On Friday I substituted in a local school in the fourth grade. While I was there, during what is known as Focus Groups sessions, another teacher came to teach Lesson 1 in their “Bully Proofing Our School” unit. This unit has been around for years and I used it before.
It got me to wondering. How can we bully proof our adult citizenry?
As I have told many of you, I live in the shadow of Focus on the Family, a few miles down the road from Ted Haggard’s old haunt, the “New Life Church.” In the 80s these two men, Haggard and Dobson, sent out their drones to bully public school teachers.
I was teaching a wonderful unit at the time. It was called “Voyage of the Mimi.” It was an interdisciplinary unit, using the latest technology, video etc. It has a story shown in thirteen videos which ran fifteen minutes each. Ben Afleck played the little boy. He was visiting his grandfather who rented out his house boat to a science team. The team consisted of an African American teen boy, a Caucasian teen girl, a female lead scientist, a Hispanic scientist and a college student who happened to be deaf. They were studying humpback whales. Each episode in the adventure was followed by a 15 minute science segment. Some were on whales, one was on Gallaudet University, one was on SONAR. I learned as much as I taught. Oh yea, there was one triangulation, the science of locating a point, not the political buzz word. We even had softward for the old Apple IIs where we could triangulate. 8)
One of the science segments was on the evolution of the whale, from it’s land ancestors to how it became a water mammal. And of course, a few parents enamoured with Haggard or Dobson or both, tried to bully the district and the teachers into teaching creationism along side the evolution.
The district “encouraged” us to do so (they would not demand because our local teachers’ union was ready to fight it). I refused.
Another time a mother came in screaming at me that I was teaching the religion of witches. It was Halloween and I had the kids doing a creative writing project on silly spells…..like making the grocery cart wheels lock. Again I refused. But a group of those parents organized and bullied our district into outlawing Halloween Parties. The district now has “Harvest Parties” and kids must dress up (if they choose to) as a literary character. Another time I was told loudly by a parent that her child “was a Christian and Christians do not lie.” I had caught the child copy another students paper…..she had the kids paper on her desk. I saw it. I looked at her paper. Her answers were word for word copied.
These are the same families who now go to tea parties, carry guns and shout anyone down who does not adhere to their world view. These are the people who watch television bullies like Glen Beck and Sean Hannity, and listen to the biggest (literally and figuratively) bully of them all, Rush.
I am frustrated. So maybe this is more of a rant than a diary. But how do we bully proof our country? When the leaders of the right tell their drones to do exactly what they say, shout down, threaten and fear monger with lies, how do we stop it? Parents here are demanding the district not broadcast the president’s speech. Fortunately the district is leaving it up to principals. I am subbing on Tuesday at a school where I think the principal will show it. But no doubt some kids will not be watching. What is wrong with us. What is wrong with the left? What is wrong with our leadership as I believe they are allowing the bullies to……bully.
I was for Hillary. I honestly did not feel she and Obama were much different when it came to policy. I actually felt Hillary was more left than Barack except on Iraq. But the one thing I thought made Hillary a better choice is that she lived through years and years of their neocon bullies and had learned, I believe, to not try to appease fools who have no interest in bipartisanship of any kind. Bullies do not want to share power. They want it all.
I cannot believe how far backward we have come. It started with Reagan, a classic bully with a silver tongue, and I fear now, it cannot be stopped.