Thursday, February 25, 2010

Disgusted not strong enough

I have never before been ashamed of living a good part of my life in Norman, Oklahoma. Sadly, that day is gone forever. Twice in the last few weeks, the administrators of Norman Public Schools have caved in and kow-towed to the worst kind of reactionary parents.
They deprived many of the students from experiencing being addressed directly by the President of United States. We have a very vocal, reactionary, minority of the American people who respect no one but themselves. They have no respect for the country. They have no respect for the Constitution. They have no respect for their community. They have no respect for their neighbors. They have no respect for their own children. While ill- and under-informed parents certainly have the right to deprive their own children of a marvelous educational opportunity, they have no right to intimidate others into spreading their ignorance across an entire school system. Thankfully, I know a few teachers who recognized the educational opportunity they were being given and took full advantage of it. For those who didn't, I'm sorry your students are going to be less well educated than those in other classrooms.
Following is the text of the district's policy regarding the President's Address.
The President of the United States will deliver a national address directly to
students on September 8 at 11:00 AM (CST). According to information provided
on the U.S. Department of Education’s home page at, the President
will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take
responsibility for their learning.
The school district will not re-organize the school day or interrupt scheduled
instructional time to participate in this event as a district-wide initiative. Teachers
may choose to watch the address with their students on a classroom by
classroom basis where they determine it to be instructionally appropriate.
In keeping with current practice, parents who do not wish their child to view the
President’s address may contact the school’s principal in writing asking that their
child be excused from the activity and the request will be honored.
Shame on you, Norman Public Schools.
Now, even worse. Book banning is alive and well in Norman, Oklahoma. I never thought I would see the day when one reactionary parent and a misguided superintendent would again deprive Norman students of a remarkable educational experience. I encourage you to go to the district website and search on Ellen Hopkins. You'll find teachers who want students to know they have read her books, you will find her listed among the very best authors for children, and you will find a middle school calendar that lists an Ellen Hopkins visit with a question mark. However, there is no longer a need for the question mark. Now, Superintendent Joseph Siano has decided not to let Ellen come and speak to the students at Whittier Middle School. For the full story of how this deplorable situation came to be, see Ellen's blog, Manifesto!!!!
You want to see other links related to this story-just google Ellen Hopkins Norman. I wonder how they feel about this at the Ellen Hopkins Elementary School in Moorhead, MN? I hope you are proud, Joseph Siano, you just gave our wonderful city a big, black eye.

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