Breaking: Indian River School Teacher Still Employed

Filed in National by on February 23, 2008

This letter to the Cape Gazette is shocking.

Cape Gazette February 22

Pray for understanding and an end to hate

Our 10-year-old sister, Amani, is in the fifth grade at Lord Baltimore, a public elementary school in Ocean View. Last Tuesday, her teacher “taught” her class that Barack Obama is a Muslim and that she would not vote for him because he does not swear on the Bible, nor recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Her teacher told the class that she is a Republican and that Barack Obama “believes in different things and is scary.”
We are very disappointed in this teacher and the Indian River School District. This teacher is telling her class something that is dangerous and untrue. Barack Obama’s website (barackobama. com) explains the truth about him. He says, “In the internet age, there are going to be lies that are spread all over the place. I have been victimized by these lies. Fortunately, the American people are, I think, smarter than folks give them credit for.”
Many newspapers have debunked the vicious rumors that are being spread about Sen. Obama. Mr. Obama has said, “My grandfather taught me how to say the Pledge of Allegiance when I was two. During the Pledge of Allegiance you put your hand over your heart. During the national anthem you sing.”
We are American Muslim kids. We love our country. We feel that kids need to be taught the truth in school. We believe that what is going on in our schools is un-American and scary. Kids are being taught hatred and fear of Muslims. Our sister was badly hurt by what was said in her classroom.
Each of us has experienced similar prejudice in our classrooms in three different schools. We would like for people to know that we believe in peace and respect for everyone. We are your neighbors and this is our home, too. We pray for understanding and an end to hate. Please stand with us.
Fatima and Basima Abdelsalam
Bethany Beach

Unreal. I wonder if Hube is okay with this type of thing? I mean this teacher is about is about as far from “PC” as you can get. Hube is not okay with this type of thing.

UPDATE:I cross posted it at kos and quickly learned the principal’s email address:

About the Author ()

Jason330 is a deep cover double agent working for the GOP. Don't tell anybody.

Comments (54)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. liberalgeek says:

    I was just about to rescue this comment. My heart sank as I read this. I think I’ll call the superintendent for a response on Monday. This is sickening. Take out the word Muslim and insert any other descriptor (Mormon, black, Sikh, Asian, Indian, Baptist) and I’m sure you will see the offense and the utter need to have that teacher reprimanded and suspended.

  2. jason330 says:

    These kids wrote a great letter in spite of going to school in the IRSD which is a stinkhole.

    I think the State Rep in that district needs to have a heart to heart with the Superintendent.

  3. R Smitty says:

    What they referred to as said by this teacher is direct from one of the many stupid emails circulating around against Obama. I am so freaking sick of that crap. Then, to have a teacher pontificate (yes, based on the words, this was pontificating) to young children is utter BS. Incredibly shameful.

    I would like to create bumper stickers with snopes.com on them and slap them on all these idiots heads until they get the point.

  4. jason330 says:

    That’s the thing. You know there are a bunch of stupid gullible people around – but if you are a teacher you can’t bring that stupidity and gullibility into the classroom with you.

    It’s crazy.

  5. R Smitty says:

    I just addressed this general gullibility in a new post. I am sick of it. A friend of mine that is a staunch GOPer sent me the email referenced in this post. I told him he was a freaking idiot and then some. It inspired some of my post and then this post provided that last push.

  6. This is beyond shocking. That such insinuations continue to circulate are bad enough. That a teacher in an elementary school has the unmitigated gall to pass along such trash to her students is unacceptable on so many levels a book might be needed for a full comment.

    Delaware can ill afford this sort of publicity and yet without exposure the racism and bigotry will continue to live. The truth and only the truth will set us free.

    Thanks for bringing the issue to the forefront. Let us hope this sort of activity can be ended once and for all in the near future.

    Peace.

  7. Pandora says:

    I too, will be writing and calling the IRSD. This is outrageous, but unfortunately not surprising. Just this week my children came home with propoganda about Cuba and Castro. Two teachers at their school are Cuban, so you know the way the argument went: Castro is the anti-christ and we should never have anything to do with Cuba- Ever!

    A few years back, my then second grader asked her teacher if she had a nice Halloween, and was told that anyone who celebrated Halloween worshipped the Devil.

    The same year, different teacher, my daughter’s 2nd grade class, was asked who they supported in the upcoming election. My daughter said, John Kerry, because George Bush forced us into war. (I am so proud of her!) The teacher told her she was wrong and disrespectful.

    First, I have a big problem with an adult taking on a child. I have another problem when the adult uses their leadership position to not only win their argument, but to embarrass a child who has no choice but to remain silent.

    Needless to say, I didn’t remain silent.

    My point is that this crap goes on all the time.

  8. Rick Turnbow says:

    I have gone further and written an e-mail to one of the fifth grade teachers telling them that I know a RESPONSIBLE elementary school teacher would NEVER do that, and that I hope her and her co-workers are doing well. After that I called and left a voice mail to another 5th grade teacher essentially telling her the same thing in a TOTALLY non-accusatory tone. Maybe someone will get the message.

  9. nemski says:

    I’m a little confused here. A ten-year old comes home and relates a pretty shocking story. Now, I have a ten-year old as well, and I’m not doubting this ten-year old, but my experience is that ten-years (no matter how honest) can tell some fanciful stories.

    But let’s assume that ten-year old is absolutely telling the truth. Why is the first recourse of the family is to have her siblings write a letter to the editor of a newspaper? Really. Is this the best avenue to take this. What about having the parents of the young girl go to the principal? It appears this has not happened.

    Just saying.

  10. I read that letter and felt heart-sick. I’m an IRSD parent and my wife is a teacher at the Southern Delaware School of the Arts (an IRSD magnet school). This sort of thing would be no surprise what-ever; there’s plenty of ignorance and prejudice in that District.

    I do, however, suggest just a slight amount of caution. This is, after all, a letter to the editor from (if not kids) young people. And it is based on reporting from a 10-year-old. It is possible that the events in the classroom were not quite as reported. It is also the case that there is a family in this area that has bounced among several different schools, and districts, taking offense at what I have heard are small slights. This *might* (he said very carefully) be something that is being presented out of proportion.

    That said, if a teacher did repeat demonstrably false information about a presidential candidate in the classroom, even without Muslim-bashing, it is a cause for concern and the District should take some action. Having watched these folks in action, though, I worry that any strong reaction from around the country will back-fire. The Superintendent is an intelligent fair-minded woman. The Board members, however, have record of lashing out at criticism and defending their “right” to be a “Christian District.”

    The last few times this has come up it has not ended well.

  11. jason330 says:

    Good points. There a couple of intertwined issues. For me the major one is a teacher seems to be teaching from a wingnut viral email.

    As for the national criticism, the genie is out of the bottle. I hope the Kos readers of last night’s post keep it civil.

    When the IRSD defends their “right” to be a “Christian District” one would hope that the leader of the DE GOP, Mike Castle will be able to …show some leadership.

  12. Hube says:

    I’m really wondering — really. Why in the fuck would even YOUR feeble intellect even conceive of the notion that such actions could be “OK”?

    You. Are. Scum.

    It’s not surprising that fucking pea-brain cannot remember our blogging about that poor [Muslim] family in the Cape District that was harrassed — indeed, you called it “first-rate blogging.

    Asshole.

  13. jason330 says:

    Easy cheesy. I’ll put you down as not supporting this teacher.

  14. Jason O'Neill says:

    Would this have been more appropriate?:

    A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. She considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, but her father was a staunch Republican. One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to high taxes and welfare programs.

    He stopped her and asked her, “How are you doing in school?”

    She answered that she had a 4.0 GPA, but it was really tough. She had to study all the time and ever had time to go out and party. She didn’t have time for a boyfriend and didn’t really have many college friends because she was spending all her time studying. On top of that, the part-time job her father insisted she keep left absolutely no time for anything else.

    He asked, “How is your friend Mary?”

    She replied that Mary was barely getting by. She had a 2.0 GPA, never studied, but was very popular on campus, didn’t have a job, and went to all the parties. She was always complaining about not having any money, but didn’t want to work. Why, she often didn’t show up for classes because she was hung over.

    Dad then asked his daughter why she didn’t go to the Dean’s office and request that 1.0 be taken off her 4.0 and given it to her friend who only had a 2.0. That way they would both have a respectable 3.0 GPA. Then, she could also give her friend half the money she’d earned from her job so that her friend would no longer be broke.

    The daughter angrily fired back, “That wouldn’t be fair. I worked really hard for my grades and money, and Mary just loafs. Why should her laziness and irresponsibility be rewarded with half of what I’ve worked for?”

    The father slowly smiled and said, “Welcome to the Republican Party

  15. Hube says:

    Fuck you, cheesy. You know damn well what you’re doing. This goes beyond cute little cheap shots about political differences and smarts.

    Maybe I’ll start putting up post after post after post implying you’re a bigot/racist/homophobe.

  16. jason330 says:

    Hube,

    You put up post after post lamenting the fact that institutions and people act as if constrained by political correctness. This is a case where someone is about as un-poltically correctr as you can get.

  17. Al Mascitti says:

    The lesson being, I take it, that Republicans are the sort of people who can’t face a complex reality, or construct an accurate analogy to reflect that complexity? Is this what passes for intellect among the Protack faction? How are those fund-raisers going, Jason? Really rolling in the dough, I assume?

  18. jason330 says:

    Jason O’

    That makes no sense and I have no idea what you are getting at.

  19. Hube says:

    Jason: If you really want to demonstrate how really stupid you are by that #16 comment — that you cannot see the difference between quite legitimate instances of ridiculously hindering PC and outright stupidity/professional incompetence as shown by this “teacher” — go right ahead.

    I’m confident that even mildly intelligent readers can discern the difference, and wouldn’t even conceive of asking the pathetic question that you did in this post.

    Oh, and as a certified social studies teacher as well (currently teaching another subject as you probably know) I can tell you that any social studies teacher worth his/her salt NEVER allows his/her biases into the classroom. And I’d bet damn good money that it’s liberal teachers that violate this dictum a helluva lot more that conservative ones.

  20. nemski says:

    And I’d bet damn good money that it’s liberal teachers that violate this dictum a helluva lot more that conservative ones.

    Must be true then.

  21. jason330 says:

    Hube – when you call me out legitimately I always cop to it. And I am here. I should not have assumed that since a great many of your posts lament political correctness – that you would be supporting the extreme opposite of political correctness.

    I am rightly rebuked.

  22. Hube says:

    As one involved in the “arena” for almost 18 years now, nemskim I’d say it gives me a much better vantage point from to which to make a judgment than you (or Jason, or most people), wouldn’t you say?

    No, I know you wouldn’t. But you’re still wrong.

  23. Hube says:

    Fair enough. Thank you, Jason.

  24. Jason O'Neill says:

    The joke was meant to lighten up, people!

    But let the facts be facts. Barack Obama was born into a radical muslim family (father, and step-father), His mother was also an atheist.

    Before you go off the handle – there is BIG difference between the law abiding Muslim population in this country, and the radical Muslims causing violence and death around the world. Big difference, and you know it.

    Race alone is intolerable in an argument in front of students, but there is disturbing pattern of Obama’s upbringing and his so-called values are detrimental to this country.

    On a separate note – have you guys realized that Obama’s initials are B.O. ?

  25. Al Mascitti says:

    And your initials are J.O. Does that explain why you think someone raised by an atheist has “so-called values that are detrimental to the county”?

    This level of “thought” is exactly what I’d expect from Mike Protack’s most loyal acolyte.

  26. Jason O'Neill says:

    You have forgotten about 9/11.

  27. “This is beyond shocking. That such insinuations continue to circulate are bad enough. That a teacher in an elementary school has the unmitigated gall to pass along such trash to her students is unacceptable on so many levels a book might be needed for a full comment.

    Delaware can ill afford this sort of publicity and yet without exposure the racism and bigotry will continue to live. The truth and only the truth will set us free.

    Thanks for bringing the issue to the forefront. Let us hope this sort of activity can be ended once and for all in the near future.”

    Jerry – I just saw this post and I thank you for speaking out immediately. I entirely agree with your comment and am shocked that hatred and intolerance is being taught in any school in Delaware. This allegations will have to be verified. Additionally, the violation of The First Amendment – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” should be addressed.

    Public school teachers function as important authority figures in the lives of their students. But, under the Constitution, their authority may not extend to matters of religious belief. This students experience clearly exemplifies a violation of our church state separation in our public schools. According to the Supreme Court, the First Amendment requires that public school students never be given the impression that their school officially sanctions religion in general or prefers a specific faith in particular. Further, students must never feel coerced by peer or public pressure into adhering to the dictates of any religion.

    In large part because of this prohibition against government regulation or endorsement of religion, diverse faiths have thrived in America since the founding of our nation. Of note, James Madison, the father of the United States Constitution, once remarked that “the [religious] devotion of the people has been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the state.”

    I will be contacting and I encourage all to e-mail jhickman@irsd.k12.de.us and call the phone number provided in this post for the Board of Education (302) 735-4000. This teacher should be held accountable for her actions. Together let us send a message that teaching lies to schoolchildren and sowing seeds of hatred, fear and intolerance is unacceptable in our classrooms.

  28. Al Mascitti says:

    “You have forgotten about 9/11.”

    Is that a joke, or are you actually that craven?

  29. liberalgeek says:

    I am going to assume that it is a joke. It will help me sleep at night.

  30. Jason O'Neill says:

  31. Al Mascitti says:

    OK, now I’m really stumped. I can’t tell the satire without a scorecard.

  32. nemski says:

    And they say Obamaites(?) drink Kool-Aid. :-)

  33. Pandora says:

    I am sick and tired of people equating being religious to being moral and ethical. Saying you follow a religion does NOT give you the moral high ground. It merely associates you with a “belief” system that I rarely see in practice.

  34. liberalgeek says:

    Al, usually satire requires some humor. Don’t feel bad that you don’t get Protack humor. It’s actually a good thing.

  35. Dana Garrett says:

    “Race alone is intolerable in an argument in front of students, but there is disturbing pattern of Obama’s upbringing and his so-called values are detrimental to this country.”

    Well, you are just a slandering piece of shit.

    When you peddle that kind of hate, the only person whose upbringing should be in question is your own.

  36. Dana Garrett says:

    Can anyone tell me if this Jason O’Neill scum has a blog? Is that his real name? Does anyone know who he is?

  37. Dana Garrett says:

    I knew Hube would be consistent on this. He always is in my experience.

    As a matter of fact, I think Hube might be the only consistent GOP blogger left in DE.

  38. liberalgeek says:

    Dana, Jason O’Neill is Mike Protack’s tech guy and a former boy scout with Mike.

  39. Al Mascitti says:

    I guess, Geek. But the video that link goes to — the Illuminati? Does Mike Protack know his No. 1 fan actually believes in the Illuminati?

  40. liberalgeek says:

    Not sure if he’s serious or not…

  41. liz allen says:

    The absolute lie that Barack is a Muslim is being carried by republican right wingers. Newsmax a right wing group chastized those who continue this slander.

    On Bill Mahr Friday night, a Georgian republican elected, stated that Obama is not saluting the american flag! That Obama doesnt wear the “flag pin”, obviously he is not a patriot!

    They put up a picture of Obama, Clinton and Richardson I believe, both Clinton and Richardson had their hand over their heart, Obama did not…but we all know that a photo does not reflect what actually happened. Obama put his hand on his heart a few seconds AFTER the pledge started, but the photo caught him off guard. Now the repukes are using it as if he hadnt saluted the entire time, a lie.

    The flag pin, is is against “flag protocol” to WEAR the flag. Perhaps the republicans and some democrats should check it out and stop desecrating the flag.

    The teacher should be reprimanded and given time off without pay, to do some research on the truth, before permitted back in the classroom.

    I wonder how that 10 year old felt while that “teacher” embarassed her in front of her class and peers.

    My granddaughters go to Catholic School. In 2004 the teacher asked the class who they supported. It was equally split between Kerry and Bush. When my granddaughter said, “no bush, no Bush”, the teacher chastized her for her opinion. Teachers are to teach, not bring their personal opinons into the classroom! They certainly should not ask a question and then chastize the child who doesn’t support the personal opinion of the teacher. We enjoy a separation of church and state in America and teachers should no that fact before entering the classroom.

  42. I realize now that the LinkedIn link I posted above goes only to a very limited public profile. The one you see if you are logged-in to LinkedIn does indeed reference IT director-ish-ness for the Protack Campangle.

  43. Dana Garrett says:

    Thanks, LG.

    Just what I was looking for.

  44. liberalgeek says:

    The LinkedIn profile Mike posted is indeed him. Boy Scouts, Mike Protack and the GOP. The best part is that he lists GMail as one of his organizations… :)

  45. Steve Newton says:

    There are only two aspects of the blogger reaction that bother me here. The first is “lynching by 10-year-old letter” mechanism. There is no indication in the letter that the students or the parents ever communicated with the school, or even that the parents communicated with the teacher. I am 99.9% sure, given the district, that it’s accurate, but here’s an alternative possibility: the teacher says in response to a student question that some people believe Barack is a Muslim and not a Christian; the teacher also says, in response to a question, that she intends to support McCain because she is a Republican. This goes home to the parents as, “Teacher said that Barack was a Muslim and she wouldn’t vote for him.”

    As I think Hube or any other teacher would verify–that sort of thing happens every single day. So my first concern is that people actually allow the facts to be verified before they jump the gun.

    My second concern is that some folks are already offering their sentences of what should happen to the teacher: “The teacher should be reprimanded and given time off without pay, to do some research on the truth, before permitted back in the classroom.

    I wonder how that 10 year old felt while that “teacher” embarassed her in front of her class and peers.”

    During the past 8 years I have waded through literally hundreds of reports (many in Delaware) of teachers comparing Bush to Hitler, or suggesting that Republicans don’t care about starving children. How is that functionally any different from what went on here?

    I am sure someone will be quick to answer that comparing Bush to Hitler or saying Republicans don’t care about starving children is just obviously true, protected free speech.

  46. Hube says:

    FYI everyone:

    Just did some checking the last few hours, and I discovered that there is a LOT more going on here with this family than is generally known. And let’s just say that the girls’ … “recollection” in terms of what actually has occurred (in various incidents, that is) leaves a lot to be desired. Quite a lot, including the story posted here.

    Unfortunately, based on the nature of my sources, I am unable to be more specific at this time. Hopefully, some others can dig into it and offer some more “concrete” statements.

  47. Hube says:

    And I’d bet damn good money that it’s liberal teachers that violate this dictum a helluva lot more that conservative ones.

    Must be true then.

    nemski: Please read Steve Newton’s comment #47. It gives just a bit of validity to my initial comments about the nature of biased comments in the classroom.

    In addition, it might be worth noting that I actually had several “verbal sparring matches” with my curriculum planning professor (as an immediate post-graduate student) regarding bias in the classroom. Several “hand-out” examples he had us go over for structural (grammar/spelling) problems were also laced with [liberal] bias. (One I recall was a pretty overt slap at Reagan’s views of the USSR.) He’d get fired up when I brought this to the fore. But at the post-course picnic at his house, he admitted to me that I was right (even though he said I should’ve concentrated on the premise of the exercise, that is grammar and spelling!)

    One of my two teachers that I consider a “mentor” was a very conservative GOPer, a history teacher. But he never, ever revealed his politics in the class and considered it extremely unprofessional to do so. Even when out-of-class, he refused to discuss his personal views with students. He recognized that someone in his position can have an undue influence on [young] students’ views.

  48. nemski says:

    hube, I just don’t like generalizations that’s all. Seriously, as you know, anyone can cherry pick examples. I also understand that you are going by your experience which is unquestionable true.

    Meanwhile, you have this jackass John O’Neill spouting off nonsense he has received in an email, so, hopefully, you can understand why some might have jumped the gun on this one.

    Anyway, as your investigation found out, there is more to this story which I am in absolute agreement with you.

  49. Hube says:

    I understand, nemski. And I know where you’re coming from — your comment #9 was quite sensible!! :-)

  50. Hube says:

    I knew Hube would be consistent on this. He always is in my experience.

    As a matter of fact, I think Hube might be the only consistent GOP blogger left in DE.

    I appreciate the vote of confidence, mi amigo. :-)

  51. Puzzler says:

    It may be possible when teaching, never to bring one’s own opinions into a political discussion. That is, one can refrain from declarations like, “I think…” when it comes to highly partisan questions. One can also be responsible and careful about not charging discussions or activities with facts or examples that lean strongly, one way or another.

    But, in the present example, the statements, “Barak Obama is a muslim. ” “He does not swear on The Bible.” “..nor does he recite the Pledge of Allegence” are not trying to persuade in matters of opinion. They are alleging knowledge in matters of fact.

    What is being alleged here is not akin to “Obama’s beliefs about the role of government in society are wrong – headed” or “Obama’s stated foriegn policy objectives are naive.” What is being alleged here is akin to, “Obama is a member of the communist party” or, “Obama beats his wife.”

    If these things were said, they’re lies, no matter who that offends.

  52. Steve Newton says:

    “If these things were said, they’re lies, no matter who that offends.”

    Again, I need to emphasize that nobody here knows whether or not those things were said.

    The stridency of many of these arguments is indicative of two things: (a) people willing to cyber-lynch a social studies teacher on one hear-say account by a 10-year-old have obviously never worked inside the public educational system and do not realize that teachers are accused of outrageous behavior without evidence on a daily basis; and (b) we’re clearly into the universe of “it’s not the evidence that matters, it’s the seriousness of the charge.”

    Here’s the problem, folks: much as people in the blogosphere would like to think otherwise, even IF the teacher in question uttered such ill-considered words about a major party’s presidential hopeful (and even then you would have a difficult burden of proof to show that they were uttered out of malice rather than ignorance), that single incident does not constitute just cause for ending somebody’s career.

    I’m sorry, but at the moment there’s nothing here to justify the frenetic level of response I’ve seen.