International Writers Magazine: Reality Check
ON TRIAL AT LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL
Batten Down The Hatches, The Kids Are Taking Over
be filed under the increasingly over-crowded "Asinine Over-Hyped
Paranoia" heading this week, we have the case of a Parsippany
High School 12th grade politics and government class under fire.
The students, and their 37-year-old teacher, Joseph Kyle, are
being vilified in the press, and the fast dwindling rah-rah home
team Bush apologists for conducting a "hearing" on the
"war crimes" of the president.
Okay. So? What the
hell is the problem here? People who defend Bush are offended? Descent
American outraged? The very foundation of our democracy challenged?
This is a goddamn High School. If the Daily Record, a Morris
County newspaper here in NJ, didn't run the story, and the always-banal
Drudge Report didn't post it on the Internet, who would care?
It's an academic exercise, nothing more. No one is actually putting
the president on trial for anything, and if they did -- still a distinct
possibility -- it is unlikely to be run by teenagers.
Liberal bias among faculties of both college and high
school run amok!
That's the hue and cry from heavy breathers like Joe Scarborough,
who has a Herculean enough effort filling 42 minutes of air time with
his limited broadcasting skills, mawkish interviewing acumen, and overall
grappling with articulation daily on MSNBC. This makes his desperate
attempt at a personal crusade against using taxpayer money to brainwash
children with liberal agendas understandable. It's just not plausible.
The same teacher, into his ninth, and heretofore-uneventful
year, at the school had a similar trial against Bill Clinton during
his impeachment hearings at Montclair High School. Scarborough might
remember Big Bill. He was president when the now talk show host was
a member of the Gingrich Revolution. He might still be up on Capitol
Hill wasting taxpayer money himself if he wasn't such a dipshit.
So as Scarborough's "guests" went haywire in
the usual talking-head spurious clap-trap raid on sanity about how a
high school is no place for this kind of anti-American blah, blah, blah,
we decided to investigate further. Imagine that? Actually researching
a subject before babbling like incontinent hyenas. I think I'm onto
Upon further review, Kyle's class is an advanced placement
elective, wherein the general lesson plan is "to explore current
events and foreign policy in an interactive way". So it's precisely
the place for this type of progressive inquiry into the deeds and results
of authority and government. The only item these nimrods on the Scarborough
goober-fest can protest to is the class is not a propagandized blur-machine
of patriotic nonsense. They have a point there. Other than that, they're
The other rant that has permeated the outrage of this
innocuous event, is that our taxes pay for this. Yes, and if you had
any idea the utter wasteland that is the education system in this country,
especially at the high school level, there could be trouble. But there
isn't much trouble, because you have no idea. And that's good. Lord
knows we do not need any violent uprisings now. The economy is fragile
The least of our problems is that we pay for children
to expand their minds on controversial subject matter, and, once again,
I maintain that the damning of a president's actions during war is not
all that controversial. I defy you to name a president from Lincoln
on down that did not commit some form of war crime. Then you might have
a story. But you can't, so don't try. The bigger problems with our tax
money being dumped into an education netherworld are a subject for another
column. It does not belong here, other than to point out the absurdity
of this counter-argument about school kids play-acting.
Enter the gutless hierarchy, as is the custom in media
outcries. This week's reactionary coward will be played by Parsippany-Troy
Hills School District, interim superintendent, James Dwyer. Poor guy
is interim. Talk about unlucky. Dwyer decided, logically, that playtime
would continue, but a verdict by a "five teacher international
court of justice" will not be rendered. Whatever the hell that
is. In other words, let's protect the system from goofy lawsuits or
continued bashing by keeping the faculty out of it.
Well, that is a rousing endorsement for enlightened thinking,
and standing by your principles, or principal, whatever the case may
be. An excellent lesson for all young people: First sign of trouble
make with the lip service. Every student should aspire to this kind
of hedge betting. It's the kind of gamble that lands the high rollers
on the discount bus from Atlantic City, but does not engender faith
of any kind in our educators.
Although I vaguely recall similar gutless weasels in high positions
when I roamed the hallowed halls of state schooling. It brings back
sweet memories. Mediocrity for all and all for mediocrity!
© James Campion March 20th 2006
James Campion the author of "Deep Tank Jersey", "Fear
No Art" and "Trailing Jesus"
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