Saturday, November 8 - Fresh updates and new developments are still coming in.... All updates will be posted after the jump.
There's a video which is making the rounds on the internet, and it's clearly disturbed a number of you because it involves a military child. The video does have political content, so it's tricky. We debated on whether or not to post it because we never discuss politics here. Never. But in the end, it's obvious that this is a subject which is relevant to military families.
The video is below:
Apparently, this took place in (or near) Fayetteville, North Carolina - home to Ft. Bragg and Pope AFB. Judging from the email, it isn't the politics that bothers many of you. What bothers you is how the teacher uses the fact that this child's father is a soldier in an unfair and emotionally-charged manner.
Questions and comments that some of you have posed are below:
- Have other military parents confronted something along these lines before, and if so, how did they deal with it?
- What have other moms instructed their children to do if a situation like this arises?
- What types of responses have other parents received from school administrators in similar circumstances?
- Have other parents found that things like this are more rare in communities lacking a large military population?
- I'm curious since Veterans Day is coming up, what kinds of celebrations, etc are done in civilian schools?
- I wonder if this is an isolated incident or if stuff like this happens more often than we know. I'm going to have a talk with my kids about this and make sure they know to tell me if anything like this ever happens to them.
Anyone have experience with something like this? Feel free to weigh in, but let's stay focused on the actual issue and not get bogged down in a political discussion. No political attacks, please.
Update I: The Fayetteville Observer has more but I've been unable to get to it. Their server must be overwhelmed at the moment. I was finally able to get to the article. The teacher is defending herself and the school district has responded. Expect a very public announcement this afternoon on YouTube, of all places, from the school superintendent:
Wanda McPhaul, a spokeswoman for Cumberland schools, said county officials were shocked when they were alerted to the video.
But McPhaul said Superintendent Bill Harrison, who will post his own videotaped statement on the matter on YouTube later today, is prohibited by state law from revealing what might happen to Harris.
Update II: The statement from Superintendent Bill Harrison has been issued:
CCS Headline News - Superintendent's Response to YouTube
I was shocked when I saw the clip of an interaction between a Cumberland County Schools teacher and her students as posted on YouTube. While neutral discussion of the political process is appropriate, at no time, particularly with elementary students, should a teacher infuse his/her political views into the discussion. Most disconcerting was the military slant that made its way into this discussion. We are a military community, serving over 15,000 military students and their families. We value the sacrifices, not only of the military parents but also those of their families.
We believe that military children are our children, military spouses are many of our employees, and military service men and women are our heroes. We proudly serve our military children and have received national awards for our support of military families.
I was particularly disturbed to see the uncomfortable position in which our children were placed due to the inappropriate actions of one of our teachers. Please be assured that the actions exhibited in this video are not consistent with the vision of the CCS. Moreover, the actions of one teacher do not represent the 7000 employees in our organization.
Once the video was brought to my attention, I immediately launched an investigation. Personnel laws prevent me from releasing information regarding individual employees and personnel action taken. I can assure you that upon completion of the investigation, I will take appropriate action.
Dr. William HarrisonCCS' Superintendent
Update III: Dr. Harrison, meet YouTube:
Update IV (11-8-08): The parents respond and shockingly, they are backing the teacher.
Cathy Thompson said Friday she wasn't upset at the time. Her parents, Angela Moore and Army Staff Sgt. Robert Thompson, also said they weren't mad at the teacher.
Moore said her daughter never mentioned feeling as if she was being picked on.
"Mrs. Harris is always active with the children like that," Moore said. "I have sat in her class when my Cathy was a student, and she was very active with the children. She tries to get them involved with everything."
Update V (11-8-08): The teacher speaks, and look who's sitting right beside her.