Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Today's WTF Moment

In deciding what I am to write about from day to day, I read through a variety of news sources. It was much to my dismay to uncover this story, which is so unbelievably offensive that words nearly fail me at the moment. As a native of Birmingham, I can tell you that the high school referenced in the story I've included below is located in a working class, conservative, predominately white, rural, unincorporated community. That an indefensibly stupid act by a schoolteacher would be found here of all places isn't a tremendous surprise to me. The offense itself, however, is so brazen and inexcusable on all kinds of levels. It sends my blood pressure through the roof to contemplate that local residents are willing to treat it like it's no big deal. Yes, it's no big deal to invoke Presidential assassination for the sake of making a point in class.

A Jefferson County, Alabama, teacher picked the wrong example when he used as­sassinating President Bar­ack Obama as a way to teach angles to his geome­try students.

Someone alerted autho­rities and the Corner High School math teacher was questioned by the Secret Service, but was not taken into custody or charged with any crime.

"We did not find a credible threat," said Roy Sex­ton, special agent in charge of Birmingham's Secret Service office. "As far as the Secret Service is concerned, we looked into it, we talked to the gentleman and we have closed our investigation."

Corner High geometry teacher picked the wrong example, President Barack Obama, to use in a lesson on angles. The lesson resulted in a Secret Service investigation. Sexton said he generally doesn't discuss threat cases, but confirmed his of­fice investigated the inci­dent. No federal charges followed the probe.

The teacher was appar­ently teaching his geometry students about parallel lines and angles, officials said. He used the example of where to stand and aim if shooting Obama.

"He was talking about angles and said, 'If you're in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president,'" said Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class.

I'm not sure what else there is add to that. The story doesn't provide enough additional information to merit much additional speculation without entering the world of baseless conjecture, but what did transpire is offensive enough.

Efforts to reach the teacher for comment Mon­day were unsuccessful.

 Superintendent Phil Hammonds said the teacher remains at work, and there are no plans for termination.

"We are going to have a long conversation with him about what's appropriate," Hammonds said. "It was extremely poor judgment on his part, and a poor choice of words."

Caroline Polk, the parent of a ninth-grader at the school, said she doesn't be­lieve the teacher ought to be fired.

"We all make mistakes, and we should be able to learn from our mistakes," she said. "What he said was just wrong and inappropri­ate. Everyone's got their own opinions, but we have to be aware of our sur­roundings. At this point, it just needs to be handled in a way that it won't be re­peated."

Yes, imagine the outcry if the teacher had alluded to the assassination of George W. Bush. Imagine the right-wing spin machine on Fox News. Perhaps this formerly fine upstanding citizen was a secret Al-Qaeda operative! He deserves to be sent to Gitmo! We all know he was indoctrinating our children with his evil demonic left-wing radical propaganda! Lock him up and throw away the key!

Not a peep out of them this morning. I wonder why.


Joel Monka said...

I doubt there would have been much of an outcry had it been Bush the teacher was using as an axample. After all, there were at least two major books about assassinating Bush, a Hollywood movie, a BBC TV docudrama, and a video game as well. The Governor of Kentucky even made an assassination joke about Bush in public.

Comrade Kevin said...

It depends. So much of news is driven by the righteous indignation or the cold shoulder of the media.