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school district suspends teachers over war art....

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by mental invalid, Apr 2, 2003.

  1. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    if this is the current state in our education system then we as a democracy have serious fucking issues.....if a high school can not be a place where conversation is open and where ideas are formulated and discussed then we are doing a diservice not only to our students, but also our country.....

    By JULIE ANN STEPHENS, Associated Press Writer

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Two high school teachers said Tuesday they have been placed on leave for refusing to remove war-related student artwork posted in their classrooms.

    Highland High School teachers Allen Cooper and Geoffrey Barrett said they were told Monday night that they would be suspended if they did not remove the posters.

    Barrett, who teaches history and current events, said the student art carried both anti-war and pro-war messages, and was created as part of a class assignment.

    "I think this is mostly a violation of the students' rights to have a voice and express their opinions," Barrett said. "Asking me to take down the posters was taking away the voice of the students and I was not going to do that."

    Cooper said one of the signs in question in his classroom read "No War Mr. Cooper." It was written by an Afghani student who has had family members killed in U.S.-led bombings in Afghanistan (news - web sites), he said.

    "I really agonized over this," said Cooper, an English teacher. "I don't want to be suspended. I just want to teach my classes."

    Both teachers said the posters in question were taken down by school officials before classes began Tuesday.

    Rigo Chavez, a spokesman for the school district, said the teachers had been placed on paid administrative leave "in connection with the district's policy on the presentation of controversial issues."

    On Monday, two teachers and a counselor from neighboring Rio Grande High School were cleared to return to work after similar suspensions for refusing to take down anti-war signs.
  2. beardo

    beardo Guest

  3. That's a complex issue... on one hand you can see it as repression of the right to express their beliefs, but on the other you can see it as an attempt by school officials to avoid starting conflict between students on either side of the war issue. I don't think it's hard to visualize someone's anti-war drawing being vandalized by an pro-war student, and vice-versa, sparking off a huge mess that will distract students from schoolwork and other issues that must be focused on. I do think it's important to foster some kind of debate and get a discussion going, but putting up the artwork on display can start looking like billboards for promotion and propaganda.

    I thought it was strange that an example of anti-war artwork was described along with its author and generated sympathy from me, but no pro-war example was offered to counter it. Stuff like that doesn't strike me too well, and leds me to believe that there's more to the issue than what was presented. beer,

    El Mamerro
  4. philestine

    philestine New Jack

    Joined: Apr 23, 2002 Messages: 0 Likes Received: 0
    Good to see they're cracking on domestic dissent. :dazed:

    Here are some anti-war posters i had a look at today. Have a look.
  5. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    that to me strikes at the heart of who we are as a country.....it terrifies me.....

    its not about being pro or con, its about discussion of issues, no matter what side you are on, no matter what issue......

    one of the major faults of our education system is that it tells us what to think not really how to think....

    after all my schooling i realize all i am is spoon fed.....blah
  6. Oh dude, I agree with you, I was disgusted at first... but then I gave it more thought and realized that maybe I'm just looking at it from one angle.

    Just as it is possible that the school officials simply wanted to repress discussion of the subject (like you said, telling students what to think and not how), I also feel that it is possible they simply wanted to avoid possible violent conflict between students. War is a tough subject that can't be gently discussed by both sides over tea. The possibility for nasty conflict arising from that homework is actually pretty big.

    The whole concept of discussion through art is pretty tricky. Like I mentioned, it seems like students were asked to create work to not only express, but in some cases to promote, their beliefs. It can be really hard to distinguish between expression and propaganda. Maybe another method of discussion should be chosen, one that doesn't open doors to serious conflict between students.

    It's just too complex of an issue, I'm just saying that we don't know enough from that article to conclude if it was repression of opinions or maybe avoiding a huge mess. Beer,

    El Mamerro
  7. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    i hear what your saying mams, and im sure there is more to the story...

    but whether its repression or avoidance, the end result is the same though, and thats a lack of discussion....which is sad

    i like the idea of art for a few reasons...one i think art as a medium of expression in schools for the most part is not explored...rather it is explored through the written or spoken word....plus i think art allows one to convey a deeper more abstract meaning and you can hang it on a wall to see....where as you cant hang a paper on a wall....hopefully there was a lengthy discussion involved after that...and student discussed not only their views on war, but also of art....and hopefully the teacher was able to convey thats its ok to disagree...as a matter of fact its healthy.....
  8. Esai

    Esai Member

    Joined: Oct 12, 2001 Messages: 612 Likes Received: 1
    Although the absence of reference to prowar art makes me a little untrusting of the article, the lack of critical thinking is a serious problem in american schools. Our education is basically a robot program, read recite remember. Critical thinking is an extremely important part of any education, ergo why it is pushed in college english classes. Most revered americans broke the mold through thinking critically, yet it is never fostered in our youth. What we learn is also packaged very blandly even though there are many instances where it could be livened up with come critical response. You could blame it on a national patriotic conspiracy or stupid teachers, either way it is an essential tool to aid one in their life and it is a huge absenc in our educational system.
  9. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8