Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Public School Teacher Mocks Female Student’s Romney T-Shirt, Accuses Her of Supporting the KKK

It’s not always fun and easy being a young Republican, let alone an enthusiastic Mitt Romney supporter. Whoa:
The parents of the Charles Carroll High School student ridiculed and ordered by her teacher to remove a t-shirt supporting Mitt Romney sued the teacher and school district on Friday, claiming the act violated the girl's civil rights.

Filed in federal court in Philadelphia, the suit says the district ignored Samantha Pawlucy's right to free speech, let other students threaten and harass her and subjected her "to emotional distress, simply because she exercised her First Amendment rights."

Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the district, said it would not comment on the lawsuit.

Pawlucy, a 16-year-old sophomore from Port Richmond, drew national headlines from the furor that erupted when she wore a pink "Romney-Ryan" shirt during a dress-down day at school in September.

According to the lawsuit, Pawlucy had worn the shirt all day when she walked into geometry teacher Lynette Gaymon's classroom.

The teacher allegedly told the teen that Charles Carroll was a "Democratic" school and that her shirt was akin to one spouting a logo for the Ku Klux Klan. She ordered Pawlucy to remove the shirt, then enlisted an aide who tried to draw an X through the candidates' name on the shirt.

Pawlucy's parents complained to school officials and the story went viral.

Gaymon later publicly apologized to the girl. But Pawlucy claims she endured ongoing harassment and threats and was unable to return to the school.

What kind of “educator” acts this way? Sure, teachers can certainly disagree with the political opinions of their students. But to publicly embarrass -- and ridicule -- a young girl for supporting a major party candidate for president is beyond comprehension. As I understand it, this geometry teacher doesn’t even attempt to engage her student in any type of meaningful discussion or dialogue. Instead, she reflexively resorts to fear tactics and intimidation. And while it’s difficult to imagine filing a full-blown lawsuit against my teacher if I found myself in a similar situation, I can fully understand why the student’s family believed this was necessary. The audaciousness of this “grown-up’s” behavior is simply astonishing.

Meanwhile, it’s comforting to know how taxpayer dollars are being spent these days: ridiculing young minds and bullying teenagers. Then again, I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised.


British schools to be banned from taking pupils' fingerprints without parents' consent

Schools are to be banned from collecting pupils' biometric data without the consent of parents, it was announced yesterday.

Hundreds of secondary schools in England use fingerprints or face recognition systems for the issuing of library books or to allow pupils to enter certain buildings.

Last night Michael Gove's Department for Education said that from next September, schools will be forced to obtain parental permission before taking fingerprints.

The ban will also cover the use of data for face recognition as well as iris and retina scanning.

According to the DfE, approximately 30 per cent of secondary schools and 5 per cent of primary schools use fingerprinting or face-scanning systems for a number of reasons, including recording attendance, allowing pupils to check out library books, pay for lunch or accessing buildings.

Youngsters place their thumbs on a scanner and money is deducted from their lunch account, or they are registered as borrowing a book.

Schools minister David Laws said: 'Many parents do not want schools and colleges collecting personal information from their children without permission.

'These tough new rules will mean that, for the first time, parents will have the power to stop schools from using their child's biometric data - like fingerprinting or facial recognition - unless they agree first.'

The new provisions in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 will apply to all England's schools, sixth form colleges and further education institutions where education is provided to children.

Schools will have to make sure any data collected from pupils is treated with the appropriate care, and make alternative arrangements for children who refuse to have their data taken.

Three years ago, children at a comprehensive school in north west London were 'frogmarched' to have their fingerprints taken without their parents being consulted.

The collection of biometric data was part of a new cashless system to pay for lunches at Capital City Academy in the borough of Brent.

One mother said: 'My son was frogmarched by one of the teachers to be fingerprinted even though he did not want to.

'I was just furious. There has been no consultation with the parents. They just went ahead and did it.'

The school was forced to apologise and wipe all the data. It then collected fingerprints again, but this time only from pupils whose parents consented.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers has spoken out against the collection of biometric data without consent.

The union passed a motion against it in 2010.

Hank Roberts, an ATL executive member, said at the time that civil liberties were being eroded, adding: 'It's completely and fundamentally wrong.'

Azra Haque, a teacher in Brent, added: 'Today's children are in general much more closely monitored than previous generations. We need a strong and explicit law in this regard.'

Last night Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, welcomed the government's announcement.

'This is very positive news for parents concerned about the explosion in the desire of schools to track and log pupils in increasingly intrusive ways,' he said.

'The important point is that a huge number of schools will have already installed this technology before this change and they must not be allowed to ride roughshod over parental concerns.'


Traditional school nativity plays make a comeback in Britain

 Primary school nativity plays are making a comeback with parents demanding a return to the traditional Christmas story, new figures suggest.

 For years, primary school Christmas plays have been as likely to revolve around a snowman, an elf or a reindeer than the baby Jesus, as teachers opt to avoid the Christian story in favour of secular ones.

 But new figures suggest the traditional nativity play is making a comeback, with parents demanding a return to performances based on the biblical tale.

 An increase in the number staged this month which focus on the Christian nativity has been reported by companies which provide schools with scripts for plays.

 The comeback follows years of concern that teachers were ditching the story of the birth of Jesus in favour of secular productions for fear of upsetting pupils of other faiths.

 Musicline, which sells both nativity and non-nativity Christmas plays to schools, said that this year the nativities accounted for 58 per cent of sales, up from 50 per cent last year.

 Peter Chester, from the firm, said: “Ten years ago it used to be all straight nativity. But over the years that changed. In some local authority areas, like Bradford, only about 10 per cent of orders would be for titles which included the Christian element.

 “This year though, we are really going strong on nativities. I get the feeling that people are increasingly fed up with political correctness and parents are saying we want something traditional.”

 The rise in nativity plays is being led by modern interpretations of the traditional story, with titles such as Hey Ewe – which is told from a sheep’s perspective – and Away in a Manger, the story of Maurice the proud mule who has to share his manger with a stream of visitors.

 Both titles have been written by Out of the Ark, the country’s largest provider of festive scripts for schools, with 35 titles – almost all of them nativities.

 In a sign of the return of traditional tales, the firm has seen overall sales rise by 12 per cent this year.

 Matt Crossey, from the company, said: “Parents want to see their kids dressed up and taking part in a nativity – it is a rite of passage.

 “We keep hearing about the 'death of the nativity’ but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The volumes are staggering. I don’t know of anyone that isn’t at least doing a nativity with reception or year 1.”

 The Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford and chairman of the Church of England’s board of education, said: “It’s heartening to see a rise in demand for traditional Christian nativity material. After all, if Jesus wasn’t there we wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas.

 “At the same time, in recent years we’ve seen more and more families enjoying traditional crib services. The way we choose to tell the Christmas story reflects what we think Christmas is all about.”

 Cathy Bell, head teacher at Esher Church School, in Surrey, where pupils performed A Wriggly Nativity – which tells the traditional story and features angels, kings, shepherds, donkeys, stars and sheep among its cast – said: “We have an increasingly mixed intake but it doesn’t really matter – it is important that every child knows and understands the story behind Christmas.”


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