Saturday, August 22, 2009

The specially protected status of homosexuals is acknowledged in Minnesota schools

Many of my posts on TONGUE-TIED concern various school abominations but I do not normally cross-post them here. But this incident seems to me to be of greater than normal interest so I am crossposting it here on this occasion

We read:
"Serving some 40,500 students and 248,000 residents living in 13 communities, Anoka-Hennepin School District’s 2,700 teachers tackle huge assignments every school day. Well, one student says two of his teachers took it on themselves to add a little extra duty to their daily doings.

Alex Merritt [pic above] recently won a $25,000 settlement after reporting that while enrolled at the STEP school back in 2007-2008, two teachers harassed him with remarks about his perceived sexual orientation....

In the settlement negotiated with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, District 11 agreed to pay Merritt $25,000 and the two teachers, Diane Cleveland and Walter Filson, were reprimanded. Cleveland, a social studies teacher, was briefly reassigned, and placed on two-day unpaid suspension....

Details were unavailable regarding the disciplinary action taken regarding Filson, a law enforcement teacher.

Anoka-Hennepin denies any violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act and its settlement of this case “does not constitute an admission of any liability of violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act or any other law or of any wrongdoing,” the Department of Human Rights Web site reported....

Settlement of the Merritt incident also directs District 11 to submit training materials related to student harassment, its complaint process and sexual orientation as a protected class for the department’s approval.

According to Olson, as has been the tradition for many years, all Anoka-Hennepin staff members go through harassment training when they are hired and principals revisit the anti-harassment policy with their employees and students every year.


Apparently the student (pic above) is straight but effeminate in some way. We read here that "Cleveland was found to have made comments such as: "[His] fence swings both ways" and also that he had a "thing for older men". Filson allegedly said the student enjoyed wearing women's clothes." Fullest details of what was said here.

The boy does seem to have been mercilessly and quite unforgiveably taunted and harassed by his teachers. I would have thought that such cruel and unprofessional teachers should have been fired regardless of whether the harassment concerned homosexuality or not. The boy must have been extremely distressed. I just hope he eventually manages to get over it.

My son has always been a quiet, inactive, non-sporty but thinking type and he got rather harshly disparaged by his teacher in Grade 4 who didn't think he was robust enough in his attitudes and actions. I immediately raised the matter with the Head Teacher and it was appropriately dealt with. But they still lost a pupil over it. I sent him to a different school the next year and he has never looked back. He now has a degree with First Class Honours in Mathematics and is working with great enthusiasm on his Ph.D. in Mathematics. He also has a girlfriend and lots of friends. So I am rather amused at the stupid value-system of that Grade 4 teacher. One wonders where the father of the boy in the above matter was. But my son was in a private school so parents undoubtedly have more leverage there. All the more reason for school vouchers.

The most interesting thing for me about the above incident, though, is how do you get to be a protected species? Fatties are often disparaged. Should they be especially protected? And what about Christians? There seems to be open season on them. Surely they should be protected from derogatory comments too? Half of the political Left would be doing sensitivity training if that one were brought in!

But Orwell knew the Left well, being one of them, and his saying that "Some pigs are more equal than others" seems to be a permanent feature of Leftist thought. (H/T Interested Participant)

Home-schooling attracts U.S. Muslims

Throughout the month of Ramadan, which begins Friday, the Cattaneo children won't have to worry about explaining to teachers and friends why they're fasting every day. That's because they're home-schooled, part of a growing trend among Muslim families. "We wanted a more religious-based influence on our kids' lives," said Ismail Cattaneo, their father. "It's the same reason the Christians have."

Home-schooling is big in Virginia, especially in Loudoun County where the Home School Legal Defense Association is based at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville. And Patrick Henry — where I was a temporary adjunct journalism professor in 2001 — is a magnet for home-schooled kids. I had been to a state home-schooling conference in Richmond in the late 1990s, but I hadn't picked up much on which religions — other than Christianity — were getting into the act.

A lot of Muslims are fine with sending their kids to public schools, Mr. Cattaneo told me, but what encouraged him and his wife, Jean, to keep their children at home was the success Christian families were having. "You hear of these Christians winning spelling bees and going to Harvard," he said.

It's not like they live in a Muslim bubble, said the couple when I visited their town house in Sterling last week. Their English tutor is Jewish; the family participates in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Little League, and the kids play with Christian home-schoolers two doors down.

There are limits, however. The oldest son, Yusuf, 14, wanted to play on a local Christian home-schooling baseball team but he was asked to sign a statement affirming that Jesus is Lord, "which we can't do," the father explained.

Part of his passion for keeping the children nearby was his experiences growing up Muslim and attending public schools in Great Neck, N.Y. "The majority of my friends were Jewish," he says. "It was difficult to maintain your perspective."

So yes, the family does break for midday prayers and there is a verse from the Koran over the living room mantel. The girls and their mom wear long pants and long sleeves even in broiling August weather in keeping with Islamic modesty requirements. Other than that, they share the same concerns other home-schoolers have, such as trying to find the right curricula for their family.

Possibly the best-known Islamic home-schooling materials come from the San Ramon, Calif.-based Kinza Academy, which embraces the classical approach to education popularized in medieval Europe. The Cattaneo family uses a secular curriculum supplemented by Koran lessons at a local private school.

Priscilla Martinez, a fellow Muslim who home-schools her six children in western Loudoun County, says the number of Muslim home-schoolers is "exploding" for several reasons, including more in-depth study and better academics than what's available in full-time Islamic schools. She wrote a lengthy article in the January issue of Islamic Horizons magazine extolling the practice.

The Cattaneos estimate there are 10 Muslim home-schooling families in the Sterling-Ashburn-Herndon area. The family reads the Koran together every day and Yusuf is already doing 11th-grade work, two years ahead of where he would be in public school. When I quizzed the children, they indicated they liked staying at home. "I ask them if they want to go to [public] school, and they say no, we're having a good time," their father says.


Some people who did NOT do well at school

Comment from Britain

1) Damien Hirst
One of the world’s richest living artists was only allowed to enter his sixth form on the back of his art teacher’s pleas. Unfortunately Hirst was only able to achieve an "E" grade in art and was refused admission to Leeds College of Art and Design.

2) Anna Wintour
The iconic editor of Vogue US and suspected inspiration for the ghastly Miranda Priestly in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, left school at 16 to join a training program at Harrods. The personification of fashion later explained that "in the face of my brothers’ and sister’s academic success, I felt I was rather a failure”.

3) Doris Lessing
The first British woman to win the Nobel prize for literature finished her schooling at 14. She left home a year later to work as a nursemaid. The books her employer lent her inspired a love for the written word and the rest, as they say, is history.

4) James Callaghan
The Labour Prime Minister from 1976 to 1979 left school at 14. He later began his rise to the helm of British politics by becoming a clerk for the Inland Revenue at the age of 17. Some saw Callaghan’s manner as complacent, but as the only politician in English history to have held all four Great Offices of State: Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary, this hardly seems fair.

5) Jacqueline Gold
The CEO and public face of high street sex shop Ann Summers left school before taking her A-levels. She joined the then male dominated company at the bottom of the payroll, earning a meagre £45 a week.

6) Sir Steve Redgrave
The five time Olympic gold medallist struggled at school as a result of his dyslexia. “At ten”, he admitted, “I still had problems reading and writing…Yet because I was big and strong I was never picked on”.

7) John Lennon
The Beatles legend failed all of his GCE O-level examinations, to the despair of his aunt Mimi. She warned him, “the guitar's all very well, John, but you'll never make a living out of it”.

8) Kate Moss
The international supermodel’s ‘too cool for school’ style was more than just a look. The face of Topshop scraped through her GCSEs achieving almost entirely Ds, Es and Fs, and dropped out altogether shortly after.

9) Richard Branson
The renowned entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin brandleft school at 15. On the launch of his first venture, a magazine named Student, his headmaster reportedly wrote; “Congratulations, Branson. I predict that you will either go to prison or become a millionaire”.

10) Alexander Graham Bell
The man pitched by some as the greatest inventor of all time and most renowned for conceiving the telephone, left school aged 15 having only completed the first four forms. His school record is said to have been undistinguished, marked by absenteeism and lacklustre grades."


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