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Thanks to Trent Telenko for pointing this one my way. Apparently, the Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center has received about 30 complaints from children of deployed soldiers concerning harassment by school officials. Most of these kids are between 7 and 9 years old.
WABI- TV Bangor Maine | February 21, 2003 | 6 PM News
Alan Grover, WABI-TV: "What the kids are facing is hearing that [from Principals, Teachers and/or Guidance Counsellors] their mother or father is a bad person for taking part in the confrontation with Iraq; comments that are coming from teachers. That's according to officers with the Guard’s Family Assistance Program who've been traveling throughout the state this week. The officers report that such incidents are relatively few in number but that they've occurred in practically every region of the state."It gets worse...
Major Andrew Gibson: "Some kids have even reported that... ah... teachers have said things to them, specifically, about the ah unethical nature of their parent going off to fight."
"LTC John Mosher: "Soldiers follow our instructions to coordinate with schools to let them know they will be leaving, that their child should be monitored and to keep an eye on 'em."Consider that for a moment. Most of the children involved are 7 to 9 years of age. These teachers were told what was happening. Their response? Not help, but exploitation of the opportunity to single out and hurt a small child in a vulnerable state.
What kind of person does such a thing?
Imagine what it's like to have your parent away at that age, doing this. "Yes, love, I'm going away for a while... Yes, to fly... No, it isn't safe - I won't lie to you. But I'll be fine, just fine. It's something we have to do. For you. Take care of your brother, and be good, hear? And don't let your Daddy order pizza all the time... OK, then.... I love you... Bye." You're 7 years old; next month, you'll be 8. And there you sit, waiting anxiously for the moment when it's all over and you can see your Mommy again.
Now, imagine this kind of treatment from your Teacher. Or your Principal.
Reason has no words, for this is not its child. Morality and decency? Just abstractions in a relativist fog where nothing is real, and no-one ever responsible. No-one, except those within our society whom we are sanctioned by The Cause to hate. For they, and their children, are surely our lawful prey.
Worse still is the weaselly do-nothing attitude of Maine's state officials:
Alan Grover, WABI-TV: "Maine education commissioner Duke Albany says he and the National Guard are discussing the allegations and he will issue an advisory to the state's educators if that's warranted. For now, though, Albany says that such allegations seem very out of character for Maine's dedicated teaching force and that no parents have made any such complaints to the education department.Responsibility must be a word they don't spell very well in Maine; ditto leadership. He could have said that such treatment, if true, would be unconscionable. That he takes these allegations very seriously, and encourages people to come forward. Above all, that if due process found these allegations to be true, the consequences for those involved would be serious.
He said none of those things, of course. Bureaucrats can be slithy toves at the best of times; why risk real unpleasantness when it can all be swept away with a casual dismissal and some empty symbolism? There, all better now. The children? Oh, they'll get over it.
This. Must. Stop. And I don't just mean in Maine.
Maine isn't the problem, just the latest symptom of a widespread mindset on the Left that they have the right to use public monies and positions of trust to wage war on their political enemies through their enemies' children. We've seen this before. In the NEA's post-9/11 lesson plans. In "peace education" programs during the 1980s. In teacher's background materials put out by a Ontario Teacher's union that de-legitimaize Israel and explain, in November of 2001, "Why America is Hated." It's hardly new. It's hardly noticed.
It's time we noticed.
There's a direct connection between this sort of disrespect for parents and the willingness to use children under one's trust as political tools, and the abuse being reported in Maine. The transition from underhanded indoctrination to direct attacks on children in their charge is but a small additional step, one that mirrors the growing response of the "movement Left" as a whole to events around it. A movement defined by what it hates rather than what it loves must, in the end, begin to act accordingly. In Maine, and elsewhere too.
What to do? In a phrase, we make people pay.
The reason this kind of behaviour continues is simple. It continues because it doesn't carry consequences. Because the people who precipitate these abuses stay in the system, to continue their conduct and then act as enablers for others later in their careers. Because the bureaucrats who abdicate and lie in the face of abuse learn that it's easier than confronting the problem. You want to know why? That's why.
When will it stop? When people get fired for the kind of conduct described here. When proposing one-sided politicization of the classroom as a captive forum for one's views becomes a career-limiting move. When officials who abdicate their responsibility to protect the children in their care from abuse become ex-officials - demoted, fired, or reassigned in the wake of a public outcry. When parents have a choice, and use it to punish schools that fail the test of responsibility. It doesn't need to happen every single time. But it does need to happen.
This is the 21st century. Like minds can connect on wavelengths of light, and the local can become national in a serious hurry. Events like the launch of Campus Watch and national coverage of the SFSU riot are shining the glare of public scrutiny in places that have grown unused to seeing it. It's time they saw more.
Welcome to blood, toil, tears and sweat.
This is hard. It takes time. It doesn't always succeed. Just like all the other necessary and worthwhile things in life. Sometimes decency doesn't come as a given. Sometimes, you have to fight for it - and punish those who think it doesn't apply to them.
You want to push your foreign policy views? Invite and present other viewpoints, or get a show on local cable. You want to tell my daughter that abortion is murder? Buy a radio ad. You say you wanna revolution? Well, you know, we'd all love to see the blog.
Just leave our kids out of it. Or else.
UPDATE 2: Special thanks are due to Robert Crawford for that video. Credit where it's deserved. Discredit too... the state Education Commissioner's name was misspelled in the transcript, and should be Duke Albanese (email him at
UPDATE 3: Further developments as of Wednesday night.
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