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Parents: Teacher silenced son on hunting

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tracker, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Tracker

    Tracker New Member

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    By Dennis Jensen Herald Staff

    BENNINGTON — Saying their son was "silenced" by his teacher for talking about hunting in the classroom, the parents of a fourth-grade student at North Bennington Graded School took their son out of school and have taken their case to the local school board.

    Jared Harrington's mother, Wendy Bordwell, and his father, Martin Harrington, removed their son from school with 10 days left in the school year and home-schooled the 10-year-old boy.

    "We are aggressively pursuing Jared's right to free speech," Bordwell said.

    The couple addressed the local school board Monday night to air their grievance.

    Bordwell said in a telephone interview that she believed her son was "singled out" by Kathleen Backus, Jared's teacher, while talking about hunting with a schoolmate.

    Bordwell said that, during snack time, Jared was discussing the recent spring turkey hunting season with a classmate when Backus interrupted the conversation, insisting that there be no talk of "killing" in her classroom.

    Reached through a relative, Backus declined to comment.

    At Monday's board meeting, Bordwell read from a prepared statement.

    "I believe that Ms. Backus' perception of hunting and hunters have led her to treat Jared in an inappropriate manner, singling him out unfairly," she told the board.

    "The breaking point for us, his parents, came when Jared was sharing a conversation during his free period snack time at school. He was talking with a friend about the recent spring 2008 turkey season. Both boys had been out hunting with their dads and Jared was asking his friend where he had gotten his first turkey.

    "Jared's teacher covered her ears, trying to block the conversation, and singing 'la la la la.' When asked by another school employee about her odd behavior, the teacher claimed she did not want to hear about the boys and their 'killing.' The boys were left feeling that they were not legitimate hunters, but 'killers' in the eyes of an important authority figure in their lives," Bordwell said.

    Jared "has a working knowledge of firearms, archery and the sport of hunting," Bordwell said.

    In an interview, Boardwell said that while Backus told her and Jared's father "emphatically that she had no problem with hunting," her comments made it clear that she did, in fact, deplore sport hunting.

    Bordwell said that after the incident at school, Jared's father approached Backus, questioning the teacher about her "reprimand" of his son.

    "The confrontation ended with Ms. Backus demanding that Marty leave the classroom, screeching, 'I went hiking this weekend and saw a moose and a bear, and I will never tell you where they are because you might kill them," Bordwell said.

    Bordwell suggested to the board that a decision by Backus to eliminate all free snack periods in the classroom, changing them to "working" snack time for the remainder of the school year, was designed to stop the flow of free conversation among Jared and the other students.

    Bordwell said in the interview that the "working" snack time was designed by Backus to intimidate Jared.

    "In this way, she would have control over any conversation," Bordwell said, "and we felt that kind of management plan would single Jared out among his peers. It was created and designed to silence him."

    At that point, Bordwell said, it was decided to home-school Jared.

    "And since we decided to remove Jared from school for the last 10 days of school, we've learned that the "working" snack time has never been imposed," she said.

    After Jared's parents decided to take up the matter with the school board, Backus assigned 137 pages of homework for the boy.

    "That led us to believe he was being singled out," Bordwell said.

    Martin Harrington owns and operates Marty's Sporting Goods in Bennington, so Jared has been around firearms and sport hunting since he was a very young boy, Bordwell said.

    School Principal Thomas Martin said he is confident the administration and the school board "can reach a reasonable understanding" among the parties involved in the matter.

    "It's not a huge issue," Martin said in an interview. "Marty is a good kid and Kathleen is a good teacher. The focus is on the kid. We want to try to meet his needs. Kathy cares a great deal about kids. She's troubled a great deal about this."

    Martin said the issue is neither "black and white or right and wrong. It's more complicated than that. It's brushing up against a number of things that are important to a lot of people and issues relating to the classroom. Emotions start to feed into it when people's belief systems come into play," he said.

    Martin said he would not support any move that would inhibit conversations about any student's hobby, "as long as it is in the parameters of good taste."

    After both sides in the issue have been heard, Martin said, he expects a fair solution.

    "Obviously, I'd like to see Jared in school," he said. "It's obviously a concern for me. He's a sweet kid; he's a great boy."

    http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080620/NEWS04/806200403/1003/NEWS02
  2. Skyhook

    Skyhook New Member

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    "Martin said the issue is neither "black and white or right and wrong. It's more complicated than that. "

    Pegged my BS meter. That too complicated stuff is prime 'PC' for "You folks are too stupid to understand the issue.."

    What the little student faced at the hands of that hiking tree-hugger is shameful and wrong no matter if Mr. Martin can man up to it or not.

    BTW, I have a favorite gunshop in Bennington I frequent and it is not Martin's.:mad:
  3. anfoman76

    anfoman76 New Member

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    Hey Skyhook just to clarify for ya it's the students parents that own the sporting goods store. i'm not telling you were to shop just clarifing things a little. just my .02. I don't have that problem here where I live as hunting is a way of life for most if not all. We're all rednecks:D
  4. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    The issue, as I see it is really quite simple. The teacher was imposing her beliefs on her student. That is wrong because if a teacher is to touch on any subject outside the carriculum, and they can't aviod it, then they must surely encourage tolerance to others beliefs.
    ergo: You don't have to like thier beliefs, and you don't have to agree with them, but you do have to live with them or they may not be willing to live with your's.
    As far as I'm concerned P.C. can shove it where the sun don't shine and I can argue that with an adult until hell freezes over. BUT, I cannot by virtue of my adult authority penalise a child for openly discussing anything that results from their belief system. In line with this argument of respect for others rights to be who they are, the teacher could have said. "I find this conversation personaly offesive and we are stuck here together. Do you think you could have it another time please?" this way the teacher is asking for respect for her sensibilities without telling the student that he is wrong.


    In other words, is it too much to ask a teacher to behave like a mature aduld?
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008
  5. Vladimir

    Vladimir New Member

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    This might be his best marketing ploy ever, everyone now knows which hunters supply shop to frequent!

    What happened was wrong, but the parents are overreacting. We all bitch and moan about the PC movement, but our reactions, like the actions of the parents here, just do the same kind of thing in a backwards way. The message they are sending to their son is to cry when he doesn't get his way, as bad as it sounds there is an important skill to being able to suffer silently. At work for example we are all expected sometimes to do things we don't want to- the good employee just gets it done.

    The message here is you didn't get your way, something bad happened to you, lets make a mess of it.

    Talk to the teacher, talk to the school board whatever... make it into a national story and pull the kid out of school etc? Psh, hogwash.

    I see it happening with my brother every day and regularly call my parents on it. They are currently working to get him all the "good teachers" next year, on the basis that he has behavior problems and so it will be better for him if he has teachers that are a better fit. Hogwash, what he needs is a teacher who isn't afraid to whoop his ass, and our parents need to not be afraid to support it (figuratively).
  6. swanshot

    swanshot New Member

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    All good points. Life is not fair. Learn to live that.
  7. obxned

    obxned New Member

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    Those parents should be mad as he11, and so should we all. To treat an innocent child like he was a pervert because he likes hunting is twisted and sick. What is wrong with people in education today?
  8. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    Vladimir, I would imagine that if some one tried to shut you up you would raise three kinds of holy hell, and rightfully so.
    How can you fault this kids parents of sticking up for his right to free speech.


    Art
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  9. Marlin T

    Marlin T Active Member

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    Not only free speech, but speech about an age old right to manhood, the greatest lesson in responsibility.

    Then to have a POS liberal teacher treat you like you are a leper or something? Come on James
    :(
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  10. Don Buckbee

    Don Buckbee New Member

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    Absolutey STELLAR response Marlin!!!!
    No one could have said it better...

    Don
  11. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Well.....being as Vermont is the most gun friendly state in the nation, if you prohibit all conversation of guns and hunting......a vast silence will settle over that beautiful part of New England! :D
  12. xxxxxxl

    xxxxxxl New Member

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    I have not posted in a while, but I will weigh in on this one. If I was the Principal of that school or the President of the school board we would have an immediate opening for an elementary school teacher.
  13. catfish83861

    catfish83861 Active Member

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    Vlad, Having had four children schooled in public school system.Oh yea,they were schooled at Oak Harbor,Washington. I can assure you that had this happened to one of my children I would not have been as polite as the parents of this young man were. What the heck ever happened to teaching (Reading,Writing,Arithmetic and yes American History,throw in some American Indian history,some Black history) Throw out the crap about "Tommy has two daddies" , and how the world is doomed because of Al Gores global warming. How about a Biology class or a World History class. Over reacting my a_ _! Had it been a male teacher and my child, I would have been for going over to same said teachers house and ask him politely to talk with me outside in his yard. Then seen if I could whip his liberal anti hunting ,gun hating butt:mad:. But then I don't get vindictive over my kids:rolleyes:. Just my soap box for this morning. catfish
  14. Vladimir

    Vladimir New Member

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    Swanshot's point is a good way to sum up my concerns with the parents reaction.

    And yes I have been through the public school system as a conservative and so yes I have dealt with it. Unlike too many kids these days I very well knew life wasn't fair and I was just going to have to deal with that.
  15. Skyhook

    Skyhook New Member

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    Ok, thanks for the 'alignment'.:D

    Anyhow, swansnot has it as most "all is equal to all" liberals have it. Nothing is right, nothing is wrong, all things are as valuable as all other things.

    :rolleyes:


    That teacher, like a lot of liberal arts grads, adhere to the far left way of thinking and that is they NEED control over the rest of us and will get it because they are so-o-o-o superior.

    I'm going to go barf, now.

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