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Old 06-21-2010, 09:33 AM   #1
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Teachers Disciplined For Silent Anti War Protest

They're not "unpatriotic"-but to do that to students at that time and place, really not the most appropriate choice. I think the students and others were giving a standing ovation for the students who were entering the military, not for "militarism". Why should their achievements be honored in some sort of segregated way, apart from the other students?


Cape Cod Times

By Cynthia Mccormick
cmccormick@capecodonline.com
June 18, 2010

Two Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School teachers who held an anti-war sign during a senior assembly last week are facing disciplinary action.

D-Y world history teacher Marybeth Verani and English teacher Adeline "Carrie" Koscher have been put on paid administrative leave until the end of the school year June 24, Verani said yesterday.

In addition to the paid leave, Verani said she has been given an unpaid suspension for the first 10 days of school in September. Verani said she did not want to comment on what further discipline Koscher might be facing.

Verani and Koscher conducted a silent protest during the part of the assembly in which school officials recognized graduating seniors entering the military.

Verani and Koscher stood up on the bleachers and displayed an "end war" sign while a school resource officer made opening remarks about six students entering the military. They sat in the audience while the names of the students were being announced and remained seated when the assembly rose to give the students a standing ovation.

Before last night's district school committee meeting, Supt. Carol Woodbury declined to comment on the protest. She said any discipline of the teachers is a confidential personnel issue.

Woodbury said the school committee began working on a freedom of speech policy earlier this year and that effort is ongoing. But whether the policy is in place or not, Woodbury said "people who work with us should know what they can and cannot do."

The protest has generated nation-wide interest, and school officials have been besieged with e-mails from local residents as well as individuals from out of state, many of whom painted the teachers as unpatriotic.

Verani said she and Koscher were not protesting the students set to join the military but what they saw as a recruiting moment involving a school official dressed in military fatigues. She said the students joining the military should have been awarded their plaques at a non-compulsory awards dinner instead of in front of an assembly that all students in the high school were required to attend.

"I wish school officials had shown some leadership in the building on behalf of an honest exchange of ideas and political discussions," Verani said. "What message have they sent to students in the assembly who also chose not to give a standing ovation for militarism, or for students who were too afraid not to stand?"

Koscher was not available for comment yesterday.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:40 AM   #2
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There's a time and place, and I don't think this was it...
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:03 PM   #3
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:14 PM   #4
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:01 PM   #5
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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This just sickens me.

The whole "kick the military out of school" and lets protest the kids joining the military at neutral ceremonies to celebrate achievements thing.

A few things:

1.)These teachers say that they were not protesting the students joining the military, so why would they not stand up and cheer for them like everyone else? They are only volunteering freely to get shot at should it be necessary to defend these 2 morons' freedom.

The thing is, it does not matter what we think about Iraq or Afghanistan. Me, personally, I think Afghanistan is a necessary evil and we are not quite done there yet. Fine with the policy there. I think Iraq will go down as one of the worst undertakings ever under so many different metrics its not even worth counting.

However, what matters is that, regardless, all of us could see a situation in which the US is under a legitimate threat that requires a military response, even if some of us don't agree with the military response in the 2 countries mentioned. So in that situation that all of us could easily imagine, who would be there to defend us and do it willingly? These 4 young men and women from Dennis/Yarmouth regional.

For those unfamiliar with Massachusetts, Cape Cod is not all sandy beaches and quaint shops and idyllic vacations and care free days. The Cape has its struggles, and has one of the highest rates of depression and alcoholism in New England, mostly due to its isolation 9 months out of the year. It is cut off from the world beyond, which is only accessible by 2 bridges. People struggle there financially, again, especially in the winter.

Have these 2 morons entertained for even a second that some of these kids may have joined the military to give themselves some kind of leg up, some kind of opportunity in life that may have been lacking before?

Probably never even crossed their minds, because they don't have to worry about that and probably never have had to.

2.)If they are against military recruiting in the schools, how about the Dennis/Yarmouth school committee meeting? Go there. How about the Dennis or Yarmouth Select boards(city council, for those unfamiliar with crazy New England governments).

3.)And U2387's opinion only, why protest the military, recruiting or otherwise, at all???

Its not like they start the wars, or make the decisions on when to go home or where to fight. Have these teachers not seen soldiers crying when their comrades die, or when yet another deployment has sent them away from their families and loved ones? Does anyone actually think these people who have seen the brutality of war are all that enamored with going to fight it?

The choice of venue for the protest, combined with the death of Yarmouth son Nick Xiahros in Afghanistan less than 1 year ago adds insult to injury.

Good for the school system, they should be disciplined if for nothing else, then for stupidity and ignorance.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:54 PM   #7
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How much longer are we going to have people in this country throwing out the "unpatriotic" label just because someone happens to criticize anything military/war-related? Honestly, when will people get that the two things aren't connected? Your patriotism is not automatically tied up in that sort of thing.

As for this event, I agree, the kids didn't need to have their honor held separately from everyone else. If the school was honoring all sorts of achievements of the students from that year, well, kids joining the military counts among them. Now if the school was trying to turn it into some sort of forced recruitment opportunity, that's a whole other story and that is wrong and I wouldn't support that, either. But it seemed that wasn't the case, that this was just an event honoring all students for their success, whatever it may be. That's fine, and these particular students should be allowed to be honored alongside everyone else. I would have to disagree with the teachers' argument on that aspect of it all.

But as for the sign, if all it said was "end war", that's not necessarily a critique of or slam against the students, or the military at large. It's a simple plea. The school can't be that naive that they'd expect there'd be no political commentary, be it pro or anti military/war/what have you, at all. The teachers weren't interrupting anyone's speeches or standing up and shouting anything nasty or trying to encourage everyone to join their protest or something of that sort, they merely held a sign and remained seated when others cheered. I don't think that quiet activity really merits disciplinary action. The school went a bit overboard with the punishment there, I think, and here I'd defend the teachers.

Angela
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:21 PM   #8
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Perhaps not the best situation, but still an exercise of one's freedom of speech. It was a silent protest. Nothing more. "End War" so those who are being honored do not have to die.

I see nothing wrong with it.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Moser View Post
I see nothing wrong with it.
You don't think that a teacher's support of the achievement of students should take priority over a teacher's political views? They have plenty of opportunities outside of the school setting to express their views. If they're supposed to leave those out of the classroom they can leave them out of assemblies too.
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:33 PM   #10
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You don't think that a teacher's support of the achievement of students should take priority over a teacher's political views? They have plenty of opportunities outside of the school setting to express their views. If they're supposed to leave those out of the classroom they can leave them out of assemblies too.
It's not that black and white. These teacher could have been protesting the matter of sending young souls to a fight. Ultimately, that is what it comes down to. Yes, you can be proud of them for serving their country. Yes, they deserve recognition for their courage and honor. But it still remains that the children we clap for at these ceremonies are also the same children that are dying overseas...for what? For a political issue.

Yeah, it's easy for older adults to clap when someone else is fighting wars for them. But it's us. The 18-24 year olds that fight. Everyone is complaining about the cost of the recession. The Tea Party says they don't want to see their children bear the burden of national debt, but I don't ever hear them complain about their neighbor's children dying overseas. People are oblivious to the fact that WAR is HELL.

Knowing this, I would also find it hard to clap. It takes courage to point out what no one else wants to hear about. The truth hurts.

I've learned to value human life. I'm very grateful that my brother made it out alright after five tours of duty infantry with the 82nd Airborne, who have been spearheading offensives in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. He's lost a lot of friends, and I've lost some of my own. A buddy of mine, just over a month ago, one year younger than me and who was also very bright and talented, went overseas, witnessed the war, and committed suicide. A very hard loss. He had so many things going for him. But no one likes to hear those stories.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:00 PM   #11
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I'm with the "not the time or the place" crowd. I guess I am anti-war (depends what war we are talking about) but the military is so extensive it seems rather shallow to protest THIS war THIS way. I seriously considered joining the Air Force not because I want to fight a war but for a good job working with some amazing technology, and I was also very interested in atmospheric science. Most people I know who were in or are in the military never fought in a war but have served our country nonetheless.

When I was in high school there were a few boys in my classes that joined the military and I do remember them being noted at our senior awards ceremony, along with noting other achievements and scholarship recipients. I did not mind it one bit. Just because you are not valedictorian or honor roll or received a full ride to a prestigious college does not mean you can't get a shout out. I did not feel they were singled out or received any more or less attention than anyone else being called up at the ceremony.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Moser View Post

I've learned to value human life. I'm very grateful that my brother made it out alright after five tours of duty infantry with the 82nd Airborne, who have been spearheading offensives in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. He's lost a lot of friends, and I've lost some of my own. A buddy of mine, just over a month ago, one year younger than me and who was also very bright and talented, went overseas, witnessed the war, and committed suicide. A very hard loss. He had so many things going for him. But no one likes to hear those stories.
I'm very sorry. I'm glad that your brother made it back. I knew someone too who died in Iraq, and I've suffered the awful effects of a father who suffered PTSD and other things in a war. Physical and emotional abuse. So I understand that side of it too, all too well. But I would still clap and I still think teachers should too. But I do understand why you feel the way you do.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moser View Post
Yeah, it's easy for older adults to clap when someone else is fighting wars for them. But it's us. The 18-24 year olds that fight. Everyone is complaining about the cost of the recession. The Tea Party says they don't want to see their children bear the burden of national debt, but I don't ever hear them complain about their neighbor's children dying overseas. People are oblivious to the fact that WAR is HELL.
My sentiments exactly, and the same goes with the rest of your post. I think you're absolutely right.

It's stories like the one you shared that have fully put me in the anti-war crowd. Certainly if there are people out there doing horrible things I want them to be punished, but it's the 21st century now, I'd like to think there's a way we can stop them without dragging innocent people into the fray. Too many innocent people-soldiers who are sent to wars that are of questionable necessity, families and friends of those who are going overseas, average, everyday citizens living in countries we fight with-suffer negative consequences because of the awful actions of a few, and I can't support that. I don't see the need for that to be happening. I'm very glad that your brother made it home okay, but I'm deeply sorry and extend my condolances to both of you for the losses you've had to experience .

Angela
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