Woodland High’s Response to Teacher Kneeling at Rally

A reader sent the Vanguard a copy of the audio message Woodland High School’s principal sent to parents following the protest of the national anthem by chemistry teacher Windy Pappas.

In the message the principal stated:  “I would like to directly address the incident that happened at the Homecoming Rally on Friday.  All Woodland High School staff are role models for students and are responsible for making sure that everyone feels physically and psychologically safe on campus.  It’s important that we all understand the appropriate and legal free speech rights of staff and students at school.

“In California schools we operate under the Pinker standard which says that students may exercise their protected free speech at school as long as they do not create a disturbance that interferes with other student’s rights, health, safety or in the educational process.

“While teachers do retain certain First Amendment rights in their capacity as an instructor, such rights are limited by Ed Code and case law.  Their personal, political or religious beliefs are not appropriately expressed at school or in the classroom.

“Instead the appropriate legal instructional role is one of facilitator – one who facilitates student discussion and intelligent analysis of current events.

“We will use this as a learning opportunity with students and staff in order to ensure that we are all knowledgeable about the protected rights of students and staff, as well as how to create comfortable spaces to engage in with each other.

“We encourage that these appropriate discussions also occur at home.  Together I am confident we can help students understand how to share divergent opinions in a safe responsible way.  At times
like this, we know how to support our students and each other.

“That is the strength of the pack.  We are Woodland High School and we should be so very proud of that.  Tomorrow I’ve asked my staff to embrace and protect our pact to ensure that everyone feels emotionally and physically safe.

“If you have a child that displays any anxiety or concern about being at school please reach out to our counseling team – we need to move our students through this so that they can enjoy their homecoming week which is about creating memories for a lifetime.  Let’s give our students the best homecoming week imaginable with enormous respect.”

Windy Pappas, a teacher at Woodland High, was suspended for kneeling during the national anthem at a rally on Friday.

Ms. Pappas, who, as stated above, is a chemistry teacher, can be seen in the photo with signs that say, “It’s OK to Disagree with every sign HERE” and “Black Lives Matter” during the anthem.

The assembly reportedly continued but the teacher was later removed from her classroom and escorted off the school premises.

The district released a statement Friday afternoon that read as follows: “We are aware that there was an unauthorized display during a Woodland High School rally on Friday. As a District, we’re using this as a learning opportunity to ensure we are all aware of the free speech rights of students and employees in schools.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting



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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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79 Comments

  1. Keith O

     Their personal, political or religious beliefs are not appropriately expressed at school or in the classroom.

    That says it all.

    BTW, I think her name is Windy, not Wendy.

    1. David Greenwald

      Had the school simply ignored the signs and her silent protest, I wonder how many people would have even been aware of it. By disciplining her, they made this far bigger than it ever needed to be.

        1. David Greenwald

          Part of what I told students when I lectured on the subject of Milo last winter and spring is that by protesting these events, you are actually giving them a bigger platform than they would otherwise have. So instead of a few people knowing about this incident, thousands know about it.

      1. Keith O

        If she had a sign calling attention to her religion or denouncing abortion would you just say she was promoting discussion of current events?

        Now be honest……

        1. Tia Will

          The answer is yes. If you doubt this to be true, please go back and read my comments in support of the Westboro Baptist Church members right to express their opinions, even though I am adamantly opposed to their message.

        2. Keith O

          But at a public school?  The Westboro Baptist Church is not an equal analogy because they aren’t displaying their protest at public schools in front of the children.

      2. Howard P

        Not sure I’d want my student spending Chemistry class time “discussing current events”… unless those events were breakthroughs in chemistry.  Both that is theoretical… here, nothing indicates that class time was used for ‘current events’ not pertaining to chemistry.

        Might be a good segue for an English/Drama teacher to introduce “Much Ado about Nothing”, to students…

  2. Tia Will

    one who facilitates student discussion and intelligent analysis of current events.”

    If they truly believe that this is a legitimate role of a teacher as he said, then surely her action did exactly this. Look at the results.

  3. Don Shor

    Dear Woodland students and staff,

    One of your teachers held up a sign during the national anthem. We’ve told you not to do that again. It was kind of weird and we don’t want to have to deal with trivial stuff like this. I mean, you know that 40 kids at Santa Rosa High School had their homes burn down last week? That’s, like, 40 miles away. Think about that. And Puerto Rico? No power, no water? I mean, come on, let’s discuss real issues, ok? Plus, a lot of us really didn’t understand the sign anyway.

    You have some vague rights of free speech that we don’t feel like fighting about in court. So just don’t do it again. Please?

    Teachers don’t have political views. It’s just a fact. They also don’t have sex lives or opinions about anything. The ones that pretend they do are just trying to be “hip” and it always fails. Take pity on them, but don’t encourage them.

    You all are like a pack! Wait, no, wolves come in packs. We don’t want you acting like wolves. Wait, here’s a teaching moment! Camels, yaks, reindeer, buffalo, llamas, horses, donkeys, and mules also come in packs. For this week’s School Spirit exercise, please select one of those animals and come dressed like it. All day long, make the noise it makes. Your teachers can join in the fun.

    Also, we won’t be playing the Star Spangled Banner at school events any more. It’s kind of crypto-militaristic, nobody can sing it anyway, and some of the lyrics are pretty dubious (we’re told, we’ve never actually looked up the other verses). So the band can play the Olympic Fanfare, or a Sousa march, or pretty much anything by Freddy Mercury. If you know the lyrics, sing along. Stay seated, stand, kneel, or prostrate yourselves if you want. We really don’t care.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. Keith O

      I agree with most of this letter.  But the sentence near the end I feel states where the problem lies:

      As teachers and peers you have the opportunity to shape us as powerful young adults.

      And there you have it, teachers have a huge influence on young people and indeed do shape them and therefor should keep their personal politics out of the classroom and such events (student rallies)  on campus.

      1. David Greenwald

        There is a volume of political science literature that would argue that for the most part political identification derives from parental and early childhood influences.

        1. Keith O

          So are you trying to say that teachers should have the right to try and sway young student’s politics because they were already shaped in early childhood?

          I don’t think that’s going to fly.

        2. David Greenwald

          I think the policy read by the school district is too restrictive (and it may be a state level issue).  I think students should be engaged more on these issues and we treat them too much like melting snow flakes

    2. Howard P

      You might want to fix this, David… font, pagination, etc.

      First reaction, as worded (and I have to cut some slack on that) is that it is “sophomoric” … which might be good for a freshman…

      Yet, it seems to come ‘from the heart’ (which prompts me to focus on the gist, and not some of the phrases used… the ‘slack’).

      It speaks to frustration, and possibly anger… as in Charlottesville, Ferguson, etc.   Both “sides”…

      And the frustration and anger needs to be acknowledged, then put on the shelf (a ‘time out’ if you will), in order to have an adult conversation.  In my sole opinion.

    3. Ron

      Not to pick on a ninth-grader, but he/she feels “personally responsible for voicing the opinion of the youth of America?”

      Well, good luck with that.  🙂 Ah, the wisdom and optimism of youth.

  4. Alan Miller

    we need to move our students through this so that they can enjoy their homecoming week which is about creating memories for a lifetime.

    I don’t remember homecoming week.

    1. Sharla C.

      I had the same reaction.  No “memories of a lifetime” happened at Davis High during Homecoming.  The “memories of a lifetime” were way different.  I remember meeting at the Community Church to send off a group of Davisites, including my mother, on a bus to Selma to march with MLK Jr.  I remember student protests over enforcement of dress codes in 6th grade (girls could only wear dresses or skirts until that year.)  I remember the protest at the train tracks and marching in protest of the Vietnam War during junior high school.  I remember the brawl on the football field at the Woodland/Davis football game and the most excellent graffiti by Woodland students on the day of the game (they painted a giant wolf head on the side of the DHS gym with a nice border.  It was really impressive.)   Dances and rallies are fun, but I think students will remember more that one of their teachers knelt in protest during the National Anthem and their Principal reacted as if the sky was falling.  A memory of a lifetime.

       

  5. Ron

    “Had the school simply ignored the signs and her silent protest, I wonder how many people would have even been aware of it. By disciplining her, they made this far bigger than it ever needed to be.”

    It’s not “bigger than it ever needed to be”.  It’s not “big”, at all.

    Teachers are employees.  In my former positions, I don’t think they would tolerate exercising “first amendment” rights, at work.  Employers can control almost every aspect of employees’ appearance and behavior.  (Not saying that’s always “good”, but it’s a fact.)  In fact, they even control employee’s behavior outside of work, to some degree (e.g., postings on social media, getting arrested, etc.).

    Why would teachers be held to a different standard?  In fact, why wouldn’t they be held to a HIGHER standard, since children are a “captive audience”, in a (subservient) role to teachers?  (Trying to express the fact that teachers are somewhat similar to “bosses”, at work.)

    The reason this galls me to some degree is that some seem more focused on the “teachers” rights, instead of the “students” rights. I sincerely doubt that ALL students (and their parents) agree with that teacher. (Students views are often shaped by their parents, until they get old enough to think for themselves.)

     

      1. Ron

        Maybe the underlying issue is big (meaning, can employees express first amendment rights at work?  And, if so, to what degree?)

        For that matter, what if an employer found out that an employee attended the Charlottsville rally, on a side they didn’t like? (In other words, taking action against the employee, for exercising their first amendment rights off-work?) Regardless of legality, I suspect that this type of thing could occur.

        This is not a comment regarding the validity of the teacher’s concerns.

      2. Keith O

        I can tell you straight up if I had brandished a sign like this teacher did at my work I would’ve brought up on discipline and maybe fired on the spot.

        Ron, you also have hit on something with your comment.  Liberals are always so attune to someone feeling offended and steps being needed to stop it.  Well, how about the students who might have been offended by this teacher’s actions during the anthem?

        1. Ron

          I agree, Keith.  (And, as previously noted, I’m pretty close to being a card-carrying liberal on social issues.)  By the way, I think the “politically-correct” term is now “progressive”, instead of “liberal”.  (I’ll try to let you know if that changes anytime soon.)   🙂

        2. David Greenwald

          There is actually a difference between liberals and progressives.  Liberals these days refer to center-left, mainstream Democratic ideology.  Progressive refers to those who are on the left of that group, for example supporters of Bernie Sanders.  And then there is a more radical group that would be embodied by the BLM Movement and others.  These groups have some similarities but there is also tensions between them.  The gamut runs from incremental reform to tearing down the system.  And part of what you are seeing in this issue is the difference between the mainstream left and the far left.

        3. Ron

          I’d still like to know who the “regressives” are.  (That is, the opposite of “progressives”.)

          On a more sensitive note, is it “anti-life”, or “pro-choice”?  And, is it “anti-choice” or “pro-life”?

          I think that the anti-abortion folks staked out the best name, first (pro-life).

          Whatever I am (and whatever they are), I’m not much of a fan of ANTIFA, at least. We seem to have more of them in California, than the white supremacists.

    1. Howard P

      Ron… we are talking about a single event of kneeling at an assembly.  Nothing more nothing less.  It is not about teacher’s rights per se.  We appear to be ‘straining at gnats’.

      1. Ron

        Howard:  Agreed, regarding this particular incident.  Hence, my comment regarding it not being a “big deal”.

        But, it begs the larger question – do employees have any “right” to exercise first amendment rights at work?  If so, where does that begin and end?  Is it entirely up to the employer, for example?  (I’m not completely sure, now that I think about it.)

        And again, I’d suggest that employers are even concerned about such activities “after work”, but I’m not sure of the employer’s (or employee’s) “rights” in that situation. For example, can a teacher attend and support a “white supremacist” rally on their own time, and still keep their job if it’s discovered?

  6. Alan Miller

    Teacher has a right to free speech; also, has to suffer the consequences due to job requirements.

    Similarly, those blocking the bank on campus had the right to do so; they did not have the right to have all consequences waived — not about whether one feels they “should” or not, just that the right of free speech often comes with consequences.

    Both sides of the kneeling issue are guilty of one thing – self-righteously purposefully not trying to understand those with another point of view.

  7. Leanna Sweha

    The teacher had two signs.  A small Black Lives Matter sign and a larger sign “It’s OK to disagree with every sign here!” What other signs were being held up at the rally – other than the BLM sign she had? I don’t see any other signs in the photo at least.   What was the message of the larger sign? Curious.

  8. Eric Gelber

    From principal’s statement:

    [Teachers’] personal, political or religious beliefs are not appropriately expressed at school or in the classroom.

    That’s an over statement of the Pickering standard the principal says applies. Justice Marshall wrote, in Pickering, that we must “arrive at a balance between the interests of the teacher, as a citizen, in commenting on matters of public concern, and the interest of the state, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees.”

    Classrooms have never been politically neutral. By determining curricula, and acceptable textbooks, education officials determine the political agenda. An obvious example is last week’s news of a Mississippi school board’s decision to pull To Kill a Mockingbird from the curriculum because it makes some people uncomfortable. During the McCarthy period, Indiana banned Robin Hood from the curriculum because taking from the rich and giving to the poor is communism. When I was in school, we were taught that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights.

    Point is, whether and to what extent teachers should be able to reveal their own political points of view is a complex issue.

  9. aaahirsch8

    I honor her civil disobedience to protest during the  anthem about the unequal justice system in the US.  And give my belief, I even believe she should be given a greater honor than that of the NFL players kneeing as she had more at risk.

    But this behavior was out of bounds for teacher on school ground during school time.    “What if every gathering as school was disrupted this way?   (thought as far as i have heard, the assembly was not delayed in any way by what she did.  ”

    There have to be fences about how people given power by government can use that power. Teacher are given great power over students in their class room & on campus, and also “freedom” via tenure, but their are lines-guardrails– they should not cross.

    So, it is appropriate – even necessary — the School district respond with some sanction on her.

    I think the power of her actions, in fact come from her breaking the rules and the consequences.   Her Kneeling her was in fact more meaningful than the consequence-free kneeling by football players.

    Many people claim they are speaking  “speaking truth to power mean”. The use it cheaply: its not when folks make a public comment before school board or City Council in liberal communities that tolerate dissent, rather its when there are real social, legal and administrative risks when you dissent.  And power is welded against us.

     

    A climate where their is disruptive dissent against the will the the majority— without any consequences — is one that leads to anarchy.

    I honor her civil disobedience,

    I do not challenge the need for School District to respond to maintain order and defend the rules.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  10. Grant Acosta

    To be clear, was the teacher disciplined for kneeling or for holding up the signs?  If it is, in fact, the former, then I’ll be waiting for the school district’s official policy on how to correctly conduct oneself during the anthem.  Shall we punish teachers who do not remove their hat?  What if they are slightly kneeling?  Hands in their pockets?

    1. Keith O

      It was a planned protest, not like she didn’t take off her hat or left her hands in her pocket.  She was making a statement by kneeling and showing the signs, now she needs to be subject to the appropriate punishment of a teacher doing this while at work.

  11. Tia Will

    Keith

    But at a public school?  The Westboro Baptist Church is not an equal analogy because they aren’t displaying their protest at public schools in front of the children.”

    The degree of “transgression” if any is obviously highly subjective. A public school at an elective after school event is a far less sensitive venue than is a soldier’s funeral or memorial service which was the venue that the Westboro Baptist Church often chose in my opinion. Also, I do not see any statistical breakdown as to how many of the attendees were offended vs how many were either supportive or neutral. Had this happened when either of my children was still in school, I would have applauded her action and strongly supported her.

    Also, I do not consider high school students to be “children” and neither did many of you when the issue was whether a high school student should be tried as a child or as an adult. The fact that we have in our society designated a separate term for them, adolescent, means that we do not consider them “children” or “adults” unless we have some special interest that we want to portray to our advantage.

     

  12. Ron

    Tia (to Keith):  “Also, I do not see any statistical breakdown as to how many of the attendees were offended vs how many were either supportive or neutral.”

    Is that the “basis” that you’d use, to determine if the school should allow this? (Essentially, if it’s a “popular” or seemingly “unanimous” view, you think it’s then o.k.?) How would someone with a different view feel in that (public school) environment?

    (I should note that I think it was an over-reaction to “remove” the instructor from class, based upon this single episode.)

    Regarding “children” – point noted.  

    1. Ron

      Just saw your other response to Keith, in which you state that you’d also support someone “denouncing abortion” in the same manner.  (Still can’t see your posts, when logged in.)

      So, I guess you’re arguing that teachers or anyone should be able to exercise first amendment rights at schools, regardless of views.  (Presumably, for the purpose of facilitating discussion, and to provide a learning opportunity.)  Is that correct?

      Personally, I agree with the quote from the school district, itself (below).  That is, depending upon the course of study, teachers could “facilitate” a discussion and analysis (but should try to avoid espousing their own personal views). An “arms length” discussion, if you will.

      “Instead the appropriate legal instructional role is one of facilitator – one who facilitates student discussion and intelligent analysis of current events.”

       

    2. Tia Will

      Nope. My point was that I believe that this was most likely an over reaction to a “loud” voice or small contingency of upset parents. If I am wrong, my comment had no merit. But from when my children were in school, there were many times when the “loud voices” prevailed.

      1. Howard P

        If the narrative, and the apparent timeline is correct, must have been a VERY loud voice… to go from incident to removal from classroom, and being escorted off the premises, in a matter of hours, am thinking someone in admin., and probably pretty high up.

        As to the incident itself (forgetting the ‘background issues’ that people are getting into), perhaps it is best to back off a bit, to let things play out more.  Perhaps time to turn down heat and look for light.  [not that anyone at Woodland HS is reading or influenced by any of this discussion]

  13. Ron

    Tia:  “Nope. My point was that I believe that this was most likely an over reaction to a “loud” voice or small contingency of upset parents. If I am wrong, my comment had no merit. But from when my children were in school, there were many times when the “loud voices” prevailed.”

    I guess I’m not understanding your view on this – e.g., regarding first amendments rights in the workplace (vs. the right of employers to restrict that right), the appropriate role of teachers, the “tyranny of the majority”, etc.

    (I guess I’ll have to contact David directly, so that I can see your posts without repasting them.)

  14. Grant Acosta

    The larger point here is that by playing the national anthem with the expectation that students and teachers will defer to some traditional stance with hand over heart is, by its very nature, injecting politics into a school setting.  Even those teachers who ‘behaved appropriately’ were expressing a political statement.  How then, is it justifiable to discipline a teacher who happens to not share the same political view of the masses?

     

     

     

    1. Keith O

      I don’t see it as a political statement to show respect and love for your country by standing for its anthem.  Liberals seem to want to strip down all of our traditions.

        1. Howard P

          Definitely agree, Greg… in my “tradition”, “taking” a knee (also called genuflecting), or kneeling is a powerful sign of respect. And humility…

          My fear is that the english language is about to morph due to show-boats turning an honorable thing to be interpreted as a dishonorable thing, as has been done in the past.  [edited to remove filter-trigger language] …..now I see those who would interpret ‘taking a knee’ as disrespect.

        2. Howard P

          While my main comment is ‘awaiting moderation’ (yeah, used some terms that would set off the filters, but think I’m clean)… when I visit my father’s grave (a veteran), I ‘take a knee’, or kneel, as I remember his life and how much I love(d) him… same for others who were important to me, who mentored me, who cared for me, whose company I enjoyed… ‘taking a knee’ for me means respect, love, and humility.

          Pretty much, always have, since I was a teenager (before that, it was something I was expected to do… now I do it by informed choice)…

    2. Howard P

      Interesting point… need to think further, but you may have hit the proverbial nail on the head… thank you for your comment… truly.

      Yet, there are ‘beliefs’, and ‘public actions’ (and customs, and ‘imperatives’)… that’s what I need to cogitate on… but your point is very insightful… thanks

    3. Howard P

      Keith O… are you channeling Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof?”  “Tradition!”

      How far back are you willing to go on ‘tradition’?

      ‘Tradition’, if you go far enough back, have no anthems… many more recent ones come from “liberals” seeking to overthrow the “conservatives” … two come to mind immediately… La Marseillaise, and that of Russia/USSR (blanking on the name)[oh, “The Internationale”]

      [For smug liberals, both of those have lyrics much worse than our ‘anthem’]

      Perhaps Keith, you’d prefer the national anthem, Horst-Wessel-Lied… in the late 30’s, early 40’s you might have been fired, beaten up, shot or sent to a concentration camp for not standing/saluting for that, if you lived in Nazi Germany.

      Get real, mein herr(?)  sir…

      .

  15. Don Shor

    https://vimeo.com/166881889

    The Star-Spangled Banner

    O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
    What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
    O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
    O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
    Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
    What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
    As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
    Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
    In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
    ’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
    A home and a Country should leave us no more?
    Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
    Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
    Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
    Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

      1. Matt Williams

        I agree with you 100% Keith.

        Further, those two lines of the third portion of the Anthem (which no one ever sings) appear to me to be saying that none of the people in the then-current system who are either hirelings (I take that to mean indentured servants) or slaves, should not have to either flee or die in order to achieve freedom.  I read it as a very positive two lines.  Don appears to read it differently. There is actually a fair amount of controversy about what Key actually meant.  Like many poets, he left it to the reader to come up with their own personal interpretation.

        It is worth noting Key’s personal history (as summarized by Wikipedia). Key purchased his first slave in 1800 or 1801 and owned six slaves in 1820. Mostly in the 1830s, Key manumitted (set free) seven slaves, one of whom (Clem Johnson) continued to work for him for wages as his farm’s foreman, supervising several slaves.

        Throughout his career Key also represented several slaves seeking their freedom in court (for free), as well as several masters seeking return of their runaway slaves. Key, Judge William Leigh of Halifax, and bishop William Meade were administrators of the will of their friend John Randolph of Roanoke, who died without children and left a will directing his executors to free his more than four hundred slaves. Over the next decade, beginning in 1833, the administrators fought to enforce the will and provide the freed slaves land to support themselves.

        For the record Key is one of my ancestors. We have had a lot of family discussions about him at many a family get together.

  16. Dave Hart

    What better place than at a school to encourage thinking?  Yes, it is the verse about how we want our slaves to fear running off that is a fact of our history that is central to our nation’s collective amnesia.  Or does being in love mean never having to say you’re sorry?  This teacher is, by any measure, a hero even to those who hate her message.  She encourages us to examine and think about ourselves.  It’s not hate speech because she does not demonize.  The principal is behaving in a small-minded way, fearful of those who would demonize.  It would have been a great thing if he had defended her.

    1. Don Shor

      Yes, our national anthem excoriates slaves who fought with the British in order to win their freedom. Yeah, let’s stand up and honor that.
      Also worth noting that Key used his position as US Attorney in Washington to try to suppress abolitionists.

        1. Tia Will

          Keith

          Once again, that verse is not why people are kneeling.”

          Your statement is accurate. It is also true that people are not kneeling to disrespect the flag, our service members, or our country. All of the interviews I have heard about why an individual “took a knee” was in protest of the unequal treatment by law enforcement/judicial system on the basis of race. In this case, the presence of the Black Lives Matter sign could be interpreted as having this motivation.

          Advocating the equal treatment of all persons would seem to me to be the ultimate honoring of what our country stands for, at least in aspiration.

      1. Sharla C.

        I don’t think she’s a hero.  I think that this is all about whether she should be punished and I think that she should not.  It is the school administrators who are making her a hero by blowing this way out of proportion.

        1. Howard P

          A hero or a martyr… neither is appropriate… am thinking (as I said before) this incident called for counselling as to expectations… both ‘sides’… see where that leads… there should have been a discussion prior to removal or suspension.  It appears there was not.  Admin BAD.

          Just saw the Bee account… this is getting way out of hand…

          Am basically agreeing with Sharla… this cannot be ignored as to expectations… the court decision cited was about students… not teachers…

          This is either a set-up (or “test” if you will) or an egregious over-reaction, in my opinion.

          BTW, the Rosa Parks thing was a “set-up”… meant to provoke a response… that is not to say the set-up was bad, it had good results….

      2. Dave Hart

        What she did takes courage.  She knows “most people” might not agree with her and that she would not be widely supported.  What is a hero if not someone who does something that takes courage and does it even though they know it may result in harm to themselves because it needs to be done?

        A hero, most assuredly.

        1. Jim Hoch

          “Isn’t heroism in the eye the beholder?”

          Of course! Which is why most people do not act out at work. If you act out at work the beholder is your employer.

  17. Ron

    The display of signs are the more clear example of (inappropriately) exercising first amendment rights (in apparent violation of employer policy).  The teacher did not “make up” for that, with the “other” sign.

    I don’t understand how anyone can make an argument that the school district has no authority to control this type of thing. (Try it with some of my former employers, if you want to see probable some swift action.) (Anytime, since the anthem was never played, there.)

     

     

    1. Dave Hart

      Well, strictly speaking, the teacher did this at an assembly which is not a classroom setting for which the education code requires “neutral” behavior.  She might have a valid union grievance or perhaps a lawsuit.  Regardless, if she has a chemistry degree, she can easily find another job in or out of secondary public education.  Woodland’s loss.

      1. Ron

        Dave:  That might be a loophole – not sure.

        In general, employers love to hire people who publically challenge the rules.  🙂 (Even “unwritten” rules.)

        Ask Kapernick if he thinks that’s a problem.

        1. Howard P

          Kap had “problems” (performance problems [on the field, get your mind out of the gutter!]) before the ‘knee thing’… correlation is not causality.

          And, my experience is that employers LOVE employees who question rules, appropriately… but you are correct… the challenge should be made in house initially, not publicly.  Time, place, manner… important concepts…

          I always told my employees that the height of disloyalty/insubordination was NOT to advise me that I might be in error… time, place, and manner was also considered… tell me ASAP, tell me in private, tell me without yelling/cursing…

      2. Keith O

        the teacher did this at an assembly which is not a classroom setting for which the education code requires “neutral” behavior

        So teachers can exhibit their political views/protests to students on the school’s playground, in the student lunchroom, in the halls or in the gym as long as they aren’t in the classroom?  I think you you might be mistaken here.

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