter in the word under the picture, just like all the other pictures. I didn't expect her to explain it to the kids, because that would mean telling them what she did was wrong, and I still think she's anti-gun anyway. But that's okay, I wasn't expecting to convert her. I had already decided that as long as she backed off and agreed to my request, I would consider it one small victory for the future of the kids in her class and just leave it at that. And she did. :D

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critter
March 11, 2006, 08:05 AM
My hat is off to you sir! WELL DONE! Thanks for not ignoring the obvious 'indoctrination' of students and you handled it very well. Not that you 'converted' and anti, but you did chip away at it and in so doing, maybe you helped keep them from being so blatant in influencing those kids in her class.

Preacherman
March 11, 2006, 08:15 AM
Nicely done!

Kingcreek
March 11, 2006, 08:24 AM
Nice job with the teacher but I would rather that conversation had also included a third adult, preferably a principal or supt.

aguyindallas
March 11, 2006, 08:28 AM
Awesome! Very well handled. Now, I will be interested to know if she REALLY did tell the class what you requested.

MrTwigg
March 11, 2006, 09:10 AM
You handled the situation very well and scored a point for our side. Well done sir ! :)

Some folks wouldn't believe that out here in Moose-achusetts a similar paper came out of my son's backpack several months ago. Following your threads caused me to recall this. No "X", no rhetoric, just business as usual. :)

hso
March 11, 2006, 09:32 AM
Well done. You reminded her that personal political/racial/social bias that creeps into the performance of her job is unprofessional and counter to the educator's central purpose without personally attacking her. Excellent job and a model for all of us to follow.

Hemicuda
March 11, 2006, 10:53 AM
GoodOnya, man... you were one HELLUVA lot nicer and calmer than i think I could have been... good work...

trickyasafox
March 11, 2006, 11:15 AM
great work!

Darth Ruger
March 11, 2006, 12:02 PM
Thanks for the comments. If we all stay on top of situations like this when they happen, we might be able to make a real difference in the long run regarding what goes on in the class room.


I will be interested to know if she REALLY did tell the class what you requested.My son told me she did, although like I said before, she didn't elaborate on it to the class, just told them they don't have to do it anymore. I'm sure she knew she had no choice, because she knew I would ask my son if she said anything the next day and exactly what she said. He was a little afraid at first that he would be in trouble if I got the teacher in trouble over this, but I assured him I won't allow anything to happen to him. He's okay with the whole situation now.


...I would rather that conversation had also included a third adult, preferably a principal or supt.I forgot to mention, she also told me she would discuss it with the principal, to let her know about what I considered to be a problem, etc. I got the feeling her mentioning it to the principal won't exactly cast me in such a favorable light as she wanted me to think, but for what it's worth...

Maybe she was just grateful that I didn't go to the principal with it first. :D

olyeller
March 11, 2006, 12:32 PM
great job; thanks for all the time you spent on this.
:)

The Freeholder
March 11, 2006, 06:00 PM
Darth Ruger, you are the man. If I ever have to do something like this, I hope I do half as well.

Hawkmoon
March 11, 2006, 07:27 PM
Darth, I offer my sincere congratulations. You handled that a LOT more diplomatically than I could ever have done.

Larry Ashcraft
March 11, 2006, 07:43 PM
Maybe she was just grateful that I didn't go to the principal with it first.
Good idea. My daughter is a teacher (2nd grade) and she much prefers that any problem a parent has with her, they bring it to her first. You did it right.

Establishing a good rhetoric with both your kids' teachers and principals will go long way in helping your kids' education. We always did (I remember some tense moments) and produced a valedictorian and a salutatorian, and three college graduates. :)

I guess my daughter (the teacher) didn't listen when the professor was handing out the anti-gun rhetoric. She weighs about 100 lbs, has her own 1911, SP-101 and High Standard Sport King, and she loves shooting her brother's .480 Ruger. :eek:

Taurus 66
March 11, 2006, 07:49 PM
LOL, good going. You should have made her write on the chaulkboard 200 times "I am a buffoon and I will never have a student of mine cross out a picture of a gun ever again." :evil:

Standing Wolf
March 11, 2006, 11:04 PM
Well done! Thank you for setting a good example, and thanks for showing us how it's done.

gezzer
March 11, 2006, 11:21 PM
Great job!

1911JMB
March 11, 2006, 11:42 PM
On a similar note, several years ago, a lady named Lynn Rivers was running for Michigan Senate. During one of her commercials, they showed a video clip of her talking to a group of young students, and she was holding a picture of a revolver with a no smoking type of symbol on it. The add then invited people to call her and tell her how great she was. I called her up and chewed her out. She gave me a bunch of crap about "she'd keep my strong opinions in mind." It later turned out it didn't matter at all because she lost to a very pro-gun democrat named John Dingle.

BamBam-31
March 12, 2006, 04:30 AM
Your conduct reflects well on gunowners as a whole. A great example for others to follow. Kudos to you, sir. ;)

entropy
March 12, 2006, 10:45 AM
Well done! Now take that next step and explain to your son that there will be times in his school career that it will seem to him that his teachers and even the curriculum are anti-(a lot of things!) Unfortunately, teaching the basic skills in many curriculi is secondary to social (ist) indoctrination, whether the individual teachers are on board with it or not. Thankfully, some aren't, realize what's going on, and attept to thwart it whenever possible.

Darth Ruger
March 12, 2006, 01:10 PM
Thanks for all the kudos.


Now take that next step and explain to your son that there will be times in his school career that it will seem to him that his teachers and even the curriculum are anti-(a lot of things!)Good idea.

pax
March 12, 2006, 01:23 PM
Thanks for finishing the story. You know we were wondering!

You stayed non-confrontational, you explained exactly what the problem was and why it was a problem, and you told her exactly what she needed to do to fix the problem. And you gave her a graceful way out even when you knew or suspected she wasn't agreeing with you at all.

Good work. :)

pax

Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. -- Jonathan Kozol

Bobo
March 12, 2006, 01:44 PM
Excellent Darth Ruger!
You couldn't have handled it better.
Your son and many other students will be the better for it.
Hopefully, the teacher will think about it a bit more and become more "liberal" (in the true sense of the word).

MedGrl
March 12, 2006, 02:12 PM
Well done. You kept it civil and logical and didn't use personal attacks. Quite often we want to tell some one they are stupid when we actualy think their belife is stupid not the person. My hats off to you for keeping it clean to the point and not a personal attack.

A big +1 to you.:D

sm
March 12, 2006, 02:31 PM
Moderators-

May I suggest we add these two threads to the THR Library please?

Here again is a great example folks could learn by and use as reference.

Regards,

Steve

Old NFO
March 12, 2006, 11:54 PM
+1 on SM- VERY well done!

zastros
March 13, 2006, 03:38 AM
If you haven't done so, I'd consider contacting her and thanking her for saying they didn't have to "X" the pictures anymore. She did meet you at least halfway. (Not that she had that much of a choice, I suppose)

1. It makes you appear gracious [in victory.] You are a concerned father, as opposed to a raving gun nut. (More flies with sugar blahblahblah)

2. This lets her know (subtly) that you are checking up on her.

Nematocyst
March 13, 2006, 04:07 AM
DR, good job. Clearly we're all proud to walk with you about this.

Your story, the way that you interacted with the teacher (with or without a supervisor, and I think the way you did it was fine, given the circumstances) is yet another example of why I have argued for years about the importance of clear, concise, complete articulation of ideas, using correct grammar, punctuation, logic & critical thinking.

I don't know where you gained your mastery of such, but - as a college-level educator who stressed such skills as much at the topics I was teaching (biology & math) - I commend you.

THR rocks. I'm so glad to be part of this forum.

Nem

rayra
March 13, 2006, 05:42 AM
Darth Ruger, congrats on a job well done and I would ram it all the way home by pressing the Principal on the teacher's initial wrong, and the half-right she did to correct it. She strove to indoctrinate children with a rote judgement, then once again utterly fails to teach the very worthwhile lessons of Personal Responsibility, Doing the Right Thing Even When You Think No One Is Watching, AND teaching that what she tried to do to them was WRONG.


And you just know that she's posting on DU or somesuch about "the little Hitler Youth that's spying / reporting on my behaviour in class."


/no insult intended, just mocing her presumptive worldview

gunsmith
March 13, 2006, 07:02 AM
was not inviting her and her "hunter" to the range for some friendly shooting!
:D
Good work, I wish all dads were a good as you.

ravencon
March 13, 2006, 01:16 PM
Avoiding situations like this are another great reason to home school your children.

When I home schooled my youngest daughter (first grade through high school) firearm fundamentals and a couple of trips to the range were included. She didn't develop an interest in shooting, but at least she knows the fundamentals and has experienced shooting first hand.

merk
March 13, 2006, 01:46 PM
Job well done!

one-shot-one
March 13, 2006, 01:46 PM
remember she is not just a teacher, she is an individual too.
she might not be anti, she may have been trying to figure out how to satisfy your concerns without having to have a simular confab with the anti parents at alatter date! what i'm saying is she could be between a rock and a hard place and just trying to keep her job, with no real gun agenda of her own, just playing to the largest preceived group.;)

Nitrogen
March 13, 2006, 01:50 PM
Can I borrow you to try and talk to my anti-gun parents? :D

Seriously, good job. I get a warm spot in my heart whenever someone manages to coax a little light out of an Anti.

V4Vendetta
March 13, 2006, 02:13 PM
I'm glad that you stayed calm & dealt with the problem politely. Keeping calm is key.

JoseM
March 13, 2006, 07:07 PM
Great Job! I really enjoyed reading that!

Darth Ruger
March 13, 2006, 10:52 PM
I really enjoyed reading that!Unfortunately, the teacher didn't enjoy hearing it. :D

Euclidean
March 13, 2006, 10:58 PM
I'm glad to see reason and sanity won out. I remember the last thread and all anyone wanted to do was hang the instructor... Problem solved and all it took was an analogy.

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