Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Disrespect In The Classroom

No matter where our children go to school or what sort of teachers they have, we always expect the kids to show the utmost respect for their instructors. But what happens when a teacher acts like a complete jerk towards a student? How can you respect that?

You can't. It is happening right here, right now in western Pennsylvania -- and of course it's all about Steelers fever:

When Joshua Vannoy decided to wear a Denver Broncos jersey Friday, he knew there would be some joking from diehard Steelers fans at Big Beaver Falls Area Senior High School.

But he never expected to feel humiliated by his teacher during a mid-term examination and become so shaken up that he could not finish his test.

"I feel awful, like I was dehumanized," said Joshua, 17, a junior and self-described honor student.

Of course the teacher was a complete blockhead for putting his football team preference ahead of the kid's right to self-expression. The Broncos jersey harmed absolutely no one.

How did the teacher express his disdain for the student's choice of apparel?

He said when he went to sit down at his regular desk on Friday, Mr. Kelly ordered him to "take those books off my desk. I own that desk." He placed his textbooks on the floor and then sat down at the desk.

Joshua said his teacher told him to "get out of my desk. You're sitting in my desk."

He said Mr. Kelly began sliding the desks into a circle. Then he told Joshua to sit on the floor in the center of the circle.

While Mr. Kelly passed out the tests, he dropped Joshua's test papers, scattering them on the floor so that he had to crawl around and pick them up, Joshua said.

"As I started to write my name on the papers and number them, I noticed he went to the cupboard and grabbed a handful of notebook paper and handed it to all the kids and said, 'This is part two of your test. You'll get points for this. Take the paper and ball it up with two hands and throw it at the Denver fan,' " Joshua said.

Joshua said there were "papers flying everywhere towards me. At one point, a girl refused to do it and he [Mr. Kelly] took the paper off her desk and threw it into the back of my head."

It's nice to know that the teacher's life is so perfect and wonderful that the thing that upsets him most is someone wearing a rival football team's jersey. The subject of this class is ethnic relations. You might think that such a course would teach teenagers about the evils of intolerance, but not in Mr. Kelly's classroom. It's all about singling someone out for being different and subjecting them to humiliation. But this isn't about ethnic relations; it's about loyalty to a particular football team. In that case, it's okay to hate someone who is not like you.

Mr. Kelly "has never told me not to wear a Denver Broncos jersey in his class," Joshua said. "I probably wouldn't have if I knew it was going to cause this kind of big deal. I just thought it was a shirt."
Well, it's not, kid. Wearing that shirt is worse than theft, rape, arson, murder, and genocide. If it wasn't, your teacher would not have been so mortally offended by it.

What have we learned here, class? That Pittsburgh Steelers fans are a bunch of brain-damaged idiots? That our school teachers do not deserve our respect? If I were Joshua, those might be the lessons that I would be taking away from this experience.

I have one last question. Does anyone know where I can get a Seattle Seahawks jersey, cheap?

1 comment:

jipzeecab said...

Mr. Kelly should be fired and his teaching certificate revoked. Unfortunately that won't happen to this yinzer.
I spent 4 1/2 years of my life as a steward and ultimately president of a teachers' union protecting the jobs of dopes like Mr. Kelly. Probably the worse that will happen is he'll get written up for bad judgement for humiliating a student in his personel file.