Pharyngula

Melissa Hussain committed Thought Crime!

And she may be fired for it.

Hussain is an eighth grade science teacher in North Carolina who was getting harrassed by bible-thumping students in her classroom — harrassment that was apparently encouraged by their red-necked ignorant parents. The kids were giving her Bibles and Jesus postcards and reading Bibles instead of doing their classwork, and seemed to have enjoyed flaunting their dumb-ass religiosity at her. So she vented on Facebook. The parents got indignant that she would dare to express her unhappiness with their darling little children, and are pressing to have her fired — but the curious thing is that the only comments they quote all seem reasonable and moderate.

Hussain wrote on the social-networking site that it was a “hate crime” that students anonymously left a Bible on her desk, and she told how she “was able to shame” her students over the incident. Her Facebook page included comments from friends about “ignorant Southern rednecks,” and one commenter suggested Hussain retaliate by bringing a Dale Earnhardt Jr. poster to class with a swastika drawn on the NASCAR driver’s forehead.

Notice that other people are making rude comments about the Bible-thumpers (and I feel the same way), not the teacher. That was the worst they could find? That she rejects religious harrassment and shamed her students to get them to stop doing it?

Here are some more atrocities from her Facebook page.

Parents said the situation escalated after a student put a postcard of Jesus on Hussain’s desk that the teacher threw in the trash. Parents also said Hussain sent to the office students who, during a lesson about evolution, asked about the role of God in creation.

On her Facebook page, Hussain wrote about students spreading rumors that she was a Jesus hater. She complained about her students wearing Jesus T-shirts and singing “Jesus Loves Me.” She objected to students reading the Bible instead of doing class work.

But Annette Balint, whose daughter is in Hussain’s class, said the students have the right to wear those shirts and sing “Jesus Loves Me,” a long-time Sunday School staple. She said the students were reading the Bible during free time in class.

“She doesn’t have to be a professing Christian to be in the classroom,” Balint said. “But she can’t go the other way and not allow God to be mentioned.”

I think teachers have a right to complain when their students and their students’ parents spread rumors and are disruptive in class. And yes, singing “Jesus Loves Me” during science class is inappropriate, a waste of time, and a transparent attempt to taunt the teacher. I also doubt that there is such a thing as “free time” in a science class: more likely, they’re given time to work as individuals or groups on classwork, and reading their Bible is not getting their work done. Eighth grade science class is not Sunday School, although I guess some retrograde retard might understandably confuse the two.

And of course Hussain is getting no support.

Thomas and Jennifer Lanane, president of the Wake County chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said she wasn’t aware of the details of the Hussain case, but said that teachers need to be careful about information they put online.

“We are public figures,” Lanane said. “We are held to a higher standard.”

Quit your jobs, Lananes. You should be ashamed. Stand up for the educators you supposedly represent; I do hold teachers to a higher standard, a standard that involves honesty and integrity and service to their discipline. The Lananes know nothing about this case, but are willing to throw a teacher who struggled with a classroom of militant morons to the wolves. Idiots who confuse “held to a higher standard” with refusing to challenge their students or bowing to community pressure, instead of to being forthright and outspoken, are the peril here.

I support Melissa Hussain. She sounds like a fine teacher who made entirely appropriate responses in a difficult situation, and I want more teachers who are willing to oppose the willful stupidity of communities full of science-hating throwbacks who want to impose Sunday School ‘rigor’ on science education.

Comments

  1. #1 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DhjBEuJ8pt63x6eBKuPx0Jv9_QE-#7c327
    February 16, 2010

    Hussain, eh?
    Something tells me her last name may be a factor here.

  2. #2 co
    February 16, 2010

    And Melissa apparently went to Wazzu. Good on ya, Melissa! You’ve got some support, as meagre as it is.

  3. #3 Goheels
    February 16, 2010

    As a product of the NC highschool system and a student at UNC-Chapel Hill I want to assure everyone that not all of us in NC are like that!

  4. #4 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    I think her job situation is horrific. The students and parents are indeed a bunch of god-soaked rednecks.

    That said, my spouse is a teacher, and she would never be so foolish as to complain about students or parents on Facebook or any similar site. More generally, she would never say something in a semi-public forum that she wouldn’t be willing to say to their faces. It is a huge mistake to think these days that places like Facebook are somehow private, and that comments made there won’t get made public.

    And a Bible on the desk is a “hate crime”? Really? It is an idiotic and petty gesture, but a hate crime?

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 16, 2010

    I reiterate what Goheels has to say even if he is a Tarheel.

  6. #6 Goheels
    February 16, 2010

    @Rev #5

    I smell jealousy.

  7. #7 Kathy Orlinsky
    February 16, 2010

    I’m not sure I’d call a bible on the desk a ‘hate crime’, but I would definitely consider it harassment. Same with Jesus postcards. I would also call it intimidation, especially since religious zealots are prone to react violently when provoked.

    Why the principal of the school hasn’t told the students and parents that this behavior must stop is beyond me.

  8. #8 Sven DiMilo
    February 16, 2010

    I smell jealousy.

    ah, no, sorry; that was me and last night’s bean burrito.

    Apologies.

  9. #9 www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1754096792
    February 16, 2010

    I have a dog in this fight.
    I’m a Science teacher at a fundamentalist Xtian private school – in Louisiana. I’m (literally) a card-carrying atheist and have made no qualms about tearing apart the curriculum (Apologia – wow, what a pile of pseudoscience tripe!) to the point where I was given free reign and was able to choose my own.
    The trick was in making my science class so hands-on and lab intensive that the kids were on MY side. I don’t just teach in an “open your books to page 326″ manner – I prefer the “See if you can figure this out” method of things. My students (really! honest!) love my class. I have parents at the back of the classroom EVERY DAY to “audit” – initially to make sure I wasn’t spreadin’ no godlessness, now because they’re learning more about science than they ever did when they were students.
    The biggest difference for me I suppose was that I didn’t NEED the job. “Fine, fire me” has always been my response to critisim.
    I guess I sold out.

  10. #10 Free Lunch
    February 16, 2010

    Why the principal of the school hasn’t told the students and parents that this behavior must stop is beyond me.

    Sadly, it is not beyond me. The principal is a craven coward. He may even be a co-conspirator with the religious zealots who think that they have the right to inflict their religion on others within a public school.

    I’m usually quite tolerant of religion, but the people here are doing their best to prove that their religion brings harm to all. These people are thugs, hiding their hatred behind the Bible. They bring shame on all who call themselves Christian and do not speak up against this harrassment.

  11. #11 vanharris
    February 16, 2010

    I’m not sure I’d call a bible on the desk a ‘hate crime’,

    I guess it all depends on how hard it hit the desk.

  12. #12 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 16, 2010

    I smell jealousy.

    Have you seen where both our Basketball teams rank in the ACC this year?

    /sports derail off.

  13. #13 hobbitjeff22369
    February 16, 2010

    Hey! I sent this link to PZ this morning. Where’s my citation?

    Seriously, this right here is the kind of thing that made me decide NOT to be a high school science teacher.

  14. #14 Jam
    February 16, 2010

    I can’t think of worse ways to handle the situations then how this teacher decided to go about it.

  15. #15 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 16, 2010

    I’m not sure I’d call a bible on the desk a ‘hate crime’,

    The first bible, no. After the students are told they shouldn’t do it, the next few are harrassment. After repeated “no, you shouldn’t do”, it becomes a hate crime. It is all about the unnecessary escalation that ends in hate.

  16. #16 Sven DiMilo
    February 16, 2010

    PZ almost never tips the hat to his source.
    On the other hand, he probably has about 40 sources for everything.

  17. #17 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    Hey, this is in my district, and I can assure you that the administration is every bit as assinine as they’ve been portrayed. Not everyone in NC is like this, but Wake Co. has a little cabal of fundagelicals in the central office who have, among other things, been establishing partnerships between schools and local church mission groups under the guise of mentoring programs. A certain high school also had it’s mid-year graduation speech delivered in a form that bordered upon a sermon by a local pastor.

    All that aside, I think “hatecrime” is a bit much… intimidation,yes… ridiculous, yes, but not a hatecrime.

    @Kathy> One of two options around here: The principal agrees with the parents, OR is also intimidated by them. Either is reasonable… there’re homosexual administrators in this district who can’t come out publicly due to how they’d be treated by parents and colleagues.

  18. #18 Feynmaniac
    February 16, 2010

    And yes, singing “Jesus Loves Me” during science class is inappropriate, a waste of time

    One time in physics lab we all began to sing the Spiderman theme song. The teacher, a man who was usually clam and spoke with a low voice, started yelling at us. Apparently we weren’t suppose to be singing while “handling boiling water”. Clearly, this was a hate crime directed towards followers of Spiderman, hallowed be thy name.

  19. #19 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @Tulse #4 has it dead on.

    Teachers (and many others) seriously need Facebook lessons. One must be very careful about what one posts on Facebook, and this teacher screwed up in this regard.

    That said, it is obvious that the attacks on this teacher probably aren’t about what she said on Facebook, that’s just a convenient excuse. These students are being disruptive at the least and are a discipline problem that she has every right to deal with. But that is why we need Facebook lessons, so that we don’t create these kinds of excuses (or do something that is less forgivable). The basic rule should be not to post anything that you don’t want others to see in a public space like Facebook, but also to make sure your privacy settings restrict everything you post to only your friends (though I’m not sure how effective that really is though, so again, if parents and students might be upset by it, don’t post it on your Facebook page.

  20. #20 MikeMa
    February 16, 2010

    I think Melissa went fairly light on them. Teachers have enough assholes to teach without jesus wallopers piling on. If they want to read religious texts in science class, I’d find a koran and a few other non-xian texts and have them do a report for failing to pay attention.

  21. #21 David Marjanovi?
    February 16, 2010

    Hussain wrote on the social-networking site that it was a “hate crime” that students anonymously left a Bible on her desk

    Exaggeration; not a hate crime ? but in context it’s clearly part of organized mobbing.

    Parents also said Hussain sent to the office students who, during a lesson about evolution, asked about the role of God in creation.

    That’s probably part of the mobbing, but a teacher should ignore that instead of implying there are forbidden questions. What about something as blunt as replying “this is science class, I teach science and not religion”?

  22. #22 sidhe
    February 16, 2010

    What #1 said. I’m willing to bet she gets harassed a lot more than just in the classroom, and is probably accused of being a terrorist or something equally stupid simply beacuse of her name.

    Stories like this reinforce why I could never have been a high school teacher. Kudos to all of you who can do it and who stick to your guns. You are better people than I am.

    I think it’s ridiculous that she’s being harassed for telling her kids to shut up. You can be damn sure that if they were singing anything other than a Jeebus song, no one would have any problem with her telling them to be quiet and do their work.

    That said, it WAS pretty stupid of her to vent on Facebook. At least not on a public post. Make sure it’s private or friends-only first! But still. The venting is understandable.

  23. #23 Joffan
    February 16, 2010

    Of course, she’s oppressing Christian students by objecting to their harassment and disruption.

    @1, that could be why the kids started in on her.

    Tulse@4, I agree it’s (probably) not a hate crime, but never trust a two-word quote.

  24. #24 Free Lunch
    February 16, 2010

    I can’t think of worse ways to handle the situations then how this teacher decided to go about it.

    I can, but I do see your point. If the teacher had complained privately to her friends on Facebook, no one would have cared. It is clear that she had no one to complain to within the school district. The whole place appears to be smug, sanctimonious hypocrites who don’t give a damn about the rights of others.

    The Wake County school system, the second largest in the state, seems to think that hiding dirty laundry is the same thing as protecting the reputation of the school system. This is a big school system in a populous part of the state. It has grown a lot and there is no excuse for any so-called Christians to think that they have the right to harrass those who don’t buy their doctrines. Are there any better ways to drive professors away from the universities in the area?

    If a teacher is being harrassed by students, you can be sure that other students are being harrassed as well. It is quite clear that the school district is failing to protect those who aren’t part of the oppressive majority. It is likely that they have chosen not to do so because they would rather abuse a minority than try to get the majority to understand that there are limits to proselytizing.

  25. #25 DaveWTC
    February 16, 2010

    Maybe in addition to commenting here we could write letters to, say the Wake Co. school board? Or whatever the appropriate body is? Need more particulars first, though. Of course, this assumes they can/would read.

  26. #26 sorceror171
    February 16, 2010

    The situation’s apalling, of course, but I have a (very minor) quibble with PZ’s summary; given how it’s been abused so, I’m very sensitive to usage of the word ‘militant’.

    Technically, it can mean either ‘violent’ or ‘actively committed’. But when speaking about the religious, in practice it’s only ever used in the sense of ‘violent’ – “militant Islamist”, etc. When it’s used about atheists, it always means ‘actively committed’.

    In other words, you actually have to pick up a gun and kill somebody to be considered a ‘militant’ believer, but all you have to do to be considered a ‘militant’ atheist is write a book.

    I suppose we could try to ‘own’ the word, but I think that it’s too far gone; I figure it’ll always conjure up subconscious images of violence. So I avoid using it unless I’m talking about someone actually being violent. The kids are being arrogant, obstreperous, obtuse, obstructionist, disruptive, etc. but (based on the info here) not violent or physically threatening, so I’d suggest not calling them ‘militant’.

    Anyway, pet peeve vented.

  27. #27 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @InfuriatedSciTeacher #17 –

    Thanks for the information about the district, but as to whether or not this is a hate crime, ask yourself how it would be treated if this kind of intimidation were directed against an African American teacher on the basis of her race, or a gay teacher on the basis of sexual orientation, or a Christian teacher on the basis of her religion (particularly on Fox News). It bothers me when people pretend that atheists can’t be a victimized minority, when the fact is that we are a victimized minority. Meanwhile many (not you) claim that Christians, an overwhelming majority, are the victimized minority.

  28. #28 AJ Milne
    February 16, 2010

    Re one phrase folk seem to be commenting on, while I would generally agree ‘hate crime’ seems a smidge strong on first blush, considering the overall context, I dunno…

    And it ain’t like the first thing jumped out at me. First thing that jumped out at me is it sounds like she’s been harassed all to hell, and that this would make your life pretty much incredibly fucking miserable. Living in the thick of this nastiness, having to deal with this crap on a daily basis, at her place of work, the place whence comes her bread and butter, and probablyt knowing too well how fucked she was overall with the administration basically supporting these incredibly fucking obnoxious, self-righteous little shits…

    Hell, considering all that, I don’t know what anyone’s supposed to expect. Expectations of professionalism or no, lose enough nights of sleep over the situation, get to the stress levels I expect would follow, I imagine there’s more than a few of us would have used language at least as strong.

    Hell, given all that, in the context, it pretty much could be called a hate crime. And while I know it’s not like it’s particularly wise to cede any ground to such pushy assholes as the religious right, I also find myself thinking: it’s too much to ask of this woman to deal with this dumbassitude anymore…

    And so, if it’s the best that can come of this, may she find a decent position in a community where there are parents and children that actually appreciate a good teacher with the guts to try to get the science right, even in the face of such bullshit… And in turn, let these pushy jerks’ sentence be that they live and die as pig-ignorant as they so clearly desire to remain.

  29. #29 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    After repeated “no, you shouldn’t do”, it becomes a hate crime.

    Absolutely not, at least as the term “hate crime” is used in a legal sense. Hate crimes involve crimes (and what the students did is likely not illegal) that are perpetrated against someone primarily or solely because they are a member of a specific group. Hate crimes are not “personal”, and not about the individual. In this case, the students are clearly reacting to their interactions with the teacher.

    To call these actions a hate crime is to dilute the meaning of the term, and is an insult to the memory of people like Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.

  30. #30 https://me.yahoo.com/a/Tz4Fp.gMjpZBeSdmJ8peOaDGW7LRaEDS#e1735
    February 16, 2010

    As a (former) high school teacher, any student caught reading anything during class that is not related to the lesson exposes himself to have it confiscated — whether it is a cell phone or a Bible, the rule is the same.

    (And any student who drops a Jesus postcard on the desk will only hint me to rip it in two in plain view of the class before throwing it away).

  31. #31 Free Lunch
    February 16, 2010

    We don’t know what the religion is of the teacher. Let’s not assume that the teacher is atheist or of a non-Christian religion. Based on the behavior of some evangelicals, she could be a Roman Catholic who is being harrassed. It would be very consistent with their unwillingness to be limited by mere laws and their attitude that only they are right and every other Christian is wrong.

  32. #32 Abdul Alhazred
    February 16, 2010

    In the USA, hate crime only exists as an aggravating circumstance to some other crime.

    Being hateful is not iself against the law.

  33. #33 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @David Marjanovi?

    Parents also said Hussain sent to the office students who, during a lesson about evolution, asked about the role of God in creation.

    Remember, this is an indirect media account of the story. It is not wise to assume that this is an accurate portrayal of what happened. It is possible that after reasonable statements such as the one you suggest, the children continued to repeatedly ask about god’s role in creation, or that the question was part of a larger pattern of disruption occurring in class at that time.

  34. #34 Flex
    February 16, 2010

    Looks like the students have found a hot-button. Or maybe created one.

    I doubt that disruptive 8th-graders care fuck-all about religion. But they do like to press buttons to disrupt classes. I don’t know if Melissa could have handled it differently, I don’t know enough of the story, but the principle and parents certainly should know better.

    I bet the kids are just tickled pink that their disruptive behavior is sanctioned by their parents. I’m certain they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with singing, even hymns, loudly at the dinner table. Or keep placing books, even bibles, on, say the steering wheel of the car. Or pinning postcards of Jesus on their parent’s pillows.

  35. #35 gr8hands
    February 16, 2010

    The more articles like this I read, the more I realize that I had an amazing public school education in Idaho (of all places).

    We were taught plate tectonics, evolution, the fact White people spread disease killing millions of Native Americans, the earth was billions of years old, etc. etc.

    We also had a Mormon school across the street from the high school (where Mormon students were forced to attend classes in addition to their regular classes).

    We also had the Gideons come to the elementary school, pass out bibles, and preach.

    We had a field trip to the rifle range where everyone went through gun safety and then shot live ammo. In elementary school.

    And yet somehow we knew of no one who was a functional illiterate. Drop-outs were the rare exception. Drugs/alcohol issues were highly unusual, and there wasn’t a teen pregnancy problem (mostly because they get married there).

    All in all, the ‘backward’ Idaho seems amazingly progressive — particularly considering how long ago all this happened!

    Reading about such things happening in school seems so foreign to me, and not a sign of good things. I would ask ‘where are the parents in all this?’ but I understand they’re part of the problem.

    I guess religion does poison everything it touches. Perhaps someone should write a book about that. Someone with devastating wit and erudition, like Christopher Hitchens. Yes, he could pen a snarky tome pointing out how religion poisons everything.

    Oh. He did. Well, good.

  36. #36 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    @ Gus>
    Do we know what her religion is? Is the leaving of literature that runs counter to her beliefs or lack of, without it being a blatant attack, something that fits the legal definition of hate crime? No, it isn’t… I’ve asked myself that, prior to posting. It is certainly harassment.

  37. #37 Ibis3
    February 16, 2010

    One bible on a desk isn’t a hate crime, but a day-after-day concerted campaign to turn her science class into a Sunday school and to harass her to the point of–what? what was the goal? to make her quit?–well, then you’re coming close. Especially if there’s been any racist type harassment thrown into the mix.

  38. #38 Abdul Alhazred
    February 16, 2010

    No. Being hateful is not a crime. Being racist or a bigot is not a crime. Maybe it should be, but it’s not.
    If a felony is motivated by hate, it might be a hate crime. That’s it.

  39. #39 Givesgoodemail
    February 16, 2010

    It’s the age-old story.

    Principals don’t support teachers against whiny parents, because whiny parents complain to…

    …administrators who don’t support principals for fear of job loss caused by…

    …school boards who don’t support administrators, because board members want to be reelected…

    …by whiny parents.

    Of course it doesn’t help that Hussein is teaching in a viper pit of prejudice.

  40. #40 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @Free Lunch – A good reminder. I had been assuming she was an atheist, but was just thinking she might be Muslim, and you’re quite right that she might just be the “wrong” variety of Christian.

  41. #41 frog, Inc.
    February 16, 2010

    About the Bible: The flash point for the comments came after the Bible was left on Hussain’s desk in December. The Bible was accompanied by an anonymous card, which, according to Hussain, said “Merry Christmas” with Christ underlined and bolded. She said there was no love shown in giving her the Bible.

    I think it’s clear that there was an organized attack on her. Now, I see no signs that the teacher in question is a master of politics — there are probably many ways she could have handled this better, to ridicule and disrupt the attacks rather than face them directly. It’s the old story from being a pupil — as soon as you let the bullies see you crack, you’re done for.

    But I don’t see why one would expect a science teacher, in general, to be a master of politics. Melissa wasn’t running for POTUS, but is a grunt in the trenches trying to make do.

  42. #42 Carlie
    February 16, 2010

    Perhaps she should “see the light” and offer selected Bible readings in class every day to appease the students and their parents. She could start off with the story of Lot’s daughters getting him drunk and having sex with him, and then move on to the guy who had sex with a prostitute who was really his daughter-in-law trying to get pregnant, and then the one about bears mauling kids who made fun of a bald guy, etc…..

  43. #43 hobbitjeff22369
    February 16, 2010

    A few additional details at http://www.newsobserver.com/news/wake_county/story/341361.html

    And I think it’s very telling that the Raleigh News and Observer site has cut off comments on this article “due to abuse.”

  44. #44 Goheels
    February 16, 2010

    I didn’t know they taught evolution in 8th grade. I certainly learned about it in 9th grade biology and AP biology in the Wake County public school system, but I’m (pleasantly) surprised they teach it in 8th grade now. Also, I’m fairly sure “asking about God’s role in creation” is code for harassing her while shes teaching actual science.

  45. #45 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @InfuriatedSciTeacher –

    You’re right, I don’t know her religion, and I don’t know the legal definition of a hate crime, but I think that an ongoing pattern of harassment (of which the leaving of the bible may have been part) may come quite close. Certainly close enough for the purpose of complaining to friends and thinking about one’s situation, if not for a court of law.

    And just to shift the goal posts on my argument, we’re getting second hand accounts of all of this and it’s entirely out of context. The only quoted words in the piece on this were “hate crime” and “was able to shame”, we have no idea what the actual text of the Facebook posts was, making this a case of very detailed quote mining/cherry picking.

  46. #46 Free Lunch
    February 16, 2010

    I wonder if Annette Balint was one of the parents encouraging their children to be disruptive in class. Her comments in the Raleigh paper show that she thinks that she is above the law when it comes to inflicting her religion on others.

    Balint is the kind of parent that every teacher hates.

  47. #47 Knockgoats
    February 16, 2010

    One time in physics lab we all began to sing the Spiderman theme song. – Feynmaniac

    At the start of one Latin class, we all stood up and sang “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah”. The teacher was bemused, but to his credit, amused. But we only did it once.

    Whether or not Melissa Hussain mistakenly called the harassment a “hate crime”, get off her case, pedants! I haven’t experienced it myself, but from friends who have, I know what torment workplace harassment can be. It’s also quite likely to shorten your life.

  48. #48 AJ Milne
    February 16, 2010

    She could start off with the story of Lot’s daughters getting him drunk and having sex with him, and then move on to the guy who had sex with a prostitute who was really his daughter-in-law trying to get pregnant, and then the one about bears mauling kids who made fun of a bald guy, etc…

    Indeed… Which suggests something to me. Something I find amusing… And almost too appropriate, really…

    I mean, I’d bet there’s case law somewhere on workplace harassment where asshats being sexist jerks (apart from just trying to intimidate… and oh, look, there’s lots of that, here, too) dropped some violent porn on someone’s desk, whatever, got ‘emselves arraigned for it…

    So, actually, to those trying to argue no crime was committed here, I wouldn’t be so suprised to hear there’s precedent says otherwise.

    (/I mean, man, have you ever actually read that book? It’s fucking disgusting.)

  49. #49 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    The way these articles are written, including the one that says her religion is not noted on her Facebook page, suggest that her Facebook page was set to public, an entirely foolish decision on the teacher’s part. She doesn’t deserve to be fired, but she does need to learn a lesson. I know of college students who posted some potentially sensitive information to which they were privy on their Facebook page and when asked to remove it and to use a little more consideration in what they post on Facebook, they claimed that their privacy had been invaded. There are clearly a lot of people who need a few lessons in what is private and what is public and how to use social networking tools and the internet in general.

  50. #50 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    Goheels> Evo. has been in the curriculum for 8th grade since the ’04 revision, at least… and I’m fairly certain some watered down version of it was in there before.

    Gus> yes, it’s out of context. I don’t doubt that she’s being harassed, and her surname is enough to spark that all by itself in somewhere like Apex.

  51. #51 Knockgoats
    February 16, 2010

    AJ Milne@48,

    Indeed – maybe she could get the students expelled for reading books containing violent porn in class?

  52. #52 AJ Milne
    February 16, 2010

    Re #51:

    Man, I would so take that case…

    (/’Kay… So I’m not actually a lawyer. But I’m starting to think that just might make it worth becoming one.)

  53. #53 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    And one other thing about this story, is that it points out once again the sad job that our media does in covering potentially inflammatory stories. Hussain’s side of the story is not told, the only statements from her are the quotes mined from her Facebook page. So we are getting the story from the side of the district more concerned with their image than with facts and fairness and from aggrieved parents. We don’t get Hussain’s side, probably at least partly due to a district policy preventing her from talking to the media, or at least through some decision on her part that talking to the media would make it worse. We need Hussain’s side to begin to fairly evaluate the story, but all we get is a statement that she didn’t return calls or email messages, and somehow the media thinks that absolves them of doing their job. I was once contacted for comment on a story that involved me, I got one email. I didn’t get a chance to reply and the story went to press without me being contacted and it was inaccurate. Sadly someone thought sending one email constituted a journalist doing their best to get the story.

  54. #54 aratina cage of the OM
    February 16, 2010

    I had been assuming she was an atheist, but was just thinking she might be Muslim

    Looking at her blog, she could also be a nonbeliever who still observes the cultural practices of religions important to her family, or she could have adopted a hybrid religion. Whatever the case, it doesn’t take much effort to recognize the menacing thirst for a theocracy in bible-thumpers and all the bigotry that comes with it.

  55. #55 emote_control
    February 16, 2010

    The American educational system is such a fiasco. I don’t know how you people put up with it. If students in an Ontario school tried any of this garbage, even if they had every parent in the school supporting them, they’d spend every spare minute in detention for disrespecting their teacher until the behaviour stopped. This is simply harassment, and it should have ended as soon as it started.

    Hussein would do well to get the hell out of North Carolina, or at least out of that county. Leave the knuckle-dragging idiots to their ignorance and find a place to work that values education. There’s no reason that she should put up with either the insubordination or the lack of support from her peers.

  56. #56 Matt Penfold
    February 16, 2010

    This teacher was a subject of a prolonged bullying campaign. Bullying is simply unacceptable.

  57. #57 Abdul Alhazred
    February 16, 2010

    … they’d spend every spare minute in detention for disrespecting their teacher until the behaviour stopped …

    You mean our schools are too libberul?

  58. #58 Goheels
    February 16, 2010

    http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/7041186/
    This link is from WRAL, the local CBS affiliate in Raleigh. It has a few more quotes from her facebook page including:

    The parent said Hussain then wrote, ?I have a meeting with the (possible) Bible boy on Monday ? Heaven help him, I am still so mad at that child!?

    I think that it probably is inappropriate to post that on her page assuming she did (I wouldn’t put it past the parent to have made it up).

  59. #59 Cinnamonbite
    February 16, 2010

    A) How did she get to that age and not know talking about her job, openly on the internet, whether she directly said anything or not, is bad news.

    B) Some people actually leave their Facebook open to everyone? That’s dumb. Doubly dumb if you’re going to talk bad about your job.

    C) Leaving a bible is not a hate crime unless she was smacked upside the head with it. It sounds more like she’s adding fuel to the fire. Mountains out of molehills. Drama llama. It also sounds like she lacks the ability to maintain discipline in the classroom and because she’s entered into this game with a roomful of kids, she lost their respect. Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. It’s hard work for low pay. Sorry, that’s reality.

  60. #60 gistgrant
    February 16, 2010

    Man, even in South Africa (+90% woo) we don’t get this kind of thing in our schools. Well, to my knowledge. At least we have that over good old U S of A. My sympathies America.

  61. #61 Bobber
    February 16, 2010

    My time as a teacher in North Carolina has left me convinced that I don’t want to be a teacher in North Carolina. I taught eighth grade social studies in an area north of Durham, and my students not only didn’t know what a Catholic is, two of the three teachers in my team didn’t really understand what an atheist is, while the fourth – the lead teacher who taught science – is a YEC. During teacher meetings the principal led the staff in an opening prayer (I left the room). Christian teachers were allowed to sell trinkets for their churches in the cafeteria during lunch periods. (Imagine the outcry if I had attempted to sell Darwin fish in support of the JREF.) Over 90% of my students, when asked how the universe came to be, said “God did it.”

    There are many bastions of rationality and critical thinking in North Carolina, and I believe the trend is to the good. But there are still very insular redoubts of ignorance, and the entrenched powers are still wedded to their faith when it comes to public policy.

    Oh, and the last principal I had was one of those “the parents are always right” kind, who would rather fire a teacher than confront a parent over a child’s misbehavior (unless that child was black). When a minister accompanied a parent to make a complaint about something I said in class (if I recall correctly, it was along the lines of “you don’t have the right to complain about your grade if you don’t do any work”), I had a hard time understanding a word he said, as his lips were firmly pressed against the minister’s ass.

    (But I’m not bitter or anything…) *snort*

  62. #62 Rey Fox
    February 16, 2010

    When I went to school, wearing a hat in class was considered “disruptive”, whether or not you were singing at the time. So the usual double standards from chickenshit school administrators.

  63. #63 raven
    February 16, 2010

    Melissa Hussain is about to be Expelled for the crime of being a….science teacher in the DFN.

    They do that a lot in fundieland.

    No one keeps track of how many high school science teachers are harassed out of their jobs, pushed out of their jobs, or outright fired in the USA in general and the south central USA in particular for teaching evolution, astronomy, and geology. By fundie death cult xians.

    But it is more than a few. I’ve heard and read numerous stories from and about the victims.

    One teacher in eastern Texas was fired for “suspected atheism”. Not even for atheism, just “suspected atheism”. Thoughtcrime is alive and well in Texas.

  64. #64 Kome
    February 16, 2010

    It’s a goddamn shame when educators are not allowed to educate.

    Is there anything we can do to show her our support? An e-mail address of someone we can contact, an online petition to show how much support this woman has, something?

  65. #65 Legion
    February 16, 2010

    RE: singing in class. Many years ago when we used to teach, we were preparing to administer a test when the class broke out in a rousing rendition of the Tin Man’s If I Only Had a Brain.

    We were amused.

  66. #66 frisbeetarian
    February 16, 2010

    This must be a new teacher since she doesn’t seem to know how to handle harassment by students. As a high school student, I used to organize harassment of really bad teachers that were not teaching us anything, with good teachers, I helped keep the rowdy kids quiet. She should have started sending the trouble makers to the principals office and then starting giving them poor grades (if they are deserved). The teacher has the final power in the grade they give. I’m sure a letter approved by the principal or education organization sent home (via mail, not student) letting the parents know that disruption in her class will not be tolerated because it is disrupting other students and it will lead to poor grades. Let’s see how the student likes taking that class again next year.

  67. #67 Monica
    February 16, 2010

    This story makes my blood boil over. I concur that there needs to be a way to show this woman support, whether some kind of petition or phone/letter writing campaign to the school district.

  68. #68 raven
    February 16, 2010

    Melissa Hussain committed Thought Crime!

    We don’t know her religion or appearance. From PZ Myer’s post anyway.

    But with a name like Melissa Hussain, in NC among ignorant fundie xian death cultists, she is guilty of being a Moslem until proven innocent. Hell, they even think Obama, the president is a Kenyan born, Moslem terrorist.

    For the cultists, some groups are very much OK
    and mandatory to hate. Moslems, gays, scientists, science supporters, Catholics, Democrats, and so on. Hatred and bigotry are important core values of their sects.

    This is just their normal and usual behavior, nothing new here.

  69. #69 tsg
    February 16, 2010

    If it were me, I’d have taken the Bible and made a special point of showing just how evolution in particular and science in general conflicts with it, in great detail. Well, they were obviously interested in knowing, right? Otherwise why put the book on my desk? I mean, what kind of teacher am I if I don’t respond to and encourage my students’ curiosity?

    And, for balance, then I’d spend the next month showing how science and evolution conflict with every other creation myth.

    And I’d test them on all of it. For 90% of their grade. And spelling counts.

    “In the Voluspa, what is the name of the liquid substance that is the source of all living things?”

    “What are the names of the Six Ages in Jainism?”

    “Whose creation myth is called Enűma Elish?”

    And then I’d get nasty.

  70. #70 Ibis3
    February 16, 2010

    The principal of the school: Craig Harris charris@wcpss.net
    Ms. Hussain’s work e-mail: mhussain@wcpss.net
    The school board: http://www.wcpss.net/Board/boeinfo.html (West Lake Middle School is in District 2)

  71. #71 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010
    I smell jealousy.

    Have you seen where both our Basketball teams rank in the ACC this year?

    /sports derail off.

    Not so fast, RevBDC! I can’t let you derail the derail without reminding everyone everywhere that the only basketball team that really matters is the UConn women. Last night they had a bit of a scare: They “only” beat the 12th ranked team in the country (Oklahoma) by 16, which is below their 20+ average margin of victory over ranked teams during their current 65-game winning streak (including their runs through last year’s Big East and NCAA tournaments)¹.

    They’re so dominant in the women’s college game that recent online polls and newspaper stories have speculated about how they’d do against men, or WNBA pro teams, or the U.S. women’s national team. All that is ridiculous, of course. I think they’d probably beat even a good high school boys’ team — even high school boys would probably be bigger and stronger, position by position, but I think superior coaching (Geno Auriemma is the best coach in basketball, at any level, anywhere in the world, IM[V]HO), better developed skills, and big-game experience would overwhelm that advantage — but college men (at least Div. I teams) would surely beat them (they actually practice against men regularly, but not against a men’s team, nor against men who could make a Div. I squad), and the WNBA pros and the national team are full of people whose talent matches their top two players (last year’s national player of the year Maya Moore and Tina Charles, whose only real competition for national player of the year this year is… Maya Moore), and whose experience and maturity is even greater.

    One very salutary effect of my move to Connecticut 10 years ago was to become a fan of this program, and through them, more generally a bigger fan of women’s sports than I ever had been.

    Yow! I only intended this as a very brief, cheeky rejoinder to the “sports derail,” but my fingertips seem to have taken over. Sorry. We now return you to your regularly scheduled on-topic discussion!

    ¹ BTW, this level of domination doesn’t mean that women’s college basketball is weak; UConn is just that good. They’re the John Wooden/UCLA of the women’s game.

  72. #72 auntieintellectual
    February 16, 2010

    @67; I sent and received a reply from her at mhussain@wcpss. Her principal is at charris@wcpss.net. You might also leave a comment at the N&O blog, http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/melissa-hussains-facebook-comments where comments are likely to get heated- if they are left open. While you are there you can get an idea of how contentious our school district is right now.

    Other than that, I have no idea. This is my school district, and my home. Since I neither play nor will win the lottery, my children will remain WCPSS students, and I’d rather not see the “pig-ignorant” win. There are those here who like to learn.

  73. #73 Bernard Bumner
    February 16, 2010

    Leaving a bible is not a hate crime unless she was smacked upside the head with it. It sounds more like she’s adding fuel to the fire. Mountains out of molehills. Drama llama. It also sounds like she lacks the ability to maintain discipline in the classroom and because she’s entered into this game with a roomful of kids, she lost their respect. Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. It’s hard work for low pay. Sorry, that’s reality.

    Cinnamonbite, even if all of that was true, why aren’t their decent, morally upstanding parents sticking up for the teacher?

    If, as a child, I’d systematically tried to undermine one of my teachers, even a weak one, my parents would have quite rightly disciplined me. I was taught to go to school to learn, and that teachers should (broadly) be afforded manners and respect so that they can do their job.

    As for, Leaving a bible is not a hate crime unless she was smacked upside the head with it. Well, that is just very silly indeed. Context is everything.

    Of course, there may be much more to this than simply a case of a teacher naively posting on a social networking site. However, on the face of it, and you only hold the same information as anyone else, this seems to be a clear case of students systematically bullying their teacher. If so, then it would be a shame if parents simply supported their children to do so.

  74. #74 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    I’m not sure I’d call a bible on the desk a ‘hate crime’, but I would definitely consider it harassment. Same with Jesus postcards. I would also call it intimidation, especially since religious zealots are prone to react violently when provoked.

    I think it’s a mistake to call it a hate crime, or even hate speech—you sound crazy—but I think that in point of fact it can be a form of hate speech.

    The Bible says that people like me should be killed, and will be tortured forever after they die.

    I find that pretty hateful.

    The central orthodox Christian doctrine of Salvation and damnation is pretty damned hateful.

    What could be more hateful than telling people they’ll be tortured forever for disagreeing on points of religion, and that you worship the God who’s set things up that way?

    Putting a Bible on somebody’s desk, when you know that they’re not a Christian, should be considered to be similar to putting Mein Kampf on a Jew’s or Roma’s desk.

    Hitler never even aspired to the endless torture for billions of people that the Bible says is in store for the likes of me, or Hussain.

    And consider a “Jesus loves me” me tee shirts. It’s not much of a stretch to see that as implying that Jesus doesn’t love you, asshole, and if you don’t agree with me and receive his love, my loving God is going to torture your ass forever. Even if that’s not what you mean—and especially if that’s not what you mean—it’s pretty stupid to go there and expect people nonbelievers to take it well.

    Maybe the wearers of the shirts don’t think about it that way—they think it’s a positive message—but Jesus, it sucks.

    Certainly many Christians don’t think nonbelievers are really going to be tortured forever, but many do. Even many who don’t think that do still think that Christians will be rewarded wonderfully, and nonbelievers will be left out in the cold one way or another. (Either they’ll simply lose out on immortality or they’ll have immortal afterlife in an iffy place, not invited to the cool party with the Christians. At best, they won’t be invited to the party, forever.)

    Being a moderate or liberal Christian who doesn’t accept the dark side of the doctrine of Salvation is rather like being a Reform or Reconstructionist Nazi. You might not accept the bad parts of Mein Kampf, but putting it on the wrong person’s desk is still hate speech.

    Religious speech is specially protected in many contexts, even if it is literally hate speech too—not because it isn’t hate speech.

    A science classroom should not be one of those contexts.

    Hussain was probably right that various said and done to her constituted hate speech, but probably strategically niave to say so, and especially to conflate that with hate crimes. That’s way too far outside the Overton Window in the U.S., especially her part of the U.S., and her chances of getting a fair shake are about zero.

    Hmmm… I can think of a way that some of these events may be technically hate crimes. If the “spreading of rumors” about her is slander, that could actually be criminal, and if it’s motivated by religious hatred, that could be a hate crime.

    I’m guessing that argument would go nowhere, even in court, and certainly in public opinion, even if it’s technically correct.

    In the court of popular opinion, it’s inevitable that she’s more likely to be “convicted” of a “hate crime,” for supposedly interfering with her lovable, harmless Christian students’ freedoms of religion and expression, out of anti-religious “hatred.” Bleah.

  75. #75 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    Please, please, please, any of you who feel like writing, be sure to be polite, not to be “accommodationist”, but because the principal and district officials aren’t likely to respond well to angry harangues and potential threats. We certainly don’t want to Ms. Hussain to end up like Kevin Trudeau, and we don’t want to look like his followers.

  76. #76 Richard Eis
    February 16, 2010

    How long before our discussion of this shows up on some fundie site labeled as persecution? Think of the children, she didn’t have a bible so we were just being kind…boo hoo hoo.

    Less than a week i’ll bet. Especially after we bork the poll you know someones gonna do.

    Harrassment is harrassment. Especially when its coming from children, parents, the administration and probably other teachers too.

    She isn’t going to do well out of this. I am therefore happy to make a stink if its true.

  77. #77 djennings64
    February 16, 2010

    While I can understand the reaction of parents to these comments, if I myself were a teacher in a similar situation, even one that was not related to religion, I would find it unbelievably galling that anyone could dare take me to task over personal thoughts and feelings that I would choose to share with my friends online or even through emails or memos etc… The real issue here is that as an educational professional, I am quite sure that Ms. Hussain is quite able to reconcile her personal feelings about the situation against her better judgement as a teacher. THAT is the higher standard we hold public figures and responsible parties who teach our children to. Chastising someone for what PZ rightly calls “thought crime” is wrong, immoral and is sickening. If any kind of disciplinary actions are successful against Ms. Hussain, I will strongly decry these emasures and rail against them with all my passion as this cannot go unanswered.

  78. #78 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    auntieintellectual,

    That’s way uncool to post anybody’s email address in clear text, such that it can automatically be collected by spammer software.

    (Maybe PZ will obfuscate the email address suitably?)

    Getting people on spammers’ lists is not a good way to communicate dissent.

  79. #79 raven
    February 16, 2010

    I would also call it intimidation, especially since religious zealots are prone to react violently when provoked.

    I think it’s a mistake to call it a hate crime, or even hate speech—you sound crazy—but I think that in point of fact it can be a form of hate speech.

    What is crazy? Fundie xians do tend to get violent and occasionally kill people. Look up Scott Roeder, Kansas.

    Where I used to live, some idiots burned a cross on someone’s lawn recently. Their crime. White people who adopted a black child. Who is like 7 years old. For people who can go bonkers over a little black kid, nothing is too weird or sick to do.

    I’d be real surprised if some of the people involved haven’t gotten death threats by now. This is a standard fundie xian tactic. In Dover, PA, even a federal judge got death threats.

  80. #80 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    My, I love how anything about education brings out the anecdotes of “well, when I was in school,” as if these stories count for something more than the personal experience they are. Time to earn my moniker.

    Frisbeetarian> new, or simply hasn’t had to deal with this sort of harassment before now. If she were THAT new, suspension wouldn’t have been among the options considered, she’d be looking for a job elsewhere. As for the rest of it… it’s great that you thought it your place to police who “wasn’t teaching anything”, but that’s not the role of a high school student, that in fact is why teachers are observed and review 4 times per school year. You may have been more benevolent about it than the typical high school student, but student views of what constitutes teaching tend towards direct instruction methods rather than those that are actually encouraged in science education methods courses.
    The teacher does not have final power in the grades they give in this state, the principal of the school does, who can alter the grade and/or promote the student regardless of their grade. The grades I turn in are subject to review by the principal and must be justified by me in case of any parent complaint, nor may I grade based on behaviour. This is a district-wide policy, so Ms. Hussain is subject to it as well. That being said, removing students who are disruptive is definitely something she should have done, and from some of the comments, it appears that she did so. There are schools where removing a student from your room is frowned upon, and can only be done after repeated contact with the parents. Not handling the situation “in house” or failing to go through the parents (who might well have been egging it on, in the case of Ms. Balint) can easily result in a new teacher looking for a job elsewhere.

    As for the stupidity of publicly posting something like this to Facebook (or of a teacher not restricting access to their social networking accounts if they choose to have one at all), I do have to agree, and it’s something that is stressed during the student-teaching orientation process, before they even graduate (well, at least at the two universities with which I’m familiar). This shouldn’t be grounds for dismissal, but who knows with WCPSS.

  81. #81 octopod
    February 16, 2010

    Oh man.
    Confiscate the book from the kid who’s reading it in class — perfectly within a teacher’s right. Say “What is this you’re reading? Not classwork.” Flip through to some of the nastier bits — incest, genocide, and advocacy of kidnapping and rape — and read it out loud in a horrified voice. (Lot’s daughters and the stuff in Judges, for instance. Possibly the baby-smashing Psalm as well.) Tell them to stay after class — you’ll be going to the principal. Keep the book.
    Continue class.

  82. #82 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    raven, threatening someone with death is a crime — leaving a bible on their desk is not. We really need to keep a sense of proportion here.

  83. #83 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    raven,

    I think it’s a mistake to call it a hate crime, or even hate speech—you sound crazy—but I think that in point of fact it can be a form of hate speech.

    What is crazy? Fundie xians do tend to get violent and occasionally kill people. Look up Scott Roeder, Kansas.

    Well, yeah. I wasn’t saying it wasn’t hate speech—I was saying it basically was—but that it would inevitably sound crazy to most people if she flatly stated that truth. (Which is why I went to the trouble to explain how it basically is.)

  84. #84 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    The school district (and anyone reading about this case) should take this as an opportunity to craft a specific social networking/internet policy (the story states that they do not have one – welcome to the 21st century) and to institute training procedures on the new policy. The teacher should be warned about how she handles information online, but I think that given the lack of a policy, which implies lack of training, that suspension or firing is a bit excessive. Time for the teacher, the school, and the district to learn from this experience and create better results in the future rather than focusing on retribution right now.

    What sends a better message to parents and students: “We’ve bowed to your wishes and punished this teacher without addressing any underlying issues,” or: “we’ve addressed this situation to prevent this type of thing from happening again and the teacher has been trained on the appropriate use of social networking sites.”

    Sadly, the best outcome is the least likely.

  85. #85 Glen Davidson
    February 16, 2010

    Well it’s all context, isn’t it? Students seriously asking about the “role of God in evolution” shouldn’t be sent to the office, but ones merely doing it to be disruptive should be.

    And yes, Jesus T-shirts ought to be allowed, that is, if “God is dead” T-shirts are. But if that’s what you see being worn all the time, it’s not likely that the teacher’s being respected.

    So, while I do suspect that she has been harrassed, I really don’t know for sure. It looks like both sides should get a chance to explain themselves, and if she’s just being harrassed, tell the parents to teach respect for the teacher.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  86. #86 Matt Penfold
    February 16, 2010

    raven, threatening someone with death is a crime — leaving a bible on their desk is not. We really need to keep a sense of proportion here.

    Tulse,

    I am not sure where you are coming from with this.

    Do you not think bullying can be a criminal act ? And that leaving a bible on someone’s desk can be part of a campaign of bullying. Taken in isolation it may not be a crime, but taken in the context of sustained bullying then I would argue it can be a crime.

  87. #87 Kimberly Hosey (AZ Writer)
    February 16, 2010

    I feel sorry for the kids as well, prickish ignoramuses though they may be. I used to be one of those kids, albeit a tad less dickish and transparent. I was/am smart, inquisitive, science-loving, etc. I was raised sorta-Catholic but mostly secular. But my family happened to get in with the evangelical crowd, in particular the pseudo-intellectual evangelical crowd, right around high school. There’s this very tempting feedback you get as a teenager, mostly from adults, mostly from supposedly authoratative adults, when you question evolution. I got it from the youth minister and church elders, but also from a math teacher and a science teacher (who weren’t in my church and were supposedly secular) at the same school. I questioned and pestered and wrote a now-humiliating 26-page paper “debunking” evolution (not as an assignment), which the teacher actually READ and annotated, which I now appreciate must have been a slog and a half, but at the time it was just another proof of how deluded she was. Everything and everyone (except the poor teacher) confirmed that I was a spiritual warrior, but more than that, an intellectual one. There’s something pretty rewarding about that.

    Of course, now, I just got a hate e-mail the other day after posting this, so I’d say I’m cured. I can’t understand how I was ever so deluded — but high school is a great time to really get ‘em, and it’s too bad for these kids.

  88. #88 chowchowmom
    February 16, 2010

    My daughter is in this class. This has nothing to do with religious beliefs. These aren’t a bunch of kids sitting around thumping a Bible! One of the children had a bookmark that had a picture of Jesus on it. She took it and threw it away (this is a deeply religious young man). Not a good way to handle it on her part (violation of his civil rights) so let us not make her a martyr. I guess she was offended when a student left a Bible for Christmas on her desk. It was a new Bible with a note that said Merry Christmas. Christ was underlined. That is not unusual. These are thirteen year old children and I for one think an adult should behave as an adult. Ms Hussain vented on her facebook. Her rights I guess, but when hatred and intolerance is being written by her friends she doesn’t stand against it, she joins in. At one point she replies that she loves the idea of Dale Earnhardt swastika and students crying but they could fire her over that. In addition her silence showed support for their horrible racist bigoted comments about Southerners. I do appreciate the fact that she had two friends that stood against her remarks.

    As for you sir I think you are irresponsible for the comments you have made about Bible thumping rednecks. Your elitist attitudes are why the majority of people think you are a pompous ass.

  89. #89 auntieintellectual
    February 16, 2010

    #78 – Sorry! Maybe someone can correct that, as well as where the exact same addresses also appear at #70.

  90. #90 Tronzu
    February 16, 2010

    Well, I don’t know if I would support her, it depends whether she is a muslim scumbag.

    So it would be better to fire her if she is, even for the wrong reasons.

    Muslim scumbags shouldn’t be teaching in school.

  91. #91 Kimberly Hosey (AZ Writer)
    February 16, 2010

    I think it’s entirely possible that the kids were “just” leaving Bibles, using Christian paraphernalia, etc. I also find it hard to believe, if the teacher’s views are known/understood, that they didn’t realize they were being provocative.

    Attitudes like this about “elitist” nonbelievers are why you tend to get comments “about Bible thumping rednecks.”

  92. #92 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    Matt, this case really isn’t about bullying in standard sense — it is about unruly students, poor classroom management, poor support from the school administration, and poor judgement in the use of social networking tools. The kids Hussain is teaching are in eighth grade — they are probably no older than 13. Are you honestly saying that these rude, unruly children are committing a criminal act against an adult through their actions? Especially when those actions could otherwise be described as covered by the notion of free speech?

    Seriously, using the language of hate crimes and bullying for this case is vastly out of proportion, and does damage to those instances where those terms are genuinely justified.

  93. #93 Matt Penfold
    February 16, 2010

    It was a new Bible with a note that said Merry Christmas. Christ was underlined. That is not unusual.

    It may not be unusual where you come from, but I can assure in the civilised world it is considered very odd and peculiar behaviour indeed.

    Given you lack of awareness of what passes for normal behaviour in civilised society, I am reluctant to given anything else you have to say any credence.

  94. #94 aratina cage of the OM
    February 16, 2010

    This has nothing to do with religious beliefs. -chowchowmom

    No, this has to do with religious harassment of the teacher by the students.

  95. #95 David Marjanovi?
    February 16, 2010

    It was a new Bible with a note that said Merry Christmas. Christ was underlined. That is not unusual.

    It’s mobbing. That it’s not unusual makes it worse.

  96. #96 Matt Penfold
    February 16, 2010

    Matt, this case really isn’t about bullying in standard sense — it is about unruly students, poor classroom management, poor support from the school administration, and poor judgement in the use of social networking tools. The kids Hussain is teaching are in eighth grade — they are probably no older than 13. Are you honestly saying that these rude, unruly children are committing a criminal act against an adult through their actions? Especially when those actions could otherwise be described as covered by the notion of free speech?

    If there is a sustained campaign of behaviour intended to harass and intimidate here, then yes, there would (or should) be a crime being committed.

    I think the problem you have is that you seem to unable to look at events in context. Taken singularly an event may not be criminal. Taken as part of an ongoing campaign, then might well be.

  97. #97 tsg
    February 16, 2010

    As for you sir I think you are irresponsible for the comments you have made about Bible thumping rednecks. Your elitist attitudes are why the majority of people think you are a pompous ass.

    Your concern is noted.

  98. #98 MikeMa
    February 16, 2010

    I sent email to the teacher and cc’d the principal. Hope she gets through this but even more, that she gets the hell out of that environment.

    Ignorance is its own reward.

  99. #99 DaveL
    February 16, 2010

    ne of the children had a bookmark that had a picture of Jesus on it. She took it and threw it away (this is a deeply religious young man).

    So what you’re saying is that this woman seized an innocuous bit of a student’s private property from him and threw it out solely because of her religious bigotry against anything Christian… and that the principal, school administrators, and the local new media all ignored the incident. In South Carolina.

    Liar.

  100. #100 Bernard Bumner
    February 16, 2010

    In addition her silence showed support for their horrible racist bigoted comments about Southerners.

    Southerners are a race now?

    But seriously, your post is dripping with an us vs. them attitude. The description of the behaviour of the students given in the news report certainly doesn’t quite square with your post. I wonder why?

    Also, I’m at a loss to see why anybody would be upset or offended by being merely “left a Bible for Christmas on her desk. It was a new Bible with a note that said Merry Christmas. Christ was underlined.” Actually, I can think of one reason, but given that I know nothing of the teacher’s religious affiliation, then I wouldn’t want to make assumptions.

    One of the children had a bookmark that had a picture of Jesus on it. She took it and threw it away…

    This sounds incredible. Why would a teacher do that? Why would a sane and reasonable person do that without provocation?

    Your elitist attitudes are why the majority of people think you are a pompous ass.

    Well, the majority of people couldn’t find their own arse with both hands and a map, so who cares what they think?

    As long as the slaves keep my ivory tower nicely polished, I say, let the world burn…

  101. #101 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    chowchowmom:

    I’m not discounting most of our concerns, but

    I guess she was offended when a student left a Bible for Christmas on her desk. It was a new Bible with a note that said Merry Christmas. Christ was underlined.

    Do you not see that as harassment?

    I am curious about the context. Had the teacher made it clear that she was not a Christian by that point, and/or maybe that she diden’t care to be proselytized about Christ by Christians?

    These aren’t a bunch of kids sitting around thumping a Bible!

    What about the singing of Jesus Loves Me? Did that occur in the classroom, and/or during class time within earshot of her class?

  102. #102 Christopher
    February 16, 2010

    The NewsObserver included a PDF of a printout of the teacher’s FaceBook page before it went private.

    http://www.newsobserver.com/content/media/2010/2/15/Facebook.pdf

    The quote about shaming her students is out of context, since she stated that she shamed the students without knowing who put the Bible on her desk; i.e. she likely said to her whole class that she was hurt by the incident but never identified who did it.

    Her comments from that PDF do show that she has been targeted for a while from parents and from students, though at some point she should have stopped making the page public before the news got hold of the story.

  103. #103 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @DaveL, @chowchowmom –

    I don’t think it is fair to call chowchowmom a liar. We don’t know that she is. She says her daughter is in this class, which we have no way of verifying, then she says what is happening in the class, which we also have no way of verifying. But if we make the assumption that she is telling us the truth, it doesn’t mean that what she has heard and believes is the truth, even if neither she nor her daughter are liars, per se. 13 year olds have a tendency to feel aggrieved and to be drama queens, so a 13 year old girl may feel she has honestly accounted what happened in class, and her mother may believe her, but it doesn’t make her recollections of whatever parts of what was happening that she saw and heard from other students in the least bit accurate.

    That’s why it’s a pity that we aren’t hearing the teacher’s side of this. It’s only a little more likely to be accurate, but we need to hear all sides to be able to make an informed judgment.

  104. #104 Matt Penfold
    February 16, 2010

    Why do so many people think elitism is something bad ?

    I may be old-fashioned but I am rather keen on elitism. I want the person flying a plane I am one to be part of an elite, in this case of a pilot elite. I want the the healthcare professional to be part of an elite as well. I want them to be as good at what they do as possible.

    In the case of ChowChowMum, I want people to have high standards in how they treat each other. If is elitist to oppose discrimination on any grounds then count me as being elitist.

  105. #105 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    I think the problem you have is that you seem to unable to look at events in context. Taken singularly an event may not be criminal. Taken as part of an ongoing campaign, then might well be.

    I have to disagree about seeing the context. I do see the context, especially the context of this being a classroom (my spouse is a high school teacher). The behaviours that are disruptive to the classroom are unacceptable from a pedagogical perspective, but the others would certainly fall under free speech. The teacher clearly had a problem managing her class, and then compounded the problem by stupidly insulting the students in a public forum.

    To be clear, I am not saying that everything that the students did was acceptable, or that Hussain shouldn’t have had more support from her school administration. But to call the sum of these incidents criminal seems profoundly silly to me.

  106. #106 strange gods before me ?
    February 16, 2010

    Muslim scumbags shouldn’t be teaching in school.

    I hope you’re joking, Tronzu.

  107. #107 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    OK, on-topic this time.

    I agree with those who say it’s hyperbolic (and factually incorrect) to say this is a hate crime, and not the right tack on which to fight this. To respond to Matt Penfold (@86) as just one example:

    Do you not think bullying can be a criminal act ? And that leaving a bible on someone’s desk can be part of a campaign of bullying.

    No, absent other sorts of threats, I don’t think that leaving religious material on a teacher’s desk is bullying. It might be “part of a campaign” of bullying if there were other sorts of threats associated with it, but I didn’t see anything about other threats in the article (I’m mindful here that one brief article doesn’t necessarily contain all the facts). IANAL, but AFAIK, hate crime typically refers to an act that’s a crime per se and is motivated by hatred against a protected class. This doesn’t seem to be that, and if I’m right, then calling it that is a red herring.

    I don’t mean to be exonerating the students or the school, though: Rather than a hate crime, what I think this is is a case of workplace harassment. Through their unwelcome religious proselytizing, the students are creating an hostile workplace environment for the teacher, and the leaving of bibles and other religious material on the desk is the key to this: The other things — religious t-shirts, bible reading, even signing religious songs — could be written off as simply personal expression, potentially inappropriate in the classroom depending on circumstances, but nothing against the teacher. The fact, however, that these same students also left bibles and Jebus postcards and such on the desk suggests that all of it was a concerted campaign to force religion on the teacher. And even if the students, buying into their indoctrination that Dog is Love!, think their “witnessing” is benign, it clearly constitutes a hostile workplace environment. The students, of course, aren’t employees, and the district can’t fire them… but AFAIK the district does have a duty to ensure the workplace environment is not a hostile one… even for (apparently presumed to be godless) science teachers… even if they’re named Hussain.

    I agree that posting comments about her class on Facebook was incautious, and I think the term hate crime was over the top… but online hyperbole isn’t illegal, and workplace harassment is. Even if she isn’t fired, this teacher should sue the school district to force them to protect her from harassment; if she is fired, she should sue for wrongful termination: When her employer has failed to protect her from harassment, it seems cosmically unfair to fire her for acting like someone who’s been harassed.

  108. #108 aratina cage of the OM
    February 16, 2010

    Tronzu, I just want to point out the obvious that you speak only for yourself. Being a Muslim, a believer of Islam, does not inherently make one an incompetent teacher or a bad person any more than being a Christian makes one an incompetent teacher/bad person. Belief systems can always be rejected in full or piece by piece even when the religion codifies and demands inhumane behavior.

  109. #109 Free Lunch
    February 16, 2010

    It was a new Bible with a note that said Merry Christmas. Christ was underlined. That is not unusual.

    I grew up in a very conservative town in Wisconsin. It was full of folks who were very religious. No one, children or parents, would have ever considered making such a pointed, inappropriate gift to a teacher. It would have been considered very rude.

    It could be that the child did not know that he should not be doing this or it could be that he was told by his parents to do this because they know it is intentionally insulting.

  110. #110 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @Christopher #102 – Thanks for that link. I still think she should have been more circumspect with her Facebook page, but in context she was (as I expected) entirely reasonable and thoughtful. The very top post in which she talks about how “open and honest” her students were in talking about the issue and how “beautiful” it was really shouldn’t have been left out by the media. It really makes it sound like most of this may be about the one student whose parents complained about a “B” and who was not identified in any personal way that anyone other than herself or her parents were likely to figure out.

  111. #111 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    me (@107):

    …even signingsinging religious songs…

    Doncha’ just hate those deaf theists? [sigh]

  112. #112 DaveL
    February 16, 2010

    But if we make the assumption that she is telling us the truth, it doesn’t mean that what she has heard and believes is the truth, even if neither she nor her daughter are liars, per se. 13 year olds have a tendency to feel aggrieved and to be drama queens, so a 13 year old girl may feel she has honestly accounted what happened in class, and her mother may believe her, but it doesn’t make her recollections of whatever parts of what was happening that she saw and heard from other students in the least bit accurate.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see how chowchowmom deserves the deference of such fine distinctions. She makes a factive claim that happens to be, shall we say, wildly implausible.
    Now, she may have heard this wildly implausible claim from somewhere else, but her repeating it here as factive makes her complicit. She has shown no more regard for the truth of the statement than if she had fabricated it herself out of whole cloth.

    If we insist on sparing her the label of “Liar”, the only other that possibly fits is “Bullshitter”

  113. #113 Matt Penfold
    February 16, 2010

    No, absent other sorts of threats, I don’t think that leaving religious material on a teacher’s desk is bullying. It might be “part of a campaign” of bullying if there were other sorts of threats associated with it, but I didn’t see anything about other threats in the article (I’m mindful here that one brief article doesn’t necessarily contain all the facts). IANAL, but AFAIK, hate crime typically refers to an act that’s a crime per se and is motivated by hatred against a protected class. This doesn’t seem to be that, and if I’m right, then calling it that is a red herring.

    I clearly cannot be explaining myself very well.

    Neither you not Tulse seem to get my point.

    Tulse seems to think that any act that would normally be considered free-speech cannot as part of serious of acts constitute a crime.

    I know in the US there are crime against harassment. I am equally sure that in many cases all of the individual actions that make up that harassment are perfectly legal. It is not crime, for example, to sit in your car outside someone’s house. Nor is it a crime to send them flowers, or letters expressing how much you love them. Yet taken as a whole those actions could constitute harassment, and that could be crime.

    With regards your comment Bill, I have not mentioned hate crimes at all on this thread. There is a reason for that, and it that I do not regard what happened to this teacher as being a hate crime. I do though think there is evidence she was the subject of a bullying campaign.

  114. #114 tac
    February 16, 2010

    Wake Co. has a problem here, as 2-3 years ago they disciplined Robert Escamilla, at high school teacher (at Enloe HS) for bringing in an evangelical christian speaker, who spewed religious bigoted speech. Some parents complained, and he was suspended, and reassigned.

    Hopefully this will be taken out of the hands of the less than impressive local principle. I’ve run into a few administrators in Wake Co. that are completely worthless POS poster children for the peter principle.

    tac

  115. #115 Bernard Bumner
    February 16, 2010

    The material from Facebook reproduced in the link above would actually tend to suggest that she dealt with the situation quite well, and that the students responded well in turn.

    The only objectionable part is the comment made by one of her friends, and her agreement. However, in context, it is glib rather than highly offensive.

    What does seem clear is that she doesn’t seem to have been supported by the parents of her students.

    Chowchowmom’s comment above seems irredeemably skewed…

  116. #116 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Gus Snarp (@103):

    I don’t think it is fair to call chowchowmom a liar.

    How ’bout this, then: Her version of events is sufficiently implausible on its face that it’s reasonable to suspect she’s lying. That suit you better? That’s how I read DaveL’s response.

  117. #117 raven
    February 16, 2010

    It was a new Bible with a note that said Merry Christmas. Christ was underlined. That is not unusual.

    Oh really? How would these parents react if this teacher had handed out copies of the Koran for Xmas to the students with Allah and Mohammed underlined?

  118. #119 abutsimehc
    February 16, 2010

    Wow! This normally minor classroom incident (with detour into the wilds of FaceBook) is beginning to get rather complicated! Odoriferous? ;-)

    Unfortunately, the teacher is in *real* trouble now, since the principal and school board will feel the righteous power of Pharyngulytes through their e-mail boxes. Be gentle with them, though. They have enough on their plates what with having to keep the parents and voters happy.

    I do know what this teacher is going through, having been on the short end of a similar stick in my former career as a science teacher in another North Carolina county.

  119. #120 Abdul Alhazred
    February 16, 2010

    Teenagers being mean to a teacher. What is the world coming to? Why in my day …

  120. #121 aratina cage of the OM
    February 16, 2010

    Mo’s website is timecube worthy.

  121. #122 mikelatiolais
    February 16, 2010
  122. #123 AJ Milne
    February 16, 2010

    Re #118:

    Oh, love that first comment. ‘Lucky they let her breath (sic)’, huh?

    And oh, yeah, do let’s line that, too, up with these plaintive whinges about ‘racist, bigoted’ comments about southerners, the poor things… Yeah, that’s the ticket, and that’s the story here: they’re the victims, see…

    (/Help, help, they’re being oppressed.)

  123. #124 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @Bill Dauphin – I prefer Bernard Bumner’s wording above: “irredeemably skewed”. Chowchowmom could well be a lying troll, but I think we’re all perfectly aware of that possibility. Calling her a liar is simply a gratuitous insult, particularly if she is in fact telling her version of the truth. None of us has or knows the whole truth on this, and getting varied accounts and analyzing each of them on their merits is the only reasonable approach. If she is not what she claims and is making that story up, then she is a liar. If she is telling what she believes to be the truth, then she is not a liar. She may be wrong, but being wrong does not maker her a liar. I am quite capable of taking her comment with a grain of salt without throwing insults around. I happen to think that the distinction between honest belief that is wrong and a willful lie is an important one.

  124. #125 gordonf.pip.verisignlabs.com
    February 16, 2010

    An open facebook page?!? Really!?! I’m behind her on everything except that. She should have known better.

  125. #126 Free Lunch
    February 16, 2010

    Mo,

    Look at the previous post in that blog where the author decided to post all of the Hussains in the county. I’m sure it was just accidental and showed neither bigotry nor harrassment.

    Hard to believe that Raleigh, Wake Forest and Cary are in that county.

  126. #127 BrianX
    February 16, 2010

    Tulse:

    Is your concept of power dynamics really so simplistic, or are you just outright bullshitting us? If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about that sort of rhetoric, it’s that it completely ignores context. Ms. Hussain, to all indications, has been the victim of a more or less concerted effort at harrassment, apparently for no reason other than her name. It’s disingenuous at best to look at one specific incident and claim it’s harmless when it’s part of an overall pattern of similar acts of defiance.

  127. #128 Peter Ashby
    February 16, 2010

    I had a maths teacher at high school in New Zealand who told us one of his younger classes insisted on standing and singing Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall Part II before every lesson. You know the one that goes: we don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control . . .

    There was never any scandal over that, It was the early ’80s mind, liberalism was sweeping the teaching profession etc. The teacher was weightlifter, competed for NZ at the Commonwealth Games, thoroughly nice guy and the last good maths teacher I had. He could teach unlike the next two who knew maths but couldn’t teach it for toffee. We largely taught ourselves the calculus via the textbook.

  128. #129 Sanity
    February 16, 2010

    The children has every right to mock her for being a non-believe. This is a Christian nation found by Christian pilgrims and anyone who disagree with our Christian value could be bombed for all I care. But all you dirty librals want to do is destroy our country. That?s why our abortion rate is so high and homosexuals are every where. Remember that God will punish your Sn with death.

  129. #130 Walton
    February 16, 2010

    Sorry, Professor Myers, but I think you’ve totally missed the mark on this one. We should not be endorsing this woman’s comments.

    Leaving a Bible on someone’s desk is not a “hate crime”, just as Crackergate was not a “hate crime”. A hate crime is an act of violence directed against someone motivated by racial, sexual or religious bigotry. Calling this a “hate crime” is not only an abuse of the term, it’s offensive to the victims of real hate crimes who have been violently assaulted, beaten or even murdered (as with Stephen Lawrence, say, or Matthew Shepherd) because of their race, ethnicity, religion or sexuality.

    This is one area where I think that we, as atheists and agnostics, need to avoid hyperbolising our own problems. Yes, there is still a lot of religious bigotry and stupidity that we are morally obliged to fight. But we also need to recognise that we are, by and large, very privileged, and that we don’t face the level of oppression endured by many minority ethnic groups, or by gay and transgendered people in many countries. Leaving a Bible on someone’s desk is not a hate crime, and to call it such degrades and demeans the victims of real hate crimes.

  130. #131 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 16, 2010

    I do not often ask this but is Sanity a poe?

  131. #132 BrianX
    February 16, 2010

    Peter:

    The thing that bothers me about that is that kids that age don’t actually understand that song and it makes them look like ignorant doofuses to older folks. But hey, sound bite. Honestly, I’d have considered it disruptive. If they wanted to sing it in the halls, can’t really stop them, but it’s kind of rude in class.

  132. #133 DaveL
    February 16, 2010

    Remember that God will punish your Sn with death.

    “The wages of tin is death.”

  133. #134 AJ Milne
    February 16, 2010

    I do not often ask this but is Sanity a poe?

    Not sure. Does kinda jump out, sure…

    (/But just in case she/he/it’s for real, I’d just like to mention I heard somewhere that when the Christian God wants to punish one of his followers for looking at naked pictures of Kelsey Grammar on the internet, the first thing he takes away is their grammar.)

  134. #135 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @Janine #131 – I might have though it an honest comment until it got to the “dirty libral” part. It goes just a bit too far and so I call Poe. But that’s the point of Poe’s law isn’t it, that we just can’t tell?

  135. #136 AJ Milne
    February 16, 2010

    “The wages of tin is death.”

    You, sir, owe me a martini.

    (/And some monitor-cleaning fluid.)

  136. #137 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Matt (@113):

    With regards your comment Bill, I have not mentioned hate crimes at all on this thread.

    Forgive me; I didn’t mean to suggest you had. I was only responding to you in the context of a broader response to the story and the thread; Ms. Hussain’s use of the term hate crime seems to be at the hub of the discussion.

    Nor is it a crime to send them flowers, or letters expressing how much you love them. Yet taken as a whole those actions could constitute harassment, and that could be crime.

    I don’t really think I’m missing your point; my point is that there’s a distinction between harassment and bullying… a distinction it seems you’re not making, since you appear to be using the two terms more or less interchangeably. I can’t say IANAL often enough, but my layman’s understanding is that bullying involves at least threats of harm, if not actual harm; harassment, as you point out yourself, might consist of actions that are not per se harmful, but are unwelcome and inappropriate.

    13 year old kids trying to get their teacher to come to Jebus might think they’re doing something good for her (yes, they might also just be trying to mess with her head, but we don’t know that), which would be a defense against an accusation of bullying… but would not mean what they’re doing isn’t harassment. From the limited facts we have, it seems to me that bullying is hard to demonstrate (and Ms. Hussain’s accusation of a hate crime is harder still), but harassment strikes me as clear cut.

  137. #138 Aquaria
    February 16, 2010

    No, Gus Sharp, we call people who are stupid lying shit piles just that in these parts, and that’s what chowchowstupidlyingshitpile is.

    Honestly, do you think any teacher in the south could get away with doing what that stupid lying shit pile alleges? Really?

    No, it would not happen. Fox News would be doing around the clock coverage about the outrage, for weeks, if it had, and you know it.

    Don’t defend the indefensible, and, worse, stupid lying shit piles spewing their stupid lying piles of shit.

    Note: I’m in a very vile mood today, because a) I’m sick on my fucking vacation, and 2) I’ve been trying to order a new MacBook, and my bank is being assholes about parting with my fucking money. I hate fucking Republican capitalist pigs. I really do.

  138. #139 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Aquaria, I am willing to cede my title of Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse to you.

    Perfect timing with the vacation illness.

  139. #140 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @Aquaria – Well I just hope that anyone writing to the principle or the school district in support of this teacher is a little more circumspect in their choice of language than you, DaveL, and BillDauphin or their letters will only make this teacher’s situation worse.

  140. #141 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Walton (@130):

    But we also need to recognise that we are, by and large, very privileged, and that we don’t face the level of oppression endured by many minority ethnic groups, or by gay and transgendered people in many countries.

    Am I detecting a tiny trace of there’s none so pure as a reformed whore syndrome here WRT the issue of entrenched privilege? ;^)

    Seriously, I agree with you that her use of the term hate crime is a sort of hyperbole that we should be reluctant to endorse… but on the (apparent) facts of the matter, she seems to have been the victim of unwanted religious proselytizing in the workplace (a public-sector workplace, at that), and I don’t think we should let her incautious language obscure that fact.

    In CT, we had the Avery Doninger case, in which a student was disciplined by her school (stripped of a student government office, IIRC) because she’d called an administrator who’d cancelled an event she was working on a douchebag online (I don’t recall if it was on Facebook or in some other forum). Almost none of the people who rallied to her support actually defended her language per se, but they didn’t let that stop them from arguing that punishing a student for off-campus speech was problematic from a First Amendment POV (she sued and lost, but I think the case is still in the apellate pipeline somewhere).

    The actual people involved in “test case” situations are not necessarily always 100% sympathetic, but that doesn’t mean the principles involved aren’t worth fighting for.

  141. #142 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Gus Snarp, please do not assume just because people use profane language here that it means they will do the same when send letters in support of the teacher.

  142. #143 Negativism
    February 16, 2010

    red-necked ignorant , dumb-ass religiosity ,Bible-thumpers , retrograde retard , militant morons , Idiots , science-hating throwbacks

    Nice name calling there professor.

  143. #144 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    I followed the link Christopher gave to the pdf of Hussain’s Facebook page, and transcribed her remarks.

    I posted it here, but it seems to be caught in moderation.

  144. #145 Kimberly Hosey (AZ Writer)
    February 16, 2010

    @104: Why do so many people think elitism is something bad ?

    I may be old-fashioned but I am rather keen on elitism.

    Thank you! I can’t understand it either. Elite = good. If “elitist” means I favor the better stuff/qualifications/arguments, then yes. By all means, I’m an elitist.

  145. #146 aratina cage of the OM
    February 16, 2010

    And Melissa apparently went to Wazzu. -co #2

    I don’t think that is the right Melissa Hussain after noticing how the 2004 graduation from Florida State and the eighth-grade science teaching position of the one being suspended do not match up with the M.H. who went to Wazzu. I think this photo might be of the right person.

  146. #147 Negativism
    February 16, 2010

    ”I’ve been trying to order a new MacBook”

    Oh you are one of those. That explains the attitude.

  147. #148 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @Janine – I assume nothing, I just have hopes and fears.

  148. #149 tsg
    February 16, 2010

    @Gus Snarp #140

    You’re treading dangerously close to Tone Trolling there….

  149. #150 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Oh you are one of those. That explains the attitude.

    Speaking of attitudes…
    Keep in mind PZ and many other regulars use a Mac.

  150. #151 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @tsg – Oh Jesus H. Christ, how many different kinds of trolling have you got as names for people you disagree with?

  151. #152 Apolipoprotein E
    February 16, 2010

    Negativism you’re concern is noted and rejected. It would behoove you to stop stumbling on how “uncivil” the contributors are.

    “the wages of tin is death” DaveL

    Many organotins are toxic.

  152. #153 tsg
    February 16, 2010

    Oh you are one of those. That explains the attitude.

    “Mr. Pot, there’s a Mr. Kettle on line 2. He says it’s about being black…”

  153. #154 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    GusSnarp (@140):

    I just hope that anyone writing to the principle or the school district in support of this teacher is a little more circumspect in their choice of language than you, DaveL, and BillDauphin or their letters will only make this teacher’s situation worse.

    First off, what the hell “choice of language” are you attributing to me? I tried to explicate the logic behind DaveL’s comment in the face of your objection; I didn’t say anything one way or the other about whether I thought ChowChowMom was a liar or not. I do think, though, that when you jump into an argument with a claim that seems wildly implausible, you should be prepared to explain why you think it is plausible, and absent any such explanation, you shouldn’t be surprised if some people doubt your honesty.

    I agree with your earlier comment that there’s an important distinction between being honest but wrong and being dishonest… but there’s also the fact that when you’re wrong in a way that makes your audience think “wow, any reasonable person should know better than to believe that,” you should expect to have either your reasonableness or your honesty (if not both) called into question.

    Next, what on Earth makes you think people here don’t know the difference between the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of a blog comment thread, on the one hand, and the appropriate tone for a formal letter of complaint? I think we’re smarter than that… and you should know that if you’ve been reading Pharyngula for any span of time.

    IOW, your concern about our tone is noted.

  154. #155 Nyerinnc
    February 16, 2010

    Myers and the other “superior” Libs on this board are certainly showing their bias, arrogance, hate and biatry; it’s not shocking…after all the President they voted for said, “not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion…” Ignorance is ignorance, whether it comes from a LIB President or a LIB “associate professor”. Maybe Myers is just bitter that at his advanced age he’s still just an “associate professor”.
    First, I thought 30 something year old “adults” were supposed to be more mature than 14yr old children! What teacher hasn’t been baited or taunted by their students?!?! Most mature and level headed teachers would either ignore it or take it to the principal to deal with…NOT post comments about children on a PUBLIC forum and then insult their parent’s with ignorant comments!
    Second, Myers and many other posters here have zero idea what they’re talking about when commenting on Rednecks, Southerners, etc. Most of these parent’s are well educated, more so that this “teacher”…most of the kids in this school are transplant kids from other parts of the country…their parent’s work for IBM, Cisco, GlaxcoSmithKline, NCState U, Duke Medical, etc.
    lastly, I see that Myers is as ignorant and as immature as the teacher is by making such a comment about children: “enjoyed flaunting their dumb-ass religiosity”.
    BTW, Myers…the woman you quote in your rant graduated from the University of North Carolina…not some irrelevant satellite school like University of Minnesota, Morris.

    If any find Mr. Myer?s comments about children offensive you can reach him at 320-589-6344; or you can reach Robert H. Bruininks, the Univerity of Minn President at: 320- 624-1065

  155. #156 David Marjanovi?
    February 16, 2010

    “The wages of tin is death.”

    Thread won.

  156. #157 Negativism
    February 16, 2010

    Speaking of attitudes… Keep in mind PZ and many other regulars use a Mac.

    I know. I may have just committed a hate crime for speaking such heresy.

  157. #158 Apolipoprotein E
    February 16, 2010

    Nyerinnc,

    Perhaps you should look in yourself in the mirror before calling others “bitter”. As of current, my impression of you is that you are an insane stalker. No like it matters, Dr. Myers get death threats all the time.

  158. #159 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @BillDauphin, Fine, so maybe I shouldn’t have included you in that list. What makes me think people here don’t know the difference… is that in any sufficiently large group there are always a few assholes and idiots, even in a relatively smart group. My comments regarding emails are directed at those assholes and idiots in the hopes that they can be swayed before making doing something idiotic. If you’re not one of those people, and I don’t think you are, then you can safely ignore me. You might have noted that I separated the use of language here from the potential letter writers, but apparently people didn’t. Honestly for a group that is so concerned that no one ever tell them they are being too insulting we seem to be an awfully thin skinned bunch.

    But you know what really gets me mad? Ad hominem and other logical fallacies. You know, like hinting around about people being “trolls” instead of actually engaging in logical argument.

  159. #160 David Marjanovi?
    February 16, 2010

    Oh Jesus H. Christ, how many different kinds of trolling have you got as names for people you disagree with?

    The terms tone troll and concern troll are well established; concern trolling is even on the list of bannable offenses and has been there since, I think, 2006 at the least.

  160. #161 tsg
    February 16, 2010

    Oh Jesus H. Christ, how many different kinds of trolling have you got as names for people you disagree with?

    There’s nothing to disagree with. You aren’t making an argument. You’re whining about the language being used. In other words, the tone of the argument as opposed to the substance.

    “Well I just hope that anyone writing to the principle or the school district in support of this teacher is a little more circumspect in their choice of language than you blah blah blah. Pearl Clutch! Where’s the fainting couch. Good heavens, he cussed!”

    Fuck you, you prat.

  161. #162 octopod
    February 16, 2010

    Nyerinnc, regarding the supposedly superior education possessed by many of these parents: ever hear it said of someone that they “went swimming in the sea of knowledge and came out dry”?

  162. #163 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Oooohhhhhh!!! Nyerinnc is trying to get people to contact UMM and it’s president. That never happened before.

    ‘snort’

  163. #164 co
    February 16, 2010

    Good point, aratina (#146). I thought I’d been duly diligent — the Wazzu Melissa Hussain matched a photo linked to from one of the stories about South Carolina, but then again, I don’t know if that reporter did HIS due diligence.

    I apologize to both Melissas, though I’ll bet that gets lost in the general Sturm und Drang they’re both no-doubt dealing with right now.

  164. #165 Nyerinnc
    February 16, 2010

    Hey, Paulie! Plz enlighten to us all and explain how ANYTHING can be created from nothing?!?! I know, I know…it’s just “dumb-ass religiosity”, but do enlighten us…

  165. #166 Apolipoprotein E
    February 16, 2010

    Negativism you are being tiresome. Please say something substantial; we all understand that you mean to say that you’re being oppressed because you cannot have opposing opinions (not withstanding that you don’t understand the differences between criticism, repercussion, and oppression). Please reevaluate your statement before you become an object of redicule.

  166. #167 Acronym Jim
    February 16, 2010

    chowmom@88

    At one point she replies that she loves the idea of Dale Earnhardt swastika and students crying but they could fire her over that. In addition her silence showed support for their horrible racist bigoted comments about Southerners.

    Yeah, that karma’s irony’s a bitch, innit?

  167. #168 tsg
    February 16, 2010

    Hey, Paulie! Plz enlighten to us all and explain how ANYTHING can be created from nothing?!?! I know, I know…it’s just “dumb-ass religiosity”, but do enlighten us…

    Where did your god come from then?

  168. #169 AJ Milne
    February 16, 2010

    red-necked ignorant , dumb-ass religiosity ,Bible-thumpers , retrograde retard , militant morons , Idiots , science-hating throwbacks / Nice name calling there professor.

    Well, I dunno. I think you’re being too kind.

    I mean, I’d say at best it only really begins to capture the general essence of pushy dumbassery on display from the good citizens involved in hounding this dreadful sinner out of their school…

    Me, I’d have liked to see also somethin’ like ‘half-witted, uncouth, philistine fucktards doomed by their pathetically cowardly and slothful habits of thought to short, miserable, unremarkable lives of vapid, emptyheaded stupidity in which learning three-word Nascar cheers will be, in all likelihood, the very apex of their intellectual achievements’…

    … or mebbe even ‘an unwashed rabble of inbred dumbfucks with, one suspects, three teeth at most left amongst their entire number–three teeth, which, we must also suspect, are all that is left in their heads–the remainder lost, presumably, due to their regrettable inability as yet to master the use of opposable thumbs, leaving them with no easier means, as yet, of opening cans of Schlitz…’

    (/I mean, c’mon… If you’re gonna start whining about anti-southern ‘bigotry’, give us a chance to earn it up right, willya, Cletus?)

  169. #170 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 16, 2010

    I see that Nyerinnc, as is typical of idjit godbots, he failed to give his own contact information so we can tell him what a smary uneducated troll he is.

  170. #171 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 16, 2010

    @Chowchowmom, #88

    It was a new Bible with a note that said Merry Christmas. Christ was underlined. That is not unusual

    Madam -

    The fact that this is “not unusual” is a problem. I realize it comes as a shock to you, but people of ordinary, conventional manners consider it provocative and insulting to have religion foisted on them in public settings.

    Having grown up in what many “charming” Southerners derisively called “Yankeeland,” I was mortified and appalled at the local etiquette in rural, evangelical Virginia when I moved there after college. I was subjected to a barrage of prying, outrageous questions, delivered under the guise of “welcoming friendliness.”

    “Are you married? What church do you go to? Are you married? What church do you go to?”

    Over and over, in public, by strangers. At work, by colleagues and customers. My mother would have slapped my face and called me impudent if I dared to ask people those sorts of questions. In dread Yankeeland, we recognize these are not appropriate questions for anyone but our intimate friends.

    And I knew exactly what kind of game these people were playing. They were smarmily pretending to be friendly while deliberately trying to provoke the answers they were looking for. When I finally got fed up and responded that, no, I’m not married because the law won’t allow me to wed my boyfriend, and no, I don’t go to church because I don’t believe in god, they had the gall to act offended. And to pretend they didn’t know this, and that they weren’t goading me into admitting it.

    Some of the famed Southern hospitality is truly genuine and charming. Much of it, however, is a self-regarding, dishonest game aimed at sorting out “the right kind of people” from the heathens, the Yankees, and the fags. That side of it is prying, rude, mean-spirited and vulgar.**

    It doesn’t surprise me in the least that you don’t understand why it’s unacceptable for kids to give teachers a bible with “Christ” underlined. But you ought to be ashamed of yourself for not reflecting on why it’s wrong.

    ** No, I’m not saying all Southerners, or all Southern culture, is this way. I’ve lived in the South and I have friends and family in places like Wake County. I know many of you deplore the behavior I’m describing. But please don’t whine about being tarred with a wide brush; I’m not doing that. What I’ve described is, however, a reality in much of the South.

  171. #172 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @tsg – Oh, that’s all your pissed off about? You missed the whole discussion of how one defines liar and how that relates to how we evaluate information from various sources?

    Fine, whatever.

  172. #173 Tronzu
    February 16, 2010

    People should nourish open cultural and institutionalized hostility towards muslims.

    It’s the only way to stem the regress of civilization.

  173. #174 Apolipoprotein E
    February 16, 2010

    What insanity! What is it about Pharyngula that attracts narcissistic creationists and evangelicals?

    Nyerinnic, you’ve clearly failed at understanding what evolution states. You’ve only succeeded at regurgitating standard and failed creationist lies. So yes, you are an idiot.

  174. #175 Nineveh
    February 16, 2010

    “But she can’t go the other way and not allow God to be mentioned.”

    Yes, yes she can, and should. And if students ask what role God had in Creation, tell them to ask their priest or reverend or whoever their conduit is to their invisible sky dad and move on with the biology lecture.

    And if that still didn’t work, I would assign homework assignments which forced them to read the quran, buddhist philosophies, hinduism, and scientology and have them write papers defending the truth of each one. Then I’d love to see their parents try to justify why I should only teach one religion instead of all of them.

  175. #176 raven
    February 16, 2010

    fundie troll:

    Hey, Paulie! Plz enlighten to us all and explain how ANYTHING can be created from nothing?!?! I know, I know…it’s just “dumb-ass religiosity”, but do enlighten us…

    Happens all the time. The vacuum is not really a vacuum. Virtual particles appear out of the vacuum from nothing and nowhere all the time. They are matter-antimatter pairs and quickly react to destroy each other. This preserves conservation of mass energy and produces the well known Casimir effect.

    Your ignorance of elementary quantum mechanics is typical of fundie morons and appalling.

  176. #177 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010
    Keep in mind PZ and many other regulars use a Mac.

    I know. I may have just committed a hate crime for speaking such heresy.

    I knew somebody’d find a way to make this thread about religious bigotry.

  177. #178 Celtic_Evolution
    February 16, 2010

    I see this thread has brought out a fresh new batch of stupid… although I’m certain we have at least one sock-puppet in here…

    Oh, and Tronzu, why don’t you go and find a nice shark tank to jump in, would you? Be sure to pray first, though, or you may never survive! Asshat.

  178. #179 charley
    February 16, 2010

    Hey, Paulie! Plz enlighten to us all and explain how ANYTHING can be created from nothing?!?! I know, I know…it’s just “dumb-ass religiosity”, but do enlighten us…

    Sounds like it might be a parent of one of her students.

  179. #180 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 16, 2010

    I know. I may have just committed a hate crime for speaking such heresy.

    I wasn’t commenting like it was a heresy, but rather your attitude was bad, as was your comment. And it was unnecessary. [/tone troll]

  180. #181 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnTAiIRbRIpbzIZTtwLDKEdcE21mgEUtpI
    February 16, 2010

    And a Bible on the desk is a “hate crime”? Really? It is an idiotic and petty gesture, but a hate crime?

    Why not? I’m pretty sure leaving copies of “Mein Kampf” or “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” lying around the Simon Wiesenthal Center would be considered a hate crime. I mean if painting graffitti on a wall qualifies, why doesn’t systematic abuse? It doesn’t have to be Matthew Shepard style murder in order to qualify as a hate crime. It just has to be motivated by hate, which I think has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

    Also I’m pretty sure that anyone loudly singing “Deutschland, Deutschland, Řber alles” in Sunday school is about 20 seconds away from the beating of their lifetime, even tho’ it’s a long-time public school staple. I’m thinking the real problem is that she posted about it on facebook. Next time she should be a good Christian about it, and use intimidation, violence, torture and sexual abuse instead.

  181. #182 Nineveh
    February 16, 2010

    @#176.

    “Well, you can prove anything with facts, can’t you.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n-UGQcG3Jw

  182. #183 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Tronzu, what proof do you have that Melissa Hussain is muslim? And if so, what has she done to deserve such barbaric treatment from you?

  183. #184 Anri
    February 16, 2010

    And if that still didn’t work, I would assign homework assignments which forced them to read the quran, buddhist philosophies, hinduism, and scientology and have them write papers defending the truth of each one. Then I’d love to see their parents try to justify why I should only teach one religion instead of all of them.

    They’d do it like this:

    The children has every right to mock her for being a non-believe. This is a Christian nation found by Christian pilgrims and anyone who disagree with our Christian value could be bombed for all I care. But all you dirty librals want to do is destroy our country. That?s why our abortion rate is so high and homosexuals are every where. Remember that God will punish your Sn with death.

    Except we’ll know they wouldn’t be Poe’ing, which is far from clear with ‘Sanity’ here. (Yes, yes, I know that’s inherent to the term.)

    Likewise, I’m assuming that Tronzu is either 12, or a Poe (or possibly both). But who knows? I’m often wrong about this sort of thing and, depressingly, there are people actually that stupid.

  184. #185 tsg
    February 16, 2010

    Oh, that’s all your pissed off about?

    Yes.

    You missed the whole discussion of how one defines liar and how that relates to how we evaluate information from various sources?

    I saw it. It doesn’t excuse your drivel about the tone of the discussion. Your insinuation that the people here using strong language don’t have the intelligence or tact to know where it is and is not appropriate is highly insulting and priggish.

  185. #186 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    February 16, 2010

    Maybe the godbots can enlighten me. How is it your right to impose your religious beliefs on others? What business is it of yours whether your biology teacher believes in your imaginary friend or not?

    What part of “your rights end at your nose” do you not understand?

  186. #187 Lynn Wilhelm
    February 16, 2010

    I ended up on a local radio show Monday about this very incident. (My mom had tipped me off about the show as I never listen to that station)

    I had no info about the situation so I was just listening until the talk show host (Scott Fitzgerald WPTF radio, Raleigh, NC) asked when it was OK to talk about religion in a classroom. Then I called.

    While I was waiting to go on the host played a clip from one of the students who had called him on Friday about this story. She was saying that the teacher was teaching evolution as a “fact” not as a theory. Well, that gave me soooo much more to talk about.
    The host put me on and I answered his question about religion in class (basically not OK), then started to talk about “theory” and the students’ confusion about what they were being taught. He tried to tell me I was wrong and a theory doesn’t mean that it’s a fact. I told him what a scientific theory is. We argued a bit, then he cut me off. He was nice by the way, but dead sure he was right.
    Anyway, he had a commercial break and came back with an apology. He had gotten info about what a scientific theory meant and read that, then admitted I was right. Vindication!
    A few other callers also pointed this out after my call.
    There was also another guy on talking about intelligent design and how that’s perfect for a classroom.
    I do have to give the host a lot of credit for his clarification. He seemed more open minded than other hosts on that station.
    I still won’t listen much–I really prefer our public radio station.

    By the way, I taught horticulture in high school for one whole awful year. And yes, when I mentioned evolution, I got bad looks from the students. That year was horrible and I realized I was not cut out to teach high school kids.
    Heck, I hated high school when I was there, what made me think I’d like it better as a teacher?

  187. #188 Celtic_Evolution
    February 16, 2010

    Hey, Paulie! Plz enlighten to us all and explain how ANYTHING can be created from nothing?!?! I know, I know…it’s just “dumb-ass religiosity”, but do enlighten us…

    Maybe you should come back when you’ve actually taken (and understood) anything approaching a science or biology class, mm-kay sport?

    Oh… start out by explaining for us all, smart as you are, what evolution and abiogenisis have to do with one another. Go on… I’m interested to hear the answer, champ.

  188. #189 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    Trying again to post the transcript of Hussain’s comments from her Facebook page… sorry if this ends up redundant.

    I’m sooo glad to day is trackout day! I don’t have to report back to work till Jan 19. I LOVE YEAR ROUND! I hate parents who call me at work to complain about their childs first B in their middle school career…and then when I say I won’t give them an extra 1.8 points for the A they want to know why I don’t “feel the holiday spirit”. Alex thinks we should start a blog based on ridiculous students and their parents. [December 18, 2009 at 6:10am]

    Not only are they spreading rumors around school that I am a Jesus hater, but they are wearing Jesus shirts and breaking into song—”Jesus Loves me” and reading the bible instead of doing my work (which they know would cause me to take away whatever was causing the distraction.) There was no love in giving me that Bible, otherwise they would’ve given it to me rather than leave it on my desk without a signature. This was a hate crime—by definition (looked it up on the FBI website) and I’m not going to let it go unpunished. [December 19, 2009 at 9:46am]

    —-

    [I'm not sure if the following is part of a comment by Hussain, or something by somebody else; it's at the top of a page and the bottom of the preceding page got mangled:]

    comments about being Jewish up there as well. Hatred, Intolerance and disrespect is unfortunately everywhere-and obviously taught by someone in their lives. [December 19, 2009 at 11:02am]

    [The following comment is by Jay Bonidy, NOT Hussain:]

    I know there is hatred and judgement everywhere, but I lived in the south and you will not change those rednecks way of thinking. Unfortunately it starts at home with the parents who allow this to happen. I think some old fashion ass whipping needs to happen. [December 19, 2009 at 1:36pm]

    —-

    [the following comment is by Ry An, NOT Hussain:]

    I think you should get even with all of them by bringing in a Dale Earndheart Jr. Nascar Poster and drawing a swastika on his forehead. The kids would all start crying. Then you would be “teaching” them a lesson.

    [I haven't figured out what this was in reference to; it may be the immediately preceding coment above Ry An. Or not:]

    And without a job. But I like it!! [December 19, 2009 at 5:42pm

    ----
    Melissa Hussain First day back at school! I have a meeting scheduled with the (possible) Bible boy on Monday... Heaven help him, I am still so mad at that child! [January 21 at 6:21am]

    I was able to shame the kids who were responsible for leaving the bible on my desk without calling them out (never did figure out who did it) and that seemed to be way more powerful to the other students because they realized how much it hurt and offended me and respected me all the more to hear that I didn’t want to know because I would never want to know who was okay

    Melissa Hussain is sooooooo happy that admin agreed to let her have a heart-to-heart talk with all of her students about the all the rumors and horrible things her students were doing/saying about her. They were so open and honest it was beautiful.

    8th graders (12-14 year olds) do this kind of stuff! I just never had 8th graders with the balls to do it to me.

  189. #190 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Gus Snarp (@159):

    You might have noted that I separated the use of language here from the potential letter writers….

    Actually, I didn’t note any such thing: Your comment implied that you didn’t make any such separation; that you expected people commenting to you to also write letters to the school, and in pretty much the same language. Surely you’re not stupid enough to think that “I hope you don’t [do X]” means anything other than “I expect you to [do X], and I diapprove”? Surely you don’t think we’re stupid enough not to get that?

    Honestly for a group that is so concerned that no one ever tell them they are being too insulting we seem to be an awfully thin skinned bunch.

    We? Have you been lurking, or posting under another name? I don’t read every post of every thread, but I don’t recall seeing you ’round here before this thread.

    In any case, even if you’re a newbie, it shouldn’t take too long to figure out that we’re really not all that “thin skinned”… but we’re also not predisposed to suffer foolspoorly thought out criticism gladly.

    But you know what really gets me mad? Ad hominem and other logical fallacies. You know, like hinting around about people being “trolls” instead of actually engaging in logical argument.

    I’ll leave it to someone else to give you the standard smackdownlecture about how ad hominem is distinct from insult… but you’re invited to note that I made actual logical responses to you twice before calling you a troll at the end of the second one. Just for your future reference, the “your concern is noted” line is not a fucking “hint”!

    BTW, at the risk of having you call me whiney or whinge about my language… my name isn’t some fucking intertoobz nym, it’s my goddam name… it’s got a frackin’ space in it. I tried to point this out in my last by omitting the space in your name (that was a “hint”), but it apparently just bounced off you. Get it right, willya’?

  190. #191 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @tsg – And you’re still thin skinned for someone so fond of insults and foul language. Let’s move on.

  191. #192 doug hayden
    February 16, 2010

    Turnabout’s fair play….why don’t some skeptical science students wander into the Bible School class on Sunday and start singing the Pi Chant: http://pi.ytmnd.com/

    I think that would raise a few eyebrows?

  192. #193 tsg
    February 16, 2010

    And you’re still thin skinned for someone so fond of insults and foul language. Let’s move on.

    Fuck off. I’m done with you.

  193. #194 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    From that transcript, and without any other very interesting information about the events, it seems pretty clear to me that Hussain was the victim of harassment.

    It seems to me that some students need to be very clearly told that unwelcome proselytizing may be considered a virtue in their religion, but will get you expelled if you do it in school.

    And their stupid parents who haven’t taught them better should be ashamed of their bigoted selves.

    And the school board should make that clear to the parents.

    Hussain was doing her job, teaching evolution and not creationism—the latter being illegal—and the school board should make that clear.

    I think Hussain was indiscreet, but given the provocations, she should be emphatically apologized to, not punished.

  194. #195 Nineveh
    February 16, 2010

    It never fails. When someone doesn’t have the material knowledge to engage in a conversation, they go after your “tone” or “language” or “elitism”.

    Argument fail.

  195. #196 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    Tulse seems to think that any act that would normally be considered free-speech cannot as part of serious of acts constitute a crime.

    No, that isn’t my position — rather, that the series of acts described here do not reach the level of criminal. Instead, they are the acts of a poorly behaved and poorly managed class. She has been harassed, and it might be significant enough to be actionable against her unsupportive employer, but it is ridiculous to think that it is criminal.

    Is your concept of power dynamics really so simplistic, or are you just outright bullshitting us? If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about that sort of rhetoric, it’s that it completely ignores context. Ms. Hussain, to all indications, has been the victim of a more or less concerted effort at harrassment, apparently for no reason other than her name.

    She may indeed have been harassed (there is no evidence that it was because of her surname). So yes, she has a workplace grievance, and if the school administration did not deal with this she might have grounds to sue them. But the notion that the student behaviour is somehow criminal is absurd.

    Even given that, though, as someone who’s spouse teaches high school, and as someone who teaches university students and has done brief grade school subbing, there is an issue here with poor classroom management as well as obnoxious students and an unsupportive administration.

    Put this another way — if an obviously Christian teacher had been subjected to “God is Dead” T-shirts and students singing the Discovery Channel anthem in class and kids reading from The God Delusion instead of their texts and students anonymously giving her a copy of God is Not Great, what would your reaction be? Should they all be charged with a hate crime?

  196. #197 great.american.satan
    February 16, 2010

    A second (third, fourth, fifth, hundredth?) on the idea this was a hate crime. Maybe by the strictest legal definition, no. But it was a campaign of harassment based on RACE or perceived race. If someone is leaving copies of “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” around a Jewish teacher’s class, threat is pretty clearly implied, and I don’t see any reason for her to not see this as leading to actual violence.
    The parents imagine their kids are representing religion, and forget what they should remember from their own childhoods: Kids just harass the fuck out of anyone because they sniff a hint of fear or weakness in. Group dynamics being what they are, that often leads to violence.
    Fuck those ignorant animals. By that I mean the kids, but really any of her persecutors can take that insult if they want to.
    -

  197. #198 natural cynic
    February 16, 2010

    The problem with the twerps reading the Bible is that they didn’t turn to Matthew 6: 5-6

    ?And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    Consider the classroom as the street corner.

  198. #199 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    it was a campaign of harassment based on RACE or perceived race.

    How do you know that? What is your evidence?

  199. #200 Free Lunch
    February 16, 2010

    Nyerinnc -

    I’m trying to figure out if you are exactly the sort of oblivious redneck that you pretend to be or are just another Poe, out to make Southerners look as intolerant and stupid as the school administration.

  200. #201 DaveL
    February 16, 2010

    Gus Snap,

    I had been willing to let your comments slide, in order to avoid driving the thread off the topic at hand. However, since you yourself seem to suffer no such compunctions…

    First, Chowchowmom is not telling “her version of the truth” if she makes positive claims that are false to the facts of the case, as is overwhelmingly likely.

    Second, my use of “liar” would only be gratuitous if it were not justified, and I have already explained my justification. Either she’s lying about the fact itself or she’s lying in her implicit statement of knowledge or certainty she makes in phrasing it as a factive statement. Either way it’s a lie.

    It’s possible for a person to be honestly misled by a false account. However, when that account is such that it ought to be immediately suspected by any adult of sound mind, such an adult must bear responsibility for the blatant disregard for truth that would be displayed in propagating it uncritically. At a certain threshold of plausibility the speaker passes from an essentially honest person who has accidentally spoken a falsehood, to an esssentially dishonest person who accidentally lacks knowledge of his lie.

    Those who complain about tone often call language such as mine insulting (even gratuitously so) and detrimental to discourse. They ignore that the general indifference to truth characterized by statements such as chowchowmom’s is even more insulting, not to mention gratuitous and detrimental to discourse. What’s worse, there are people who have become quite skilled at wielding this sort of blatant intellectual dishonesty in public discourse, knowing full well that the white knights of tone will ride to their rescue should anybody dare call them out on their mendacity.

    Criticize my ‘insulting’ tone if you must, but in so doing make sure you don’t ignore the offense that provoked it.

  201. #202 aratina cage of the OM
    February 16, 2010

    The “hate crime” label from the teacher does seem exaggerated given that the FBI website says it has to be a crime before it can be a hate crime. The teacher wrote that:

    There was no love in giving me that Bible, otherwise they would’ve given it to me rather than leave it on my desk without a signature. This was a hate crime- by definition (looked it up on the FBI website)… -M.H.

    but on the FBI website it says:

    Defining a Hate Crime
    A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime?and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties. (source)

    I don’t think it counts as a hate crime if rights have not been deprived or force has not been used or threatened according to a quick scan of the civil rights statutes the FBI lists. So I’m inclined to agree with Tulse until we know more about the case. That doesn’t make the religious harassment engaged in by the students or the suspension of Melissa Hussain acceptable, though.

  202. #203 Gus Snarp
    February 16, 2010

    @Bill Dauphin – I wrote a long screed in response to your screed, but realized there’s no reason for us to continue to waste comment space. Sorry about your name, your hint did indeed bounce right off me. I’m not so good at taking hints.

  203. #204 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawm7Yept5u6OTIR67BixCfdVMV7_JXKcQAY
    February 16, 2010

    Hey, Paulie! Plz enlighten to us all and explain how ANYTHING can be created from nothing?!?!

    Virtual particles, which is elementary particle physics.

    What do they teach nowadays, anyway????

  204. #205 Nyerinnc
    February 16, 2010

    @Nerd of Redhead, Apolipoprotein E…typical LIB insults. Can’t you at least be original?!?!
    I’m a happy, successful, professional, grad of the UofMI…happily married, couple kids, a beach home and a mountain home….yeah, you loser Profs and geeks are just jealous of anyone who makes more than $50k a year! lol I find it hilariously that you peole “teach” at a university or school that is supposed to welcome open thoughts and ideas, but in reality it’s the complete opposite! Why don’t you try actually teaching and not indoctrinating your students! Your JOB is to teach…not spread your agenda\BS!

  205. #206 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 16, 2010

    I find it hilariously that you peole “teach” at a university or school that is supposed to . . .

    Kind sir, may I “invite” you to “eat” me “raw”?

  206. #207 Doug Little
    February 16, 2010

    Hey, Paulie! Plz enlighten to us all and explain how ANYTHING can be created from nothing?!?!

    Hawking Radiation. Look it up.

  207. #208 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Nyeinnc, what a loser you are. I don’t teach any more. I earn more than $50k. I own a home. Been married 35+ years. Evolution has a million or so scientific papers that back it. So it is hard science without the need for indoctrination. There are essentially no papers that back your unscientific ID or creationism. You guys can’t even prove your diety exists. Talk about incompetent. You can always present hard physical data here for your imaginary deity, evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural, origin. An eternally buring bush might fit the bill. We have evidence. You have unevidenced delusions.

  208. #209 Doug Little
    February 16, 2010

    Nyerinnc,

    indoctrinating, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  209. #210 Free Lunch
    February 16, 2010

    Nyerinnc -

    Lots of ignoramuses confuse their income with their knowledge. However, not that many are proud of how little they know.

  210. #211 Endor
    February 16, 2010

    Shorter #205 – I’m totally successful and happy! I’ll prove it by being incomprehensible and by doing my hardest to be insulting. that’s how happy and successful I am I am!!! After, all ain’t stupidity bliss er sumthin’?

    Someone poke this looney again. He’s fun.

    It is enjoyable though to see someone who clearly has not even a vague grasp on basic, elementary science barking at a professor of biology to be “open” and not “indoctrinate”.

    if my irony meter hadn’t already been destroyed by religious morons, it would have just now exploded.

  211. #212 Nyerinnc
    February 16, 2010

    Josh, Official SpokesGay said: “Kind sir, may I “invite” you to “eat” me “raw”?”…nuff said, I see you are the spokesmen for this motely crew of close-minded “teachers”.

  212. #213 triskelethecat
    February 16, 2010

    Now I think I may be ashamed of U-M Ann Arbor if they actually graduated Nyerinnc.

  213. #214 Doug Little
    February 16, 2010

    typical LIB insults. Can’t you at least be original?!?!

    Followed shortly by,

    yeah, you loser Profs and geeks are just jealous of anyone who makes more than $50k a year!

    Paging doctor Fine, new irony meter required in operating room 3, stat.

    For the record, I am a liberal and a card carrying member of geeks r us, and I earn more than 50K a year. I think we need a show of hands for our good ole buddy boy here.

  214. #215 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Yawn, Nyerinnc is just a boring idjit troll. Can’t even prove his deity exists. Nothing of substance, just attitude.

  215. #216 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 16, 2010

    .nuff said, I see you are the spokesmen for this motely crew of close-minded “teachers”.

    No, I am the SpokesGay. That means I speak for The Gay. My associate, Locutus of Gay, speaks for The Collective. Pharyngulites speak for themselves.

  216. #217 raven
    February 16, 2010

    fundie troll:

    I’m a happy, successful, professional, grad of the UofMI…happily married, couple kids, a beach home and a mountain home….

    You have to translate that from fundie troll to English.

    Translation: “I’m stupid, crazy, ignorant, and don’t take my medications and live in a cardboard box shelter when I’m not in jail.

    I’m still working on my grade school diploma and will finish it any year now.”

    Really, you come across as insane and not very bright. You don’t even know any basic quantum mechanics and couldn’t look it up on google for even a bottle of muscatel.

  217. #218 AJ Milne
    February 16, 2010

    Someone poke this looney again. He’s fun.

    Oh, c’mon. All y’all are just bein’ mean to the poor ole’ boy…

    I mean, didn’t you hear? The man makes, like, more ‘n $50K, dammit! He’s like some kinda high-flyin’ professional type, clearly…

    Like, I dunno… An itinerant bible tract salesman or somethin’…

    (/Anyway, my point is: respect!)

  218. #219 triskelethecat
    February 16, 2010

    Oops…somehow cut off part of my comment…

    It should have said:

    Now I think I may be ashamed of U-M Ann Arbor if they actually graduated Nyerinnc.
    As an alumna of the university, it makes me sad to know they could graduate someone who doesn’t use his brains.

  219. #220 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Watch with bemusement as Nyerinnc jousts against ivory towers.

    Please be intellectually honest and renounce your degree seeing that you hold your professors in such contempt. And please give up using all technologies from discovered by people who work for colleges and universities.

  220. #221 Endor
    February 16, 2010

    “Now I think I may be ashamed of U-M Ann Arbor if they actually graduated Nyerinnc. ”

    I don’t know. These are not really getting “college graduate” vibes so much as “public library computers have free access to ANYONE with a card” vibe.

    His beach and mountain homes are in heaven, I’m sure.

  221. #222 nothing.beside.remains
    February 16, 2010

    \BS!

    Finally, the mystery is solved. He had the “bullshit” HTML tag on. He may have written something with some sense, but the BS tag made him seem like he was full of shit the whole time. He just needs help in learning how to close tags, that’s all. After all, no one could possibly write something that abysmally stupid.

  222. #223 Evolving Squid
    February 16, 2010

    Sure, they can sing Jesus Loves Me in science class. There’s an opportunity for the teacher to ask:

    Show the scientific proof that Jesus loves you.

    That way, they must prove that Jesus exists, and that he knows of their individual existence, and that he loves them.

    Odds are, they’ll open with Bible quotes. A classroom version of the peer review process will show that Bible quotes would not be scientific proof as they can be refuted easily by existing work.

    What a learning opportunity!

  223. #224 Endor
    February 16, 2010

    “He’s like some kinda high-flyin’ professional type, clearly…

    Like, I dunno… An itinerant bible tract salesman or somethin’…”

    See, now, I was thinking Professor in Charge of Science-type Things at Liberty University.

  224. #225 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 16, 2010

    I’m a happy, successful, professional, grad of the UofMI…happily married, couple kids, a beach home and a mountain home….yeah, you loser Profs and geeks are just jealous of anyone who makes more than $50k a year! lol I find it hilariously that you peole “teach” at a university or school that is supposed to welcome open thoughts and ideas, but in reality it’s the complete opposite! Why don’t you try actually teaching and not indoctrinating your students! Your JOB is to teach…not spread your agenda\BS!

    Open thoughts are always welcome. But when those thoughts are backed by the stupidity people such as your self display, they will be exposed to be the worthless drivel they are.

    Hilariously

  225. #226 Uncle Glenny
    February 16, 2010

    Is Bora hiding in this thread pseudonymously, perhaps?

  226. #227 Die Anyway
    February 16, 2010

    Sn = tin rhymes with sin

    Damn, that was good. Catharsis after the rest of the thread.

    qotd: “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

  227. #228 melissahussain
    February 16, 2010

    I happen to be the Melissa Hussain who went to Washington State University, and NO, I’m not the same Melissa Hussain as the one in the story! If this teacher was named “John Smith,” would you just assume that any information you find out there on the web about anyone named John Smith was about the same person? Come on, people, do your homework and leave me alone!

  228. #229 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    aratina cage (@202):

    Thanks for doing the virtual legwork on the definition of hate crime. That concurs with what I suspected was true (but, unlike you, was too lazy to look up).

    A general comment to those who are comparing the bible-on-the-desk aspect of this to leaving a copy of Mein Kampf or The Elders of Zion on the desk of a Jewish teacher: You’re way off base. While it’s easy enough for us to characterize the Bible as hateful, and to point to outrageous incidents in the narrative, particularly in the Old Testament, and there’s plenty of bloodshed in the history of Christianity, the Bible isn’t connected to a specific instance of genocide in the way that Mein Kampf is, nor to institutionalized hatred in the way that The Elder’s of Zion is. The sacred books of each the world’s religions may be offensive to adherents of all the other religions, and they may all be offensive to the nonreligious, but absent other facts, the gift of a book of scripture, even though unwanted, doesn’t represent the kind of implicit threat that giving either of those antisemtitic books to a Jew would be.

    An unwanted “gift” of a bible to a teacher in a public classroom is harassment, and its toleration by an employer is a legitimate employment practices issue, I suspect; freighting the issue unnecessrily with the language of hatred and racism obscures the real (and not unimportant) principle that’s at stake. IMHO, of course.

  229. #230 Bobber
    February 16, 2010

    My associate, Locutus of Gay, speaks for The Collective.

    *snorts fruit smoothie over the keyboard*

  230. #231 Kristjan Wager
    February 16, 2010

    yeah, you loser Profs and geeks are just jealous of anyone who makes more than $50k a year!

    I must be having a lot of self-jealousy then, since it has been a while since I earned just $50K. Heck, back in the days, where I worked in a warehouse 13 hours per day/7 days per week, I earned more than that.

    No, I am not jealous of people earning 50K, or even people earning more than me. Instead, I find it problematic that someone like me, with a Bachelors degree, can earn more than our esteemed host, who is working hard to education future generations.

  231. #232 Jadehawk, OM
    February 16, 2010
    Remember that God will punish your Sn with death.

    “The wages of tin is death.”

    first they came for the Mathematicians, now they’re coming for the Chemists, too?

  232. #233 Endor
    February 16, 2010

    “My associate, Locutus of Gay, speaks for The Collective.”

    I second Bobber’s spit take. This brings a whole new meaning to “The Borg Queen”!

  233. #234 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 16, 2010

    I second Bobber’s spit take. This brings a whole new meaning to “The Borg Queen”!

    HAH! Now I’ve spit my coffee out!

    Either way, if Nyeerinc wishes to stay, he will adapt to service us. Maybe he hasn’t been properly. . . stimulated. . .

  234. #235 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Josh, OSG:

    Apparently, Nyerinnc thinks…

    …I see you are the spokesmen… [emphasis added]

    …you “contain multitudes”! ;^)

  235. #236 frog, Inc.
    February 16, 2010

    BD: An unwanted “gift” of a bible to a teacher in a public classroom is harassment, and its toleration by an employer is a legitimate employment practices issue

    Well, it was more than that. It wasn’t the gifting, but the Christ card after she had been called a “Jesus hater” and had some unclear incident with one kid.

    Still, it’s not a hate crime or even bullying per se. It’s a failure of the administration to back up a teacher in the face of unruly students, because of the administrations bigotry.

    She appears to have gone a bit hyperbolic — which is unsurprising, given that by not responding to behavior that normally would have led to the administration stamping the kids hard, the administration was winking at the behavior. Who believes that if the kids had started singing “Highway to Hell” in class, you wouldn’t have seen all of ‘em suspended for a week? Or if they had had the temerity of laughing at a teacher’s zombie pendant?

    It’s the reality of bigoted communities. You can’t win for losing. It’s not the eighth-graders — she seems to have handled that. It’s the community of adults rallying around juvenile behavior, showing us the cultural values of that community.

  236. #237 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 16, 2010

    Bill:

    Ah, cunning, and so close. In actual fact, we are legion.

  237. #238 Bobber
    February 16, 2010

    Either way, if Nyeerinc wishes to stay, he will adapt to service us.

    Not sure I want Nyeerinc to “service” me.

  238. #239 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    PS to me @235:

    I didn’t mean anything specific by the Whitman link; the unintended plural just made me think of the line. As a little aside… in my previous life (as a schoolteacher, 20+ years ago), I taught English at Walt Whitman High School, in South Huntington, NY, just down the street from Whitman’s birthplace. Sadly, even with that history, not to mention two degrees in English Literature, I don’t know Whitman’s work as well as I should.

  239. #240 The Pint
    February 16, 2010

    “‘My associate, Locutus of Gay, speaks for The Collective.’

    “I second Bobber’s spit take. This brings a whole new meaning to “The Borg Queen”!”

    @ Endor & Josh – this story was totally depressing my afternoon, so thanks for the geek-flavored levity. Thankfully there wasn’t much left in my afternoon latte for a spit-take.

    One hopes that Nyerinnc and his ilk will eventually give up the idiocy and realize that “resistance is futile.”

  240. #241 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 16, 2010

    @ Endor & Josh – this story was totally depressing my afternoon, so thanks for the geek-flavored levity.

    You are welcome. While humor is irrelevant, we have found it helps facilitate the assimilation of resistant species of commenters.

    One hopes that Nyerinnc and his ilk will eventually give up the idiocy and realize that “resistance is futile.”

    They will comply.

  241. #242 tsg
    February 16, 2010

    She appears to have gone a bit hyperbolic — which is unsurprising, given that by not responding to behavior that normally would have led to the administration stamping the kids hard, the administration was winking at the behavior.

    It also wouldn’t be the first time that Christian adults have used children to do their dirty work when they weren’t allowed to. I went through something similar in the Boy Scouts, being harrassed by the other children while the adults not only turned a blind eye, but were actively encouraging it. Christian love is such an inspiration….

  242. #243 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    frog (@236):

    Yah, I just meant to be pointing out the difference between what happened to her — bad as it was — and the proffered comparison to a copy of Mein Kampf showing up anonymously on a Jewish teacher’s desk, which, it seems to me, should be taken as an honest-to-FSM, call-the-fuckin’-FBI threat.

    No need to overplay the hand here.

  243. #244 Seifer
    February 16, 2010

    frog, Inc. #236

    I think you hit the nail right on the head. It is almost the epitome of frustration working at a job where you are being mistreated and the people in charge seem to not care. I can totally understand her rant. From reading it I can say I personally wouldn’t have done it, but it doesn’t seem to be anything she should be disciplined for.

    As to the hate crime issue. Is this even a serious topic? What the kids did is not a crime, ergo it is not a hate crime. However, I think she has a very good cause to grieve against the administration for their lack of action. She may even have a good shot at civilly suing the parents in question for harassment. The burden of proof in a civil suit is “more likely than not” and some judges may interpret this attempt to get her fired as the latest a long string of religious-based harassment.

  244. #245 aratina cage of the OM
    February 16, 2010

    melissahussain #228,

    Sorry, it’s just that your name comes up first on searches for webpages not related to this incident and we want to show our support. I think the reason your name saturates the Web is because this Melissa Hussain hasn’t gone by the name “Hussain” until very recently (see the caption in the photo linked in comment #146).

  245. #246 badgersdaughter
    February 16, 2010

    I am a geek teacher and… meh, OK, a liberal. And I make more than 50K… depending on how you count my fringe benefits. And I’m sure as HELL not “jealous” of someone whose self-esteem depends on making themselves a public laughingstock on a blog presided over by intelligent people.

  246. #247 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Instead of assimilating, I will make like the dyke Dalek.

    Exterminate!

    Exterminate!

    Exterminate!

  247. #248 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 16, 2010

    dyke Dalek.

    Janine, I just love you.

  248. #249 Endor
    February 16, 2010

    “Either way, if Nyeerinc wishes to stay, he will adapt to service us. Maybe he hasn’t been properly. . . stimulated. . . ”

    I was tempted by this notion for 0.68 seconds.

  249. #250 Apolipoprotein E
    February 16, 2010

    He sounds like a child. I doubt he?s as successful as he claims to be. He claim’s the educated are elitist and yet he pronounce that his making of 50K USD gives him the ability to discredit evolution. He complains about insults, only to proceed to insult others. He isn’t consistent, which makes me think that he’s lying.

    I think ?Sanity? is toying with us. If it had been ?sn?, then it would seem like spelling error. However, he took the liberty to capitalize the S and thereby invoke a response from anyone who knows what Sn means. On the other hand, from my visit to Pharyngula, it isn?t unlikely that people are generally that insane. Again I am miffed

  250. #251 The Pint
    February 16, 2010

    @ Janine #248: “dyke Dalek.” Somehow I think that’s variation of Dalek that Davros wasn’t expecting. You rock, lady!

  251. #252 Owlmirror
    February 16, 2010

    I’m a happy, successful, professional, grad of the UofMI

    In what subject or field? Advanced Sophistry and Fallacies, perhaps?

    yeah, you loser Profs and geeks are just jealous of anyone who makes more than $50k a year!

    I suppose Jesus Christ was a jealous loser too…

    “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” — Matthew 6:24

    I find it hilariously that you peole “teach”

    Are you drunk, that you cannot write with basic correct English grammar or spelling?

    “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” — Proverbs 20:1

    that is supposed to welcome open thoughts and ideas, but in reality it’s the complete opposite!

    Surely your education included the information that not all thoughts and ideas are of equal value.

    What use is your education if you fail to even bother using it?

    Why don’t you try actually teaching and not indoctrinating your students!

    If teaching students empirical facts is “indoctrination”, then you had better turn off your computer now. It was built by the indoctrinated. That indoctrination may well be contagious…

    Your JOB is to teach…not spread your agenda\BS!

    Hm. This controversy arose because a teacher was trying to do her JOB, and prevent students from spreading their agenda/BS.

  252. #253 SteveM
    February 16, 2010

    Leaving a Bible on someone’s desk is not a hate crime, and to call it such degrades and demeans the victims of real hate crimes.

    Fuck, man. To harp so on her (mis)use of the phrase “hate crime” is to degrade and demean the harrassment she has been experiencing. OKAY it isn’t the legal definition of “hate crime”, she exagerrated. But it was clearly an act of hatred. Maybe she should have said “hateful act” instead of “hate crime”. Just note that it wasn’t a crime, but still hateful, and move on to discuss the issue. Focusing on her use of this phrase is nitpicking and dismissive of her experince.

    Good thing she didn’t call it an ad homenim attack as well.

  253. #254 Disturbingly Openminded
    February 16, 2010

    A free bible on her desk, eh? Well, I always make it a point to take every free bible I can. The gideons are a great source for free bibles. If I can prevent even one person from accidently reading a bible, I will have made the world a better place. And while they aren’t good for starting a fire, they make pretty good fuel once the fire pit is really going.

    I’ve also heard that the ones with very thin pages are good for rolling …. smokes.

  254. #255 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    Bill Dauphin @223,

    As the person who introduced the Mein Kampf comparison, maybe I should clarify what I meant.

    I don’t mean to equate them in fact. I would not consider putting a Bible on a nonchristian’s desk a hate crime unless there was some outstanding reason to interpret as a credible threat of real-world violence. (As opposed to perhaps an incredible threat of afterworld violance.)

    In the case of Mein Kampf on a Jew’s desk, I likely would consider it a hate crime, but the difference is interesting.

    In the case of Mein Kampf, just putting the book on a Jew’s desk may well be a hate crime, because reasonable people can be expected to know taht

  255. #256 john.stabler
    February 16, 2010

    Perhaps they should just let the dumb students “opt-out” of science and then in 20 years time the state will wonder why it’s lagging behind in standards?

  256. #257 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    Oops… somehow that got away from me.

    In the case of Mein Kampf, just putting the book on a Jew’s desk may well be a hate crime, because reasonable people can be expected to know that such an action is likely to be interpreted as a threat.

    My point was that the Bible ought to be considered similarly hateful to Mein Kampf, such that everybody knows that it’s tremendously insulting and weird to leave it on a nonbeliever’s desk.

    After all, the Bible is more explicit than Mein Kampf about killing unbelievers, committing genocide, and endlessly torturing large numbers of people.

    If people generaly did recognize just how hateful the Bible really is toward unbelievers, then somebody nonetheless putting it on an unbeliever’s desk could be reasonably be interepreted as a threat, as well.

    People ought to know, but do not, that you really really shouldn’t put a Bible on an unbeliever’s desk, because it’s such a tremendously loaded thing to do that they might reasonably wonder if you’re threatening them, and guess that they are.

    Given that people are mostly oblivious to that, you can’t make such a reasonable inference—it’s a good guess that the person doing it is just an a horribly inconsiderate and ignorant dumbass.

    And that’s a shame.

    Still, I think it’s hate speech even if it’s not a hate crime.

    That doesn’t make it illegal—laws vary about what (if anything) constitutes hate speech, and I’m not at all sure much of anything ought to be illegal hate speech, if it’s short of a hate crime.

    I do think that maybe a school system should probably have a hate speech code, and that clearly unwanted proselytizing with a book that threatens unbelievers with eternal torture ought to count as something that shouldn’t go on at school. That should be a hate speech no-no, even outside of classroom and class time.

  257. #258 xunatz
    February 16, 2010

    Geez, am I the only one that thinks a teacher publically discussing her students on facebook, is a perfect example of being unprofessional?

    If she had students who were simply spoiled brats, who spent their every waking moment tauting her…would it be acceptable for her to comment on her facebook page about them?

    Also, when she suggested that leaving a bible on her desk was tantamount to a hate crime, it made me cringe….( she sounds like a loon)

    I suspect that what we have, is a teacher who’s been unable to control her students, who’s been unable to deal with their collective taunts and is lashing out.

    For those who may not know, youths in grade 8 are absolutely unbearable…they’re just beginning to test the waters of rebellion and haven’t any internal filters to reign their behaviour in.

    I am an atheist and I’m shocked that a state so close to secular Canada ( except for Alberta) can be such bible thumpers.

    Regardless, I believe the teacher is unprofessional and handled her students poorly.

  258. #259 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Paul W. (@255):

    In the case of Mein Kampf, just putting the book on a Jew’s desk may well be a hate crime, because reasonable people can be expected to know taht

    Exactly right: Any reasonable person would interpret giving a copy of MK to a Jew as a threat, and making threats is a crime. Most reasonable people would not interpret giving a Bible, even to an atheist, as a threat, hence, no crime. I think we’re in agreement.

  259. #260 dude070012
    February 16, 2010

    The principal should make a statement or just let these kids get their class grades early

  260. #261 la tricoteuse
    February 16, 2010

    xunatz at 258: Since she didn’t mention her students by name, I honestly don’t see any reason why it’s unacceptable to comment about her students on her facebook, no. It was silly not to have her profile set to private, but that certainly isn’t the part of this story that I find unacceptable.

  261. #262 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    Bill,

    One quibble:

    the Bible isn’t connected to a specific instance of genocide in the way that Mein Kampf is, nor to institutionalized hatred in the way that The Elder’s of Zion is.

    Yes, it is. The Bible is connected to the very same Holocaust as Mein Kampf and the Protocols. It was mainly Christians killing Jews, and largely due to enduring Christian anti-Jewish hatred rooted in the Bible.

    I doubt Mein Kampf or the Protocols could have gotten much traction in the anti-Jewishness department if German Catholics and Lutherans didn’t have an entrenched antisemitism largely justified by crazy hateful stuff in the Bible that people like Popes and Martin Luther himself took very, very seriously.

    Luther’sThe Jews and Their Lies is largely what you get from taking your hateful old Bible way too seriously, and the writer(s) of the Protocols had nothing on Luther in the Jew-hating department.

  262. #263 McMC
    February 16, 2010

    As a fellow teacher, I question the wisdom of Ms. Hussain venting on a FaceBook page but I applaud PZ for standing up for her. As a special education teacher, I really wish PZ would drop the “retard” comment, it’s beneath him.

  263. #264 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 16, 2010

    …you loser Profs and geeks are just jealous of anyone who makes more than $50k a year!

    I hate to tell you, Nyerinnc, but 1) being a professor is a sweet gig, 2) most of us make more than $50K, and 3)many of us don’t even have to spend much time “teaching”*. I had a normal job for a while and hated it. I wear what I want to work, get paid to read things that I find interesting, I get a freaking lab to putz around in, have full access to a good library (they will deliver books to my office), have flexible hours, great benefits, and an opportunity to earn merit pay for excellence in teaching/research/ and service. And get this: In my seventh year, I will be able to take a sabbatical…a year off from teaching and committee work to develop myself as a scientist. I get to travel all over the world to hike in beautiful places and collect….get this…pretty flowers**…and all expenses are paid by research grants. In the last few years I have done field work in southern Africa, the Andes, and southern Mexico. I get rewarded for that shit, homes. I have a big-ass house, and my commute is a ten-minute walk to work through a beautiful neighborhood. I have three months every summer to do whatever I want, including earning more money through research, consulting, etc., or maybe laying in my back yard pondering how much I love my fucking job.

    Further, when I get tenure, the university won’t be able to fire me for anything less than a serious violation of university policy.***

    Am I a geek? Yessirooni positooney. Guess what? Geeks run the muthafucka.

    *Although, I do.
    **Might not seem exciting to you, but I loves me some pretty flowers.
    ***But why would I want to get fired when I can accumulate merit pay like sea shells on a beach.

  264. #265 Gerin Oil
    February 16, 2010

    @xunatz, you wrote: “I am an atheist and I’m shocked that a state so close to secular Canada ( except for Alberta) can be such bible thumpers.”

    Canada is certainly more secular than the US, but…We still have prayer in school; we have limited funding for stem cell research; we have anti-fun and pro-Jesus laws that restrict shopping on the Sabbath and criminalize soft drugs; religious statements in official government speeches; tax shelters for religious organizations; poor sex education; religious school boards with public funding; judicial bias in favour of religious adherence; and that’s off the top of my head.

    Canadians don’t seem as insecure as Americans do when it comes to their religion, but we share a common heritage and value system. We are certainly more secular, but I don’t think by much.

  265. #266 lilly
    February 16, 2010

    Why is everyone assuming Ms. Hussain is such a fine teacher? She obviously cannot handle her students or herself or she would have found a better way to vent than on a public forum such as Facebook. She also seems to have no experience dealing with adversity or stress. And no clue when it comes to thinking outside the box. When asked about God’s role in creation, a good science teacher would have found a way to teach science. She would have told the students to learn science at school and let their pastors or parents teach them how to incorporate God into what they learn at school after they get HOME.
    Instead, she took everything personally. A good teacher, whether Christian, Atheist, or some New Age region would have taken up the gauntlet and challenged the students to look at Science as Fact and find a way to work their personal God into the formula later with the guidance of their parents. That way, the parents have no reason to complain, no one religion is ridiculed or selected, and class is not disrupted. And the administration has no reason NOT to support the teacher.

  266. #267 badgersdaughter
    February 16, 2010

    …look at Science as Fact and find a way to work their personal God into the formula later…

    Uh, what?

  267. #268 Wormman
    February 16, 2010

    Here’s a question for those of you in the US Education system. I’ve recently been involved in a debate on another forum where someone was mouthing off about special treatment given to non-Christians in US schools (ie. Christianity is banned, but Sikhs are allowed to wear turbans and Muslims get special footbaths). I disagreed, however my impression that US schools have Christian “clubs” and prayer groups which students can attend in their own time is admittedly based on popular culture rather than hard fact. What is the situation ? If there was widespread anti-Christian persecution at this school I would imagine they would have been asked to take off their Jeebus shirts.

    This is a question coming from a science teacher from Queensland, birthplace of much of the modern creationist movement, where the education minister got something published in Nature in 1986 justifying having creationism in the curriculum and where the supposedly progressive current government replaced a proposed perfectly reasonable “comparative philosophies” system (which would have included rationalism and atheism) with one which only allows a fundamentalist protestant point of view. PZ – you’re missing quite a bit by not heading up this way when you’re in Oz.

  268. #269 reboho.pip.verisignlabs.com
    February 16, 2010

    I couldn’t find a phone number for nyerinnc, but I did find a picture….

  269. #270 AJ Milne
    February 16, 2010

    Re #265… also, NC really isn’t that close to Canada. Was someone mebbe thinking of ND?

    (/USAians, please warn me if you lot have gone and moved the Carolinas closer to Canada while we weren’t looking or somethin’, tho’… I live in Canada. And it seems to me such an action could well be taken as hostile.)

  270. #271 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    Bill Dauphin:

    Exactly right: Any reasonable person would interpret giving a copy of MK to a Jew as a threat, and making threats is a crime. Most reasonable people would not interpret giving a Bible, even to an atheist, as a threat, hence, no crime. I think we’re in agreement.

    While I agree that giving a Bible to Ms. Hussain is not as serious, I do think that the Bible “gift” was made more serious by the accompanying Christmas card, with the “Christ” in Christmas underlined.

    That would seem to be a very plausible indicator that the person who left it wanted to stress that she was being singled out as Other, pointedly.

    I would likely interpret it as meaning “we don’t need your kind here,” and find it rather threatening.

    A lot depends on context, and in particular, the details of the rumors floating around about her. She says that there were rumors of her being a “Jesus-hater,” which sounds kind of like calling a Jew a “Christ killer,”—casting it as something more than a mere difference of opinion about religion, with her as not just The Other, but The Enemy.

    I don’t think she’d necessarily be wrong to interpret it as threatening.

    I think that this incident ought to be used by the School Board as a reason to craft a clear policy, and tell students and parents about it—they should make it clear that such actions are unacceptable, and that if people take them anyway, in the future, they will be interpreted as plausibly threatening, and very serious indeed.

  271. #272 David Marjanovi?
    February 16, 2010

    Owlmirror pwnz as usual.

    I may be old-fashioned but I am rather keen on elitism.

    Here’s a quote that probably comes from a Pharyngula comment, though I was too stupid to record the author and am now too lazy to find out:

    (Now, there’s nothing particularly wrong with elitism. I admit it: I’m an elitist. I love my elite so much I think everybody should belong to it.)

    That’s my attitude.

    Watch with bemusement as Nyerinnc jousts against ivory towers.

    :-D

    first they came for the Mathematicians, now they’re coming for the Chemists, too?

    :-D :-D :-D

    I think ?Sanity? is toying with us. If it had been ?sn?, then it would seem like spelling error. However, he took the liberty to capitalize the S and thereby invoke a response from anyone who knows what Sn means.

    Or maybe he/she/it/squid just wanted to capitalize Sin because it’s a Really Important Word. <vehement nodding>

  272. #273 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    Free Lunch>
    erm.. I was with you up until Wake Forest. It’s the little podunk town that’s being overrun by sprawl and refusing to accept it, not the university. WF is pretty right-wing, white-bread godbot, AFAIK.

  273. #274 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    Geez, am I the only one that thinks a teacher publically discussing her students on facebook, is a perfect example of being unprofessional?

    You’re not alone — that is precisely what my high-school-teacher spouse said when she read the story.

    If she was having such serious problems managing the students, she should have gone to her administration. If they didn’t support her, she should have gone to her school district administration.

  274. #275 DaveL
    February 16, 2010

    He sounds like a child. I doubt he?s as successful as he claims to be. He claim’s the educated are elitist and yet he pronounce that his making of 50K USD gives him the ability to discredit evolution.

    Another quibble- am I the only one here who came of age recently enough to find it bizarre to associate $50K/yr with owning two homes, one of them on beachfront property?

  275. #276 SC OM
    February 16, 2010

    Here’s a quote that probably comes from a Pharyngula comment, though I was too stupid to record the author and am now too lazy to find out:

    Blake Stacey:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/01/will_scott_adams_never_learn.php#comment-329830

  276. #277 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    Tulse> I concur on the public facebook point… and your spouse has the right idea for what to do in a reasonable district. This isn’t. WCPSS School Board has a brand new right-wing majority elected out of angry backlash, that enjoys sneaking things onto the agenda without publicly announcing them or bothering to inform the dissenting members of the board. You expect them, or the district office that they run, to support this teacher?

  277. #278 Paul W.
    February 16, 2010

    David M.:

    Here’s a quote that probably comes from a Pharyngula comment, though I was too stupid to record the author and am now too lazy to find out:

    (Now, there’s nothing particularly wrong with elitism. I admit it: I’m an elitist. I love my elite so much I think everybody should belong to it.)
    It was the ever-amusing Blake Stacey.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/03/scott_adams_reads_newsweek_uho.php#comment-377191

    Took me about 30 seconds to Google it up, ya lazy bum, and another 30 seconds to chastise you. Well worth it.

    :-p

  278. #279 badgersdaughter
    February 16, 2010

    …am I the only one here who came of age recently enough to find it bizarre to associate $50K/yr with owning two homes, one of them on beachfront property?

    It depends. How many people are in your household, and how much do they make? 50K is little enough for a middle-class family of five; it’s what my father made in 1980. It’s enough for me to have a good but not fancy two-bedroom apartment in the city, to buy the occasional symphony ticket but not a subscription, to pay someone to help clean for me every other week, to keep myself fed and clothed, to keep the bills paid, to save a little, and to not have to worry too much about the occasional extra expense. If the person with 50K had made more in the past, or if they had another household member’s income to add to that, I could see having two houses. Especially here on the Texas Gulf Coast where housing is more affordable, even on the beachfront.

  279. #280 SC OM
    February 16, 2010

    and another 30 seconds to chastise you. Well worth it.

    If you hadn’t bothered with that part, I wouldn’t have beaten you.
    :-P

  280. #281 reboho.pip.verisignlabs.com
    February 16, 2010

    lilly,

    When asked about God’s role in creation, a good science teacher would have found a way to teach science.

    lilly, lilly, lilly, really? What 8th grade student is going to this brash with a teacher unless they have some coaching from “responsible” adults? I know teenagers are smart aleck, but that kind of chutzpah has to be coached.

    She would have told the students to learn science at school and let their pastors or parents teach them how to incorporate God into what they learn at school after they get HOME.

    She probably already did……

    Instead, she took everything personally.

    Probably because she is trying to be a good teacher and when that failed she was smart enough to realize that there was much more to this than some smartass kids.

    A good teacher, whether Christian, Atheist, or some New Age region would have taken up the gauntlet and challenged the students to look at Science as Fact and find a way to work their personal God into the formula later with the guidance of their parents.

    Here’s the heart of the matter. How does one teach fact when people this child has known and trusted all their lives tell them that their teacher is evil and is teaching them the devil’s message? What advice do you have specifically?

    That way, the parents have no reason to complain, no one religion is ridiculed or selected, and class is not disrupted. And the administration has no reason NOT to support the teacher.

    You really don’t understand. The teaching is against everything the parents believe. They are competing with the teacher on belief. The administration has to grow a pair and tell the parents that if they don’t like what their child is being taught, they can take the child to a private school or they can talk with the children after school but the child can not disrupt the class or they will fail. The bibles have to be put away and any provocative clothing or behavior needs to be invisible during class. Simple, direct. No religious bias, judgments or ridicule. If you want to hear the story of creation, there is a “The Bible as Literature” course next semester. This is a biology class, leave the bullshit at the door.

  281. #282 David Marjanovi?
    February 16, 2010

    Further, when I get tenure, the university won’t be able to fire me for anything less than a serious violation of university policy.

    In France, the saying goes, to lose tenure, you have to kill your boss, his wife, and their children.

  282. #283 badgersdaughter
    February 16, 2010

    Especially since most of the existing houses on much of Galveston Island got washed into the sea. I wasn’t going to mention it, but since it wasn’t New Orleans, it wasn’t such a media frenzy, and you might not have known.

  283. #284 David Marjanovi?
    February 16, 2010

    Thanks, everyone! :-Ů

  284. #285 Went Rogue
    February 16, 2010

    Not surprisingly, this took place in the same town (Apex, NC) where city leaders last week voted unanimously to eliminate all coverage of abortion in employees’ health care plans.

  285. #286 Free Lunch
    February 16, 2010

    InfuriatedSciTeacher -

    Ah, I hadn’t realized that Wake Forest was such a self-contained village that it drove its university out of town. My mistake.

  286. #287 Wormman
    February 16, 2010

    I wonder if the ruling mentioned in Boing Boing this morning might help her out :

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/02/16/trash-talking-your-h.html

    Oh – students have the right, not teachers

  287. #288 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    Free Lunch: yea, no worries… It’s university is now in the Winston-Salem area… the only “higher” education they have left is a Baptist seminary, since 1956.

  288. #289 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 16, 2010

    now they’re coming for the Chemists, too?

    Ah, but we have solutions. Some of which are caustic…

  289. #290 allport
    February 16, 2010

    @ Raven

    I understand your anger at the troll and as far as I can see the first part of your insult was great, but can we have less of the mental illness shaming please.

    Plus the carboard box stuff was pretty dodgy too.

  290. #291 Jason Failes
    February 16, 2010

    As I kid, I was a brat (and who wasn’t?)

    I was immature, selfish, uninterested in class, overinterested in girls, rebellious, and disruptive.

    Of course, after a few trips to the principal’s office, and a stern lecture or two from my parents, I learned my lesson.

    What lessons are these children learning?

    They are learning that it is ok (even praiseworthy) to be immature, selfish, uninterested, rebellious, and disruptive, as long as it’s in Jesus’ name.

    What will these kids be like when they grow up?

    Like a typical cooking show, we don’t have to wait until the timer dings to see; Check out any of the “teabagger” footage to witness what happens when an adult never learns to stop being the worst kind of child.

  291. #292 allport
    February 16, 2010

    The “wages of Tin are death” comment is going to keep me giggling forever.

    Thanks.

  292. #293 Cheri
    February 16, 2010

    My autistic son is mentally retarded, and he knows that Sunday school doesn’t belong in a science class. He also knows that “retard” is a hate word that causes him great pain every time he hears it. I know that hundreds of your fans will scream about political correctness, but I don’t see you using racial slurs in your posts, and can’t think of any reason why this should be different. As a university professor, you are held to a higher standard, you have a lot of fans/readers, and you should be cognizant of the effect your words have.

    Religious people aren’t intellectually deficient. They may be ignorant of the science behind the material world and too stubborn to accept reality, but they have a normal range of IQs. People with intellectual disabilities are not the dregs of society, they do not deserve our contempt and deserve to be treated with more dignity.

  293. #294 Lyvvie
    February 16, 2010

    I got the teacher’s email list from the school’s website (staff page) and sent an email of support to Ms. Hussain (the correct Ms. Hussain), and an email of disappointment to the principal, Mr. Harris. Wish there was more I could do.

  294. #295 Lynna, OM
    February 16, 2010

    Ah, what a bright and glorious thing is Pharyngula! Here I come home after having my carotid arteries massaged for half an hour with an ultrasound wand (with lubricating gel), which was a waste of time, wand, and gel — only to find the day redeemed by an influx of highly dense stupidity being aptly answered by the Pharynguloids.

    I am now in such a good mood that I think I’ll just repeat some of the good parts:
    @95 Jadehawk sums up Hyper-troll with “Your delusions of adequacy are tiresome…”
    @134 AJ Milne

    I’d just like to mention I heard somewhere that when the Christian God wants to punish one of his followers for looking at naked pictures of Kelsey Grammar on the internet, the first thing he takes away is their grammar.

    @169 AJ Milne notes in his “You’re being too kind” post that the insults to blockheaded ones were inadequate — so he remedied the lack.
    @141 Bill D. chided Walton gently with “none so pure as a reformed whore” :-)
    @147 Negativism put his/her head on the block by equating MacBook-buying with being “one of those” [head duly chopped]
    @176 raven provided a mini-primer in quantum mechanics. Short post, enduring smack down.
    @177 Paul W. hoses down the blood from the beheading of Negativsm with

    I knew somebody’d find a way to make this thread about religious bigotry.

    @212 Nyerinnc assumes Josh is the fer-real “‘spokesmen’ for this motely crew”. [An aside to Nyerinnc: "you loser Profs and geeks" unnecessarily assumes two categories -- the Prof in charge of this blog is also a geek. We are One.]
    Josh @216

    My associate, Locutus of Gay, speaks for The Collective.

    [my carotid arteries are pumping overtime to support laughing and sputtering simultaneously]

    The wages of tin is death.

    A new classic, must add “The wages of tin is death” to the list.
    We conclude this roundup of delight by noticing that Paul accidentally posted a short comment, and then apologized for doing so.

  295. #296 Apolipoprotein E
    February 16, 2010

    Fe^(2+), I wouldn’t CH(4) O(2) O(3) Se^(2-) to write things out in C(4)H(10)emical NOtation.

    (How does one type in a lowerscript?)

  296. #297 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    NYerinNC is a) an embarrassment to the others of us who chose to leave the frozen north for warmer climes (and I don’t claim the slimy little fuck, either), and b) and excellent candidate for the tender loving ministries of Smoggy and Floyd Rubber, if only because I have the desire to attempt not to spray coffee on my monitor in the morning when reading that interaction. Alas that our new troll seems to have left and Smoggy/Floyd seem to have missed it.

    /unabashed fandom of satire

  297. #298 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 16, 2010

    C(4)H(10)emical NOtation.

    I use Text Formating Toolbar for Firefox. Makes C4H10 and Fe2+ fairly easy, just highlight and click super- or sub-script.

  298. #299 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    WCPSS School Board has a brand new right-wing majority elected out of angry backlash, that enjoys sneaking things onto the agenda without publicly announcing them or bothering to inform the dissenting members of the board. You expect them, or the district office that they run, to support this teacher?

    If they won’t, then the next step would be taking the school to court for a hostile work environment. But frankly, if the school board is so far gone, I certainly wouldn’t want to work for them, period. (My spouse was in a somewhat similar situation early in her career, and she got out as soon as she could.)

  299. #300 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    Tulse> agreed, thus this being my final semester working for them. If I didn’t enjoy sleeping indoors and eating regularly, I might do it sooner.

  300. #301 Twin-Skies
    February 16, 2010

    I’m a happy, successful, professional, grad of the UofMI…happily married, couple kids, a beach home and a mountain home….yeah, you loser Profs and geeks are just jealous of anyone who makes more than $50k a year!

    Let me get this straight: you can’t avoid using text walls, all-caps, the “Stupid Liberals” card, ad hominems, and the grammar of a fourth grader.

    …And you make 50k a year.

    I only have two questions: Where do you work, and are they hiring? :)

    If they’re willing to hire chimps like you to pound on keyboards, then I’m certainly a shoe-in.

  301. #302 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 16, 2010

    Apparently WCPSS’s superintendent agreed with Tulse as well.

  302. #303 leepicton
    February 16, 2010

    At this point, I am not qualified to register an informed opinion on the matter. Yes, there was bullying going on. But the fact that there was bullying leads me to suspect that Ms. Hussain had not learned to control middle schoolers. Some have the gift, or have learned it, and some do not. As a former teacher of middle schoolers (7th-9th grade), I know I had it. Students who visited me years later to thank me for getting enough English education to slide through high school on it always remarked that when I activated “the stare,” they felt like they wanted to sink through the floor. I suspect that in a classroom like Ms. Hussain’s, no student would have DARED to pull a stunt like that. Ah, but that was then, and this is now. I suspect more parents are assholes now.

  303. #304 BoxNDox
    February 16, 2010

    Well, I guess I’m going to be in the minority on this one, but while I agree that it wasn’t the smartest thing politically to write what she wrote on Facebook, I have absolutely zero problem with her doing it or with anything she said. Yes, some of it was probably hyperbolic, but who among us can claim never to have crossed that particular line?

    It would be different had she named a student, but she didn’t do that AFAICT. There are plenty of professors complaining about their students online besides her (I’m a fan, personally, of “A Gentleman’s C – The World Needs Ditch Diggers Too”) and there are also plenty of students doing the same about their professors.

    This is turning into a serious generational issue. For better or worse, today’s young adults just don’t see the loss of privacy implicit in all this as a big deal. They’re out there in ways previous generations just weren’t. And the generation that’s coming up behind them is even less caught up in all of this stuff than they are.

    There are examples of this everywhere. To name but one, back when I was in school the administration had a bad attack of the vapors when a topless photo of a student made the rounds. These days I can do an image search and find naked picture of some of my younger colleagues online. Everybody knows about it and nobody gives a damn. (All management cares about, really, is whether or not the work gets done.)

    Twitter is currently at the apex of this, although no doubt it will be replaced by something else in due course. People think something, they tweet it. In many cases they apply even less filtering to what they tweet than they would in a conversation with a friend.

    And yes, I’m well aware that older folks are still in charge in most places and still measure all this stuff against the standards and prejudices they grew up with. Which is the only reason why that Facebook page was a bad idea.

    But sooner or later we all die, and the world passes to the folks with naked pictures of themselves online. No doubt once they are older they’ll find something the young adults of that time do to be upset about. 3D movies of group sex in smellovision, perhaps.

  304. #305 Lynn Wilhelm
    February 16, 2010

    Just a quick announcement about the Wake County school system. Our superintendent just resigned–much to the suprise of many.

    This follows a recent upheaval of the school board with the election of some very conservative new members. This new board make-up is trying very hard to stop Wake County’s nationally lauded diversity policies.

    Anyway, Americans for Prosperity ( http://americansforprosperity.org/national-site ) is very pleased with the resignation. The NAACP rep is not. http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=7280664

    We may need help in a year or two with curriculum issues if this keeps up. I hope we don’t end up with another Dover-type case. I don’t know how far this new board might go.

  305. #306 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    February 16, 2010

    Lynn, #305:

    What do you think is the reason for this resignation?

  306. #307 F
    February 17, 2010

    Gus Snarp:

    Your fucking concern is noted.

  307. #308 glenister_m
    February 17, 2010

    “She doesn’t have to be a professing Christian to be in the classroom,” Balint said. “But she can’t go the other way and not allow God to be mentioned.”

    Really, why not?

    Actually as a high school teacher myself, I’m expecting to get questioned by the principal regarding some of the statements I’ve made in class.

    My students have recognized that I know a lot about a wide range of topics, and so often ask me off-topic questions. One that has come up a couple of times regarded ghosts/reincarnation. I explained that not having eyes/ears/brain/etc. if a ghost existed it couldn’t perceive us by any sense we know of, and that it wouldn’t have any memories or personality of the deceased. So far as I know, no parent complaints, but I’m sure eventually…but I don’t plan on backing down.

  308. #309 zhu-wuneng
    February 17, 2010

    This is a very odd case in many ways. I mean, I support her for the most part but

    -I think going on Facebook to bitch about the students was really, really stupid…I had a boss once who bitched about us on myspace while forgetting that one of the employees had recently friended her, and the resulting in-office tensions lasted the better part of a year. Passive aggressively venting on social networks is something that seems to lead to nothing but trouble.

    -I don’t think it sounds like she handled the situation well. Teens try adults in positions of authority over them; it’s practically their job. Parents often back them up, too, sadly. Speaking as someone who has worked extensively with teens, if you can’t handle that, it’s probably not a good job for you.

    All that being said, yes, she’s clearly in the right here, and if the disruptions had been anything but Christian in nature, nobody would hesitate to come to her defense.

  309. #310 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Paul W. (@262):

    One quibble:

    the Bible isn’t connected to a specific instance of genocide in the way that Mein Kampf is, nor to institutionalized hatred in the way that The Elder’s of Zion is.

    Yes, it is. The Bible is connected to the very same Holocaust as Mein Kampf and the Protocols. It was mainly Christians killing Jews, and largely due to enduring Christian anti-Jewish hatred rooted in the Bible.

    Yeah, I struggled with how to put that… and I still am struggling. I know what you mean, and yet, I think there’s a difference, and one of kind not merely degree. Let’s say that nobody would not think leaving copies of the Protocols or Mein Kampf for a Jewish teacher was a threat; plenty of people (including many nonbelievers) would not think that about the gift of a bible, no matter how unwanted it was.

    I do think that the Bible “gift” was made more serious by the accompanying Christmas card, with the “Christ” in Christmas underlined.

    That would seem to be a very plausible indicator that the person who left it wanted to stress that she was being singled out as Other, pointedly.

    Yeah, but in this case, singling someone out as other is not nearly as scary as it is when (neo)Nazis do it: Crazy as it seems to us, many Christians think they’re doing a generous, loving thing by trying to lead others to Christ. It seems ominous to an unbeliever, but it’s not intended as a threat. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists intend their actions (and literature) to be threatening; that’s the whole point.

    It’s back to that distinction I was trying to make earlier between harassment and bullying: Harassment may consist of benignly intended actions that are unwelcome; bullying is certainly also unwelcome, but it’s never benignly intended. And, of course, hate crime is what bullying wants to be when it grows up. [sigh]

  310. #311 zhu-wuneng
    February 17, 2010

    A lot of the people in this thread with the inane Mein Kamph analogy sound like Robert Spencer’s inbred supporters who won’t stop saying thate every single Muslim is functionally the same as a nazi because the Qu’ran has bad stuff in it. It just completely ignores huge social realities to make such arguments.

  311. #312 raven
    February 17, 2010

    “She doesn’t have to be a professing Christian to be in the classroom,” Balint said. “But she can’t go the other way and not allow God to be mentioned.”

    Since when do teen age kids decide what is taught in a public school? In a science class?

    My school district has a strict, explicit policy. No religion or religious displays in school. AFAIK, they had some battles decades ago and that was the policy they hammered out. It has worked for decades too, although periodically a few crackpot fundies complain. At the slightest hint of religion in the school some local atheists complain too.

    They don’t even put up Xmas (or holiday) decorations or a holiday tree. Oddly enough, Xmas trees are legal as long as they are called holiday trees. I don’t have a problem with that as Xmas is a pagan and secular holiday anyway.

    The fundie death cults turn everything into a battleground. They are like African locusts, destroying everything in sight. These days, if I was a high school teacher and anyone mentioned anything about god or religions, I would just parrot the school policy and refuse to take the bait. You are only paranoid when no one is after you.

    A lot of fundies hate public education for their usual reasons. It isn’t their brand of brainwashing. They could care less if they destroy the school systems.

  312. #313 psanity
    February 17, 2010

    I’m a long-time reader, occasional poster. For the record, that alleged “Sanity” person is not me. What an extremely strange person.

    When I was in 9th-grade science class, oh-la-la-la-la years ago, we had a short unit on evolution and origins (at that time, probably reference to Primordial Soup); after which the teacher, with obvious discomfort, announced that he was required by [State of CA? District?] to inform us that life may have also originated/evolved by the action of a supreme being.

    I don’t recall his precise words, only the gist of it. What I vividly remember is that every kid in the class was frozen with embarrassment for that good man. Dead silence. There was this weird empty moment, then the bell rang. As the class left, a few of us lagged behind, but he made it clear he wouldn’t discuss it. We did, though, for weeks. I’ll never forget that gut-sinking feeling that putting religion in a science classroom is worse than simply wrong.

    Oh, and speaking of Sn, well, I have strong feelings about that, too…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNhL9zwXeNY

  313. #314 strange gods before me ?
    February 17, 2010

    My school district has a strict, explicit policy. No religion or religious displays in school. AFAIK, they had some battles decades ago and that was the policy they hammered out. It has worked for decades too, although periodically a few crackpot fundies complain. At the slightest hint of religion in the school some local atheists complain too.

    What do you mean when you say ‘religious displays’? If a kid wants to wear a cross on the outside of their shirt, that’s protected First Amendment expression and your school is on the money-losing side of precedent.

  314. #315 Rorschach
    February 17, 2010

    No religion or religious displays in school

    I guess that’s ok and according to the law as far as the school goes, but I don’t see an issue with individual kids displaying religious paraphernalia on themselves like crosses or whatever, as long as it’s not branded into their skin.

  315. #316 Miki Z
    February 17, 2010

    I wonder if shirts with Bible verses would be okay?

    I’m well past the age of high school, but a shirt with Front:
    Where are the men who came to you tonight?
    Back:
    Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.

    would be fun, I think. So many great Bible verses need to be T-shirts.

  316. #317 lilly
    February 17, 2010

    You really don’t understand. The teaching is against everything the parents believe. They are competing with the teacher on belief.

    On the contrary. My children were educated in NC public schools. I was educated in NC. We were raised as Christians. But when taught science we knew it was science and not Sunday School. There were no riots in class. And I remember one particularly vocal atheist teacher. But he never pushed HIS atheist agenda. He just taught science. That’s my point. From what I’m hearing HERE in NC. That is what happened in this situation. The teacher “seemed” to have an agenda. And Yes, redneck zealot bigoted Bible thumpers took up the charge. My point from the beginning was that it annoyed me that everyone was assuming that this woman was such a fine teacher when it just didn’t “seem” that way to me. She lost control of her class. Regardless of how it happened. It happened. Point 2- If she didn’t want religion brought into the classroom, that point should have been made from day one. Then the students wouldn’t have known her religion. Again, both me and my children were educated in NC schools and I can tell you that religion often NEVER came up in the classroom, even when evolution was taught. As a previous poster mentioned, when Creation was brought up by a student, the teacher reminded the student that it was science class not Sunday School and to discuss those theories at home or in church and the class moved on. The teacher did NOT lose control of the class. PERIOD. AND, if I’m not mistaken, that teacher was Jewish.And the majority of the classroom was Southern Baptist.

  317. #318 Carlie
    February 17, 2010

    What McMC at #263 said. I hadn’t noticed that when I read it.

  318. #319 Paul W.
    February 17, 2010

    Bill Dauphin:

    I think we’re mostly in agreement; the following is a somewhat long-winded (who, me? longwinded?) explanation of why the context of my Mein Kampf example (with “Reform” Nazis) was relevant. A straight Mein Kampf analogy is indeed quite overblown, but the one I gave actually shows why the Bible and card can plausibly be interpreted as maybe threatening. (But maybe I shouldn’t have gone there; Godwin and all.)

    The Bible is connected to the very Holocaust as Mein Kampf and the Protocols. It was mainly Christians killing Jews, and largely due to enduring Christian anti-Jewish hatred rooted in the Bible.

    Yeah, I struggled with how to put that… and I still am struggling. I know what you mean, and yet, I think there’s a difference, and one of kind not merely degree. Let’s say that nobody would not think leaving copies of the Protocols or Mein Kampf for a Jewish teacher was a threat; plenty of people (including many nonbelievers) would not think that about the gift of a bible, no matter how unwanted it was.

    I’d say it’s more a difference of frequencies and probabilities than a difference in kind.

    Certainly most Christians would not give a nonbeliever a Bible as a threat of the “we’re gonna get you” sort. A fair fraction would indeed give a nonbeliever a Bible as a “benign” threat, meaning “here’s the rulebook, and if you don’t follow it, God’s gonna get you.” (That may be easier to see if you imagine a teacher who’s an out gay man, and the gift meaning “here’s the book that tells you your lifestyle is sinful.”)

    And some would indeed give it to the “wrong” sort of person to send a message that you are way out of line, and put them on notice—we’ve got your number, and the normal rules of civil behavior do not apply. God’s gonna get you, but maybe we won’t wait for God to do it.

    Normally I’d find that interpretation unlikely, but the card with the Christ in Christmas underlined shifts my subjective probabilities substantially.

    The prior odds are also shifted by the students singing Jesus songs in class and stuff like that—they are clearly violating social norms and preventing the teacher from doing her job, at least symbolically. They are asserting the right to take control of her classroom. Add to that the rumors of her being a “Jesus hater,” and I don’t blame her for seeing the bible and the underlined “Christ” card as a possible threat—it may mean “here’s the justification for what we’re doing to you; Christ is on our side, and you’re against Christ; fuck you, bitch.”

    In her shoes, I’d wonder what comes next. Was that the final warning that if she doesn’t change her ways and toe the line, they’ll vandalize her house and car, maybe beat her up, and run her out of town? (Or is it nothing?)

    There are certainly millions of Christians in this country who’d say she deserves getting run out of town. What sign should she wait for before suspecting that violence comes next? Explicit death threats?

    So… I agree that it’s not nearly as clearly threatening as Mein Kampf would be for a Jew, in the real world.

    That’s one reason why I talked about an imaginary world in which there’s such a thing as Reform or Reconstructionist Nazism, where the antisemitism is way downplayed, maybe even repudiated by some varieties of Nazis who still call themselves Nazis.

    In that world—where fundamentalist Nazis are virulently antisemitic, but “liberal” Nazis may not be antisemitic at all—the threat would be much less clear, as is the real case with the Bible and card.

    The point of that analogy was that Christians ought to recognize that they’re like Reform Nazis—the history of Christian violence against non-Christians is scary, and many unreformed Christians are still scary, because they still believe in the nastier parts of the Bible, and take them quite seriously.

    Even a Reform Nazi shouldn’t give Mein Kampf to a Jew, even if they mean well and are not antisemitic, because they should know it’s a very ambiguous signal, and could be taken as am unreformed Nazi threat.

    Likewise a non-hateful Christian should not give a Bible to an unbeliever who doesn’t want it, because it’s very ambiguous—which parts of the Bible is the person supposed to read, and how are they supposed to take it? Some parts are extremely anti-unbeliever, and advocate violence against same. Why should anyone be expected to take that as a benign gesture?

    The bottom line is that Christians are clueless if they think there’s no reason for anybody to take a gift of a Bible as a possible threat. There’s plenty of reason, and the main reason most of us wouldn’t take it as a threat is that most non-Christians know that most Christians are too clueless to recognize that, and hence have no manners.

  319. #320 Paul W.
    February 17, 2010

    All the above about the significance of Bibles as gifts reminds me of a joke about gangsta rap music:

    I’d like it better if it wasn’t about killing people like me.

  320. #321 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 17, 2010

    On the contrary. My children were educated in NC public schools. I was educated in NC. We were raised as Christians. But when taught science we knew it was science and not Sunday School. There were no riots in class. And I remember one particularly vocal atheist teacher. But he never pushed HIS atheist agenda. He just taught science. That’s my point. From what I’m hearing HERE in NC. That is what happened in this situation.

    That’s funny Lilly, I taught/teach science in NC… I don’t promote an “atheist agenda”, but I do make it clear that my classroom isn’t the place for a religious discussion. The first year I taught I had a parent and her southern baptist preacher screaming in my face in my classroom that I was “Doing the devil’s work and trying to make her daughter go to hell for believing evolution” (elisions removed for clarity). I also had the windows of my car smashed out and my tires flattened. These people didn’t even know I was an atheist. So it would seem that your experience, while perhaps being the norm (it was more like that at my 2nd school), is not the only experience of the kind.
    How did she seem to have an agenda? Because she taught natural selection “as a fact and not a theory”, like the ignoramuses on the radio stated?
    Since this is her 3rd or 4th year teaching, it’s entirely possible she needs some work on classroom management. That’s something the admin are supposed to help her with, rather than banging the nails in deeper.

  321. #322 badgersdaughter
    February 17, 2010

    In her shoes, I’d wonder what comes next. Was that the final warning that if she doesn’t change her ways and toe the line, they’ll vandalize her house and car, maybe beat her up, and run her out of town?

    You know what the Bible thing reminded me of? Stories my dad used to tell about how union supporters used to intimidate union resisters, back when he was a factory worker. If otherwise average, decent folks, probably largely Christian, would do those things to their co-workers just because their opinions about fair treatment at work differed, think what such people could be capable of when motivated by religion.

  322. #323 badgersdaughter
    February 17, 2010

    dammit, blockquote fail, but I think you can guess the first paragraph was supposed to have been the quoted part.

  323. #324 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 17, 2010

    “She doesn’t have to be a professing Christian to be in the classroom,” Balint said. “But she can’t go the other way and not allow God to be mentioned.”

    Well, it’s a parent, and not a student, but apart from that, the most terrifying thing is that she believes she’s being magnanimous by uttering that the teacher need not be a professing xian, rather than defying the First Amendment by stating that the teacher can’t keep her (Balint’s) invisivle friend out of the classroom. It’s a friggin’ science class lady, there’s no reason why your fiction (or any other) should be mentioned. As a matter of fact, she’s legally bound to go the other way or discuss a reasonable number of possible creation myths, and ethically bound by her agreement to teach the state curriculum not to limit her discussions to the science of it. Clearly, the students have had enough mention of doG in their lives already.

  324. #325 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 17, 2010

    What InfuriatedSciTeacher said: I’m a university professor in the deep…deep, south. I have much more latitude in what I can say in a classroom than a high-school teacher. And even though I teach mostly about plant evolution, it makes ~25% of my students visibly tense. They are conditioned to respond viscerally to anything smelling of evoluton, and there I am, just telling it like it is. While I have never mentioned anything about my own views of religion in class, students nonetheless make the assumption that I am an evolutionary biologist because I don’t believe in God. In fact, this is how I ended up as the faculty advisor to the student Atheist Alliance. One of my students (the founder of that group) assumed that since I was comfortable discussing evolution, I couldn’t possibly be religious*.

    If the NC students of Wake Cty represent a similar demographic, I can imagine that Melissa Hussain’s religious beliefs were already the elephant in the room before she even opened her mouth about evolution. A teacher has control of a classroom only if there are consequences for bad behavior. When parents encourage bad behavior, the teacher has lost through no fault of her own. I don’t know if Melissa Hussain is a good teacher or not. However, I doubt that a very good teacher would have had an easy time of things given the depth of the stupidity she was facing.

    *In other places where religionists with more moderate views toward science predominate, this wouldn’t have ever entered his mind.

  325. #326 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 17, 2010

    Looking at the Blackboard site for West Lake Middle, it seems that Ms. Hussain came in mid-year… this is an effective recipe for being fucked with by students and parents, if they happened to like the people who preceded you. Might explain some of the issues.

  326. #327 Paul W.
    February 17, 2010

    Another thought about gifting Bibles.

    Most Christians don’t do it. Catholics generally don’t do it. Theologically liberal Christians generally don’t do it.

    The people who give people Bibles are generally fundamentalists or other very orthodox Protestants of the proselytizing, “Bible-believing” sort, typically inerrantists, and often literalists. They mostly believe in Hell, and that nonbelievers are going there, and that that’s justice. They worship a vengeful, wrathful hardass God.

    In other words, Bible-gifters are disproportionately scary, benighted people who likely do think you should actually read Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and take them very seriously, without a knowledgeable theologian to “interpret” it for you and tell you how to be a Christian without being an asshole.

    Other Christians rarely give non-Christians Bibles, even if they’re proselytizing. They’re much more likely to give somebody a book of apologetics (e.g., CS Lewis) than an actual Bible, because they don’t think the Bible itself is great reading for beginners.

    In that light, I think some of the odd-sounding things that Hussain said sound less odd.

    An anonymous gift of a Bible may just be from some benign but benighted proselytizer who feels obligated to Witness for Jesus but doesn’t want to get on the teacher’s bad side if it doesn’t work, but it may well be a heads-up and/or a fuck-you from a very theologically and politically conservative Biblical literalist who is literally laying down The Law on her desk.

    Given that other sorts of Christians rarely give Bibles, and would probably not do it anonymously if they did, and wouldn’t underline the Christ in “Merry Christmas” to make it so pointed… I’d get a little hinky, too.

  327. #328 Paul W.
    February 17, 2010

    InfuriatedSciTeacher:

    “She doesn’t have to be a professing Christian to be in the classroom,” Balint said. “But she can’t go the other way and not allow God to be mentioned.”

    Well, it’s a parent, and not a student, but apart from that, the most terrifying thing is that she believes she’s being magnanimous by uttering that the teacher need not be a professing xian, rather than defying the First Amendment by stating that the teacher can’t keep her (Balint’s) invisivle friend out of the classroom.

    The fact that it’s a parent, not a student, makes it all the scarier. (Or maybe that’s what you meant by “apart from that,the most terrifying thing”.)

    It seems pretty obvious that a lot of the problems in the classroom are coming through the kids from their benighted parents, who do not know her, and don’t hear what she actually says in class, and therefore may find it easier to see her as The Other and The Enemy. I’d be afraid of these kids fucking with me outside school, with parents egging them on to teach that uppity teacher a lesson. I’d be even more afraid of the parents themselves, especially redneck fathers with pickup trucks and tire irons.

    And yes, I said redneck, and no I’m not being racist. I come from Southern rednecks, and I know rednecks, and while many rednecks are wonderful people, many are scary provincial anti-government anti-science religious and even racial bigots. They are exactly the kind of people a science teacher named Hussain ought to be wary of.

    (I don’t mean redneck as an insult per se. The rednecks in my family have made great strides in the last 50 years in getting past racism and religious insularity—I was raised anti-racist myself, and my redneck siblings are even less socially conservative than my parents; sadly, a substantial fraction of rednecks haven’t come nearly so far.)

    If I was a teacher named Hussain in the Deep South, teaching evolution to 8th graders, and this weird shit was going down in my classroom, and it was a big deal among outraged “Christian” parents, I’d definitely be afraid of redneck fathers, and rather phobic about people who anonymously and pointedly give me Bibles.

    Thank doG I never had to teach 8th graders, much less in public school, much less in the Deep South, much less where conservatives have recently taken over the school board, and you can’t count on any backup from the high-ups. Graduate students at an enlightened university are plenty of trouble for me. :-)

  328. #329 Free Lunch
    February 17, 2010

    Does SAS Institute think they will be able to recruit qualified employees when their school district gets turned into pudding? Time for business to speak up in favor of sense and tolerance.

  329. #330 Paul W.
    February 17, 2010

    Jesus Loves Me, But He Can’t Stand You

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbvrRct-TXc

    I know you smoke, I know you drink that brew,
    I just can’t abide a sinner like you.
    God can’t either, that’s why I know it’s true,
    That Jesus loves me but he can’t stand you.

    I’m going straight to heaven, boys, when I die,
    ’cause I’ve crossed every T and I’ve dotted every I
    Why, my preacher tells me I’m god’s kind of guy,
    That’s why Jesus loves me, but you’re gonna fry.

    God loves all his children, by gum,
    That doesn’t mean he won’t incinerate some,
    Can’t you feel those hot flames licking you?

    I’m raising my kids in a righteous way,
    So don’t be sending your kids to my house to play,
    Yours will grow up stoned, left leaning and gay,
    I know – Jesus told me on the phone today.

    Jesus loves me, this I know
    And he told me where you’re gonna go,
    There’s room for your kind down below
    Whoa, whoa, whoa

    Jesus loves me, he loves me real good. I know he does. He called me up on the phone today and told me how much he loves me. He said, “Son, I love you.” He speaks English pretty well, considering it’s a second language for him. You can talk to him, too, you know. I’ve got a 900- number in Tulsa you can call him at, I do it all the time. He’ll be glad to hear from you. I talk to him everyday.

    Jesus love me, but he can’t stand you.

    This video has better sound, but the video’s dumb and tedious:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u8cjV1hMRQ&feature=related

  330. #331 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 17, 2010

    I was in a punk-rock band in college. We wrote a song called “Jesus Thinks You’re an Asshole”…the lyrics were not really that pointed, but the song was impossibly fast, about 45 seconds long, and ended with a “Go, Jesus, Go!”

    Good times.

  331. #332 raven
    February 17, 2010

    What do you mean when you say ‘religious displays’? If a kid wants to wear a cross on the outside of their shirt, that’s protected First Amendment expression

    They follow the law pretty closely. If it is legal to wear a crucifix which some kids do, it is legal.

    The “religious displays” refers to things sponsored by the school. A Xmas tree. Inviting a speaker to tell the kids they are all going to hell because they didn’t join Jehovahs Vandals. Pretending the earth is 6,000 years old. Calling for a Jihad against Moslems, which some schools have invited speakers to advocate. The usual.

  332. #333 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Paul W (@319, and replying without quotes to 328, as well):

    I’m beginning to think we’re not in as close agreement as I had thought.

    Certainly most Christians would not give a nonbeliever a Bible as a threat of the “we’re gonna get you” sort. A fair fraction would indeed give a nonbeliever a Bible as a “benign” threat, meaning “here’s the rulebook, and if you don’t follow it, God’s gonna get you.”

    There is, of course, a sort of threat inherent in Christian doctrine, and more generally in any religious doctrine that reserves the afterlife, enlightenment, etc., for believers and punishes nonbelievers, either proactively (e.g., eternal suffering) or by denying them the rewards that accrue to believers. That does not, however (and IMHO, of course), mean that the scriptural texts of those religions are, or are intended to be, threats in the normal sense of that word. “Literature” like Mein Kampf and The Protocols consciously promote the hatred, repression, and domination of specific groups of people, and hence are clearly threats to those groups; so-called “holy scriptures,” not so much.

    For a similar reason, I don’t really think your hypothetical Reform Nazism (or any liberal version of a supremacist ideology) is really apt: Such ideologies have hatred of the other at their very core, in a way that religion, wrongheaded as we know it to be, almost never does.

    (That may be easier to see if you imagine a teacher who’s an out gay man, and the gift meaning “here’s the book that tells you your lifestyle is sinful.”)

    Certainly there are circumstances and contexts in which the presentation of a bible might be more ominous, as in your example (though my thought would be that the real threat there is not so much the declaration that “your lifestyle is sinful,” but rather the implicit threat of outing or other mischief), but absent such context, a Bible (or Book of Mormon or Koran or any other scriptural text) is far more likely to be a well-intended (however unwelcome) attempt to share something the sharer believes to be both true and valuable. The Fred Phelpses of the world are thankfully few; the majority of Christians consider the Bible — the Word of God in their view, don’t forget — as a precious gift rather than as a blunt weapon.

    Finally…

    Normally I’d find that interpretation unlikely, but the card with the Christ in Christmas underlined shifts my subjective probabilities substantially.

    I disagree that emphasizing the Christ in Christmas is ominous (unless the giver is Bill O’Reilly): I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on Christianity, but I’ve been a member of at least four Christian denominations (and a guests at churches of several others) in my time, spanning the liberal-to-conservative spectrum. For all the Christians I’ve ever known, if they meant to threaten a nonbeliever, they’d reference God-the-Father, not Jesus. The key thing about Christian theology is that Jesus always represents salvation. Jesus is the carrot, not the stick; the hope for the nonbeliever, not the terror.

    I don’t say a nonbeliever might not perceive the gift as a threat; I just say that effectively 0% of the Christians I’ve ever known would have meant it that way.

    But more to the point, characterizing these students’ actions as a threat, or as bullying, or as a hate crime, is unnecessary: Regardless of how well intentioned the students were, any toleration for their behavior on the part of the administation is both workplace harassment and (because this was a public school) violation of the establishment clause. I think we should avoid inflammatory, hard-to-prove arguments on this one, because we’re right on the obvious principle of the matter in any case.

  333. #334 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Correction: My #333 is a non-quoting reply to #327, not #328.

    Also, if I fail to respond further, it’s not because I’m ignoring anyone: I’m going to be away from my desk at work a lot for the next couple weeks, and for as long as the Olympics last, I’ll be spending little time at my keyboard at home, too.

  334. #335 Lynn Wilhelm
    February 17, 2010

    @ Josh at 306
    All he’s really said is he cannot in good conscience stay in his postion.
    Most people think he doesn’t want to work with a school board trying hard to get rid of many of the policies he’s put in place.

    The board wants to eliminate the diversity policy and reduce or remove mandatory year round school assignments. (A recent survey about year round school calendars revealed lots of parents do like it). Because of these policies we have a great school system and the whole county benefits. You can go anywhere in the county and be sure you’ll have a great school.

    I’m sure there is no connection to the issue with this teacher.

    To Free Lunch @330: With this new school board, we do need businesses like SAS to speak up. I don’t know how many more consevative ideals these new board members espouse, but whatever they are we may need to nip them in the bud.

    With a child in 1st grade I want to be sure her education doesn’t suffer.

  335. #336 great.american.satan
    February 17, 2010

    Why “RACE or perceived race?” What’s my evidence? Hussain. If that isn’t enough for you, you haven’t been paying attention to the country around you for the last decade.

  336. #337 Paul W.
    February 17, 2010

    Bill Dauphin@333:

    I think we should avoid inflammatory, hard-to-prove arguments on this one, because we’re right on the obvious principle of the matter in any case.

    Well, I do agree that Melissa Hussein should have avoided characterizing the gift of a Bible as hate speech, much less a hate crime. Few people will understand how that could be, even if she might be right.

    I have to say that your characterization of Nazism and scriptures doesn’t make sense to me.

    For many Nazis, Nazism was not about antisemitism. It was about exceptionalist nationalism. Many weren’t particularly racist, or especially racist toward Jews. They were mostly cultural supremacists, not particularly racial or even religious supremacists, at least early in the rise of Nazism. (There was of course a whole broad spectrum of opinion about this, and the center shifted over the years.)

    Those Nazis, or Nazi supporters who did not actually join the party while it was really optional, largely thought of Hitler’s over-the-top hate rhetoric as mostly harmless window-dressing, and his Brownshirts as stupid thugs. Still, many supported him anyway, on the assumption that the racist shit and thuggery wouldn’t get too far out of hand, and that the “real issues” were about economics and cultural supremacy—rather like a lot of moderate Republicans now, who have gotten in bed with Religious Right kooks.

    I think you’re essentializing Nazism, which has no real essence, any more than the Judeo Christian Tradition does. I’m not talking about the caricature of Nazism as the epitome of concentrated, overt evil, but what I see as the reality of Nazism, which is far more banal, and in it’s own way, much scarier—and much more familiar, looking at fundamentalist, illiberal and anti-”Liberal”, rabidly capitalist, anti-secular, anti-elitist and anti-intellectual American exceptionalism.

    Right-wing American culture is a mishmash, and so was support for National Socialism. Many right-wing Americans are not so very different from the mainstream supporters of Nazism in the 1930′s, most of whom were much less concerned with hating Jews than with the superiority of German culture, and getting the trains to run on time, and sticking to the unmitigated assholes who stuck it to them with the humiliating Versailles Treaty.

    The “Real Americans” that support Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have a whole lot in common with Good Germans, and it’s not about any one idea except that their culture is superior and by rights, should be the most powerful one, because they know how to run things and everybody else is inferior somehow. They believe in the American Way, conflated with their idea of the Real American Way, even if their ideas of what that are are actually quite varied, as well as incoherent, and unrealistic.

    Sure, relatively few right-wing Americans think that unbelievers or fags or Muslims should be put to death by default. But some certainly do—I’ve known some—and relatively few Germans thought that about Jews or Gypsies during the rise of Nazism. That wasn’t want Nazism was “essentially” about, for most Germans. It was about taking power back from The Other, in different senses for different people, and Doing Things Right, likewise in different senses.

    IMHO, of course, and I’m no scholar of such things, so all the usual caveats apply.

    Also IMHO, there are millions of Americans who do think that Muslims and fags and atheists deserve to be put to death. Not most of them, and not right away—they think that the culture should change in their direction, and individuals should be pressured to change over time, and only if those who steadfastly refuse to “get it,” and insist on being the enemies of Truth, Beauty, and Righteousness should be treated very harshly.

    I’ve known a number of people who think that way. They don’t think anybody should kill me just for being an atheist, under current circumstances, but they do think circumstances should change in such a way that being an atheist would be much less forgivable, down the road. And mostly they don’t want to think about where their ideas lead. They like to think that if their side was running the show, they could restore things to the way they were in a mythical golden age, where nobody was stupid enough to disbelieve in Jesus, as they do now under the influence of the Liberal Media and the Education Establishment and the fucking Liberals who screwed everything up.

    I think most of those people would stop far short of killing Melissa Hussain for being an evolutionist and an atheist or Muslim, or whatever they perceive her as. But some wouldn’t, and many more wouldn’t want to stop short of getting her fired, or failing that, run out of town, or at least out of the business of educating their precious children. They want to stop this pattern of the evil Democrat-controlled Federal Government corrupting their kids with antireligious liberal ideas that may get them sent to Hell, as well as perpetuating the fucked-upness of their precious country. That’s some serious business, if you take their ideas seriously, and many of them really do.

    Just look at the nonsense around Christian Reparative Therapy. Millions of people think that if we can make Jesus more dominant in our culture, and make it clearer to those misguided homosexuals that homosexuality is intolerable, then the gays will mostly change into good Christian straights, the and the ones who don’t will know that they have to suppress their evilness, so that we won’t have to put them to death for fucking each other. Or at least not many.

    If you don’t think that’s a fairly common view among U.S. fundies, just look at how hard it was for Rick Warren et al. to distance themselves from the Ugandan fag-killing law. They don’t want to alienate the millions of U.S. fundies who really do think that homosexuals deserve death, because it says so in the Bible—or the millions more who think that’s going a bit too far, but going a bit too far is better than not going nearly far enough.

    Likewise I think that there are millions of Americans who think that it’s right to put disobedient children to death, because it says so in the Bible. As with fags, they don’t think this would be required very often if we just fixed our broken culture and raised our kids right. More kids would really know Jesus as their personal savior, and respect their parents, and the relatively few who didn’t really “get it” would mostly know the consequences of misbehaving, and not be stupid enough to get themselves killed. Very few child-killings would actually be necessary, and maybe we wouldn’t really do it at all, being forgiving Christians, but the Levitical standard of justice would still be relevant, moderated by a little Christian forgiveness.

    There are millions of serious authoritarian religious kooks out there, and I think that Melissa Hussein is right to be wary that too many of them may be around her, and fixated on her.

    I disagree that emphasizing the Christ in Christmas is ominous (unless the giver is Bill O’Reilly): I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on Christianity, but I’ve been a member of at least four Christian denominations (and a guests at churches of several others) in my time, spanning the liberal-to-conservative spectrum. For all the Christians I’ve ever known, if they meant to threaten a nonbeliever, they’d reference God-the-Father, not Jesus. The key thing about Christian theology is that Jesus always represents salvation. Jesus is the carrot, not the stick; the hope for the nonbeliever, not the terror.

    I disagree. I think you just can’t tell whether pointedly talking about Christ means it’s a benign carrot, or just the opposite—a very pointed stick poised to mete out eye-for-an-eye “Justice.”

    Some Christians think that Jesus is all namby-pamby loving. Others think he came with a sword.

    Think about the KKK. They use a burning cross as a symbol to terrorize people. They are far from alone in thinking that Jesus Christ can be unforgiving and burn your ass in Hell forever. (Remember, it’s the New Testament that introduced that most appalling and extreme punishment, not the Old.)

    Many right-wing fundamentalists have folded together OT harsh justice with NT Hell, and don’t see a big conflict there. They think that yes, all other things being equal you should be forgiving, but things are not equal, and won’t be until their side wins. No Jesus, No Peace.

    That is entirely in line with a very common cross-cultural pattern of people thinking that their religion is a religion of peace and forgiveness, when it’s running things, but that when it’s under seige, that’s not the time to be peaceful or forgiving. It’s the time to wage a guerilla war against the Bad Guys, and restore their religion to its rightful place of cultural dominance by whatever means necessary. If you don’t see that in your Bible, you need to read it again, and millions of these people actually read their Bibles and think that the staggeringly ruthless scumbags of the OT are the Good Guys.

  337. #338 Will Von Wizzlepig
    February 17, 2010

    Keep on fighting, Melissa Hussain!

    I do not condone the students or their parents’ actions.

    But… don’t blame a dog for barking.

    We have some unrealistic expectations of the lesser-abled people around us.

    Career panhandlers aren’t going to just stand up and go get real jobs on account of our well-founded moral outrage.

    Crazy people aren’t going to magically stop hoarding garbage and yelling at passing cars because the world would be a better place if they did.

    Ignorant people aren’t going to suddenly begin trusting smarter people, even if the smarter people are trying to help with that ignorance.

    Yes, someone has to be out there, fighting the good fight and at least attempting to deliver education to the ignorant (people like Melissa), but there will always be casualties.

    So, when I say “don’t blame a dog for barking”, I mean: you are dealing with a dumb animal. It doesn’t know any better and it probably never will. Sitting around trying to figure out what it means by “woof” is a waste of your time. If you can not or will not avoid the dog, at least learn to ignore it and carry on with what you are doing.

    Imagine the food pyramid, but based on intelligence- the large, wide bottom of it isn’t going anywhere as long as there are humans around. (see also- the reason Libertarianism will never work)

    Yours truly, elitist technocrat pig.

  338. #339 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Paul w. (@338):

    I’ve made no particular historical study of Nazism, so I won’t argue with you about its “essence.” I haven’t made any particular study of Christian theology, either, for that matter, but I’ve spent a hell of a lot more time hanging out with Christians than with Nazis! ;^) Just a few brief comments, and I’ll have said my piece on this.

    I’m probably not well equipped to explicate the theoretical basis for it, but here’s how I see the situation on a practical level: If you’re an unbelieving teacher who finds a Bible left anonymously on your desk (with or without underlined Christ), you have good cause to be something between miffed and righteously pissed, but based on that fact alone, you have no cause to fear for your personal safety. If, OTOH, you’re a Jewish teacher who finds a copy of Mein Kampf on your desk, you must call the FBI right away!! To me that seems like a significant distinction, howevermuch trouble I’ve been having justifying that conclusion in abstract terms.

    Likewise I think that there are millions of Americans who think that it’s right to put disobedient children to death, because it says so in the Bible.

    No. You might find millions — tens of millions, even — who would claim to be biblical literalists, but (discounting people who are actually violently insane in an objective, clinical sense) no more than a tiny handful of those would even say they think “it’s right to put disobedient children to death, because it says so in the Bible”… and even of that handful, almost none (if not literally none) truly believe it in their hearts. I’d bet anything in my lunchbox you’ve personally never met a single (sane) person who truly believes he or she should kill unruly children because that’s what God wants; certainly I never have.

    Biblical literalism is obnoxious, but it’s also a sham: People who claim to be literalists — all of them, I’m bold to assert — pick and choose the “literal Truth” they like and forget about the rest, either through willful or actual ignorance, or by some species of counter-rational mental gymnastics.

    None of this exonerates biblical literalists, or Christians, or theists in general: Their beliefs are pernicious, and do great social harm. Unwanted proselytizing is obnoxious in many ways, and we should take it very seriously indeed… but a Bible, in and of itself, is not a personal threat… and neither is a chorus of “Jesus Loves Me.”

    OK, there must be curling on; I’m outa’ here.

  339. #340 Paul
    February 17, 2010

    I’d bet anything in my lunchbox you’ve personally never met a single (sane) person who truly believes he or she should kill unruly children because that’s what God wants; certainly I never have.

    You’re defining the problem out of existence. Many religious people are not sane. That doesn’t mean they are not religious, or do not justify their insanity through religion.

    I had a much longer post agreeing with Paul W. in various manners, but somehow it didn’t post and I am not all that interested in recreating it. Alas. Mostly was pointing out that just because Christians YOU know prefer peaceful Jesus, many of the other 30k or so sects have Alternative Character Interpretations focusing more on the “I come not to bring peace, but the sword” Jesus. Rapture monkeys tend to go for this Jesus, who will come to slaughter the unrighteous during/after the Tribulations. Just because some Christians don’t realize how their views/proselytising actions might be taken doesn’t mean a reasonable person also would not (see: Haiti Baptist kidnappers).

  340. #341 Joffan
    February 17, 2010

    MikiZ @317

    I’m well past the age of high school, but a shirt with Front:
    Where are the men who came to you tonight?
    Back:
    Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.

    That would play well as an echo of the “Life of Brian” stoning sequence. False beards all round.

  341. #342 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Paul (not W):

    You’re defining the problem out of existence. Many religious people are not sane. That doesn’t mean they are not religious, or do not justify their insanity through religion.

    You’re defining the problem into existence, I think: Sure, many (even most) Christians are “not sane” by nontheists’ standards, in the sense that they believe in something we judge to be crazy… but that (as I suspect you know) is not the distinction I was drawing. Instead, I was drawing a distinction between (relatively) normal people and psychopaths… and most Christians are no more psychopaths than most of anybody else are.

    And mostvirtually all non-psychopath Christians who give you a bible or an unwelcome prayer are not planning on following it up with “the sword.”

    Sometimes I think those of us who criticize the literalists actually take what they claim to take literally far more literally than any of them actually do.

    There’s a metric pantload of reasons to be upset about 13 year old public school students Christ-bombing their teacher, but none of those reasons requires us to imagine that they’re the equivalent of the SS or of violent skinheads; we do our own arguments a disservice (IMHO) by being so hyperbolic.

    All that said, to Paul W: Notwithstanding our disagreement on this, you’ve had my Feb. Molly vote sewn up for days now! Keep on truckin’, dude!

    Now I really must go find some curling to watch. Honest….

  342. #343 Paul
    February 17, 2010

    There’s a metric pantload of reasons to be upset about 13 year old public school students Christ-bombing their teacher, but none of those reasons requires us to imagine that they’re the equivalent of the SS or of violent skinheads; we do our own arguments a disservice (IMHO) by being so hyperbolic.

    One does not equivocate to “the SS or violent skinheads” by pointing out that something could be taken as a hostile action. If I say I feel threatened by an action, I am not calling the person/group that makes me feel that way a Nazi.

    I get that you’re hung up on the Mein Kampf thing, but just because an action isn’t equivalent to a Nazi atrocity doesn’t mean it deserves a default assumption of peacefulness/good faith.

  343. #344 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 17, 2010

    I get that you’re hung up on the Mein Kampf thing,

    Re-read the thread: I’ve been responding to that comparison, but I didn’t bring it up. I’ve been the one saying it wasn’t apt.

  344. #345 Paul
    February 17, 2010

    Re-read the thread: I’ve been responding to that comparison, but I didn’t bring it up. I’ve been the one saying it wasn’t apt.

    Apologies for being vague, by “hung up” I meant that you were replying in the context of the comparison (making Nazi references more likely than otherwise). I didn’t mean to imply the specific Mein Kampf comparison was one you agreed with or wanted to further, but it did somehow seem to become your de facto way to tell whether something is a hate crime or to be taken as a threat (that is, is it comparable to/as serious as Nazis), which is what I was disagreeing with.

  345. #346 Paul W.
    February 17, 2010

    Since I’m the guy who brought up Mein Kampf and Godwinned the thread, I should probably clarify again for anybody who hasn’t been paying very close attention:

    1. I am NOT and never have been saying that a Bible on a nonbeliever’s desk is nearly as scary as Mein Kampf on a Jew’s desk, in the real world. I agree with Bill that for the latter, you should call the FBI. For the former, I do think it’s sometimes reasonable to wonder whether it’s a benign gesture or a fairly serious “fuck you” to an outsider, and a whole lotta context matters. (E.g., the card with Christ underlined in the Hussain case, but that too could very much go either way.)

    2. My main point about Mein Kampf was in the context of a counterfactual world—i.e., not this one—in which there’s such a thing as Reform Nazism, where people have tried to keep what was (supposedly) good about fascism, cleanse it of the worst forms of bigotry at least, and still call it Nazism, as though that were a good thing. In that counterfactual world, a gift of Mein Kampf to a nonwhite or nonChristian might not be a hostile gesture, just a stupidly poorly thought out one.

    (If that isn’t easily imaginable, imagine a world in which the Nazis had won WWII, and Nazism was considered a good thing because history is written by the winners, but 50 or 100 years later people increasingly came to realize that it really was barbaric, like the the history of the U.S. with respect to the Native Americans and black slaves.)

    I should probably clarify further that I don’t think that the spectrum of religious loonery in the U.S. now, or even in the rightward half of the population, is as scary to the spectrum of fascist loonery in Germany in the 1930′s.

    I do think that there is a spectrum, and millions of fairly scary people out there, and some very scary people—and it only takes a few near you to fuck you up but good.

    The bottom line is that I don’t think that Melissa Hussain’s interpretation of the Bible gift with the card is as kooky as it sounds to a lot of people, even though I do think it’s probably wrong in sign and/or magnitude. (E.g., I think it was probably meant as a benign gesture, or if not, as a “fuck you,” but not a threat.)

  346. #347 djennings64
    February 18, 2010

    I still keep coming back to the point that as an educational professional, her comments outside of the classroom, even on a “public forum” as some have called it, shouldn’t matter a damn so long as it can be clearly established that these personal opinions, which she is constitutionally entirely free to express, are demonstrably left outside of the classroom and are absent in her dealings with her class.

  347. #348 PZ Myers
    February 18, 2010

    I agree completely.

    Being a teacher does not mean you are neutered and rendered opinionless in the greater society outside of school. People who argue that they should be publicly silent are just aiding and abetting the trend to shut down the voices of an educated segment of society…and are also giving administrators the tools to fire good teachers who happen to be atheist, or politically active, or hold unfortunate opinions (like creationism, for instance) outside the classroom, but can be professional in the classroom.

  348. #349 Paul W.
    February 18, 2010

    I agree almost completely.

    I did think Hussain did a couple of things on her Facebook page that were a little unprofessional; she talked about some very recent interactions with students and parents in a specific enough way that the students or parents could likely figure out she was talking about them, and other kids/parents might too.

    I think she might be well-advised by her superiors to avoid telling tales out of school in such a specific way. Given that she has friends who call some of the parents rednecks, it could get personal and ugly.

    Of course that’s not what anybody’s actually up in arms about. What they’re up in arms about is crap that she didn’t do wrong. She has a right to publicly air her unpopular personal opinions, even if they’re, say, racist against “rednecks.” (Which I don’t actually believe, but that’s an accusation people have gotten worked up about in calling for her head.)

    I think she maybe deserves a very mild reprimand, if she hasn’t been advised to be a little more discreet about individuals, but nothing more. And she deserves a huge apology for the shitstorm she’s had to put up with.

  349. #350 lowglow07
    February 18, 2010

    Well I happen to know this Teacher and although I can’t speak for what she does with her Students, I can say that she is rather a Religious Zealot, herself and she always pushes her Islamic Religion on everyone she speaks to and many people have complained about it.

    As far as the Students are concerned, I highly doubt any of them are very religious, my feeling is that they did this as a sort of a pay back for her religious fanaticism.

  350. #351 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 19, 2010

    @350>
    Duh Capitulz maekz uz Coreckt?

    I’m not certain why you think we’d accept anecdotal bullshit from you, but we don’t. Clearly Muslim zealots are going to the trouble of having a public Facebook page without bothering to fill in the “Religion” line, that just fits the evidence. And we should certainly punish her for daring to prescribe to a religion that the rest of you don’t… after all, your typical NC Xian doesn’t proselytise more than, say, once an hour.
    Oh, and fuck your feelings.

  351. #352 Bernard Bumner
    February 19, 2010

    Well I happen to know this Teacher and although I can’t speak for what she does with her Students, I can say that she is rather a Religious Zealot, herself and she always pushes her Islamic Religion on everyone she speaks to and many people have complained about it.

    Smells like shit to me.

  352. #353 Bernard Bumner
    February 19, 2010

    I know that some places are characterizing it as a Muslim vs. Christian fight based on her last name. But all of the parents I spoke to said she’s more likely a secular humanist.

    From this news source.

    Definite hate-mongering bullshit from lowglow07, then.

  353. #354 lowglow07
    February 19, 2010

    Bernard,
    You seem like a very angry teacher. any relation to Amy Bishop ?, please don’t tell me you own a Gun.

    I know her from Yahoo chat some years back, her husband is from Egypt and she converted to Islam and is a Religious Fanatic, in fact I met her right after 911 and she an I got into a heated argument because she said all Americans deserve to be killed and those that died in the WTC deserved what they got.
    Now I don’t care what anyone else says about her, they can make hateful comments, but she is no angel, believe what you want, but it will all come out in due time.

  354. #355 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 19, 2010

    Any documented proof lowglow07? Otherwise, we just consider you a very unreliable source. You have a bit of hate yourself. See a professional mental health specialist for your anger issues.

  355. #356 Carlie
    February 19, 2010

    See a professional mental health specialist for your anger issues.

    …and see a tutor for your grammar and style issues, while you’re at it.

  356. #357 Bernard Bumner
    February 19, 2010

    You seem like a very angry teacher. any relation to Amy Bishop ?, please don’t tell me you own a Gun.

    1) I’m not a teacher. Clueless moron.
    2) Nice way to dance on the grave of the victims of Any Bishop. Stupid arse.
    3) Nice projection. I’m not angry – just contemptuous. Bankrupt wanker.

    I know her from Yahoo chat some years back, her husband is from Egypt and she converted to Islam and is a Religious Fanatic, in fact I met her right after 911 and she an I got into a heated argument because she said all Americans deserve to be killed and those that died in the WTC deserved what they got.

    I know you’re a liar, because Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny said so.

    Now I don’t care what anyone else says about her, they can make hateful comments,…

    So the very parents who have a beef with her didn’t see fit to mention that see is an Islamist mouthpiece? Indeed, they consider her to be a secular humanist according to local reporters?

    …but she is no angel, believe what you want, but it will all come out in due time.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Show the evidence, or stop tossing around accusations.

  357. #358 KOPD42
    February 19, 2010

    Reminds me of something that happened to a friend of a friend a while back (thus this is a useless anecdotal story). A picture was posted on somebody’s Facebook page of this person dressed as a pirate at a Halloween costume party, holding a red plastic cup. Next thing she knows she’s in trouble and her teaching license is in jeopardy because she’s “encouraging minors to drink.” Needless to say, I was appalled when I heard that. I wish I knew how that turned out. I should try to find out.

  358. #359 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 19, 2010

    All:

    I see Bernard has already dealt admirably with the required cleanup on Aisle 354!, but I thought I’d just add one thing:

    …please don’t tell me you own a Gun.

    I think we should make it a new Law of teh Intertooooobz© that anyone spelling gun with the Deifying Initial Capital® should be immediately, completely, and permanently ignored. Jus’ sayin’….

  359. #360 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 19, 2010

    KOPD24 (@358):

    A picture was posted on somebody’s Facebook page of this person dressed as a pirate at a Halloween costume party, holding a red plastic cup. Next thing she knows she’s in trouble and her teaching license is in jeopardy because she’s “encouraging minors to drink.”

    Oh, this makes perfect sense, because obviously the following are all true:

    1. The inner surface of the infamous Red Plastic Cup™ is impregnated with a secret chemical that automagically converts any liquid into cheap lukewarm keg beer, meaning that anyone seen with one is de facto guilty of teh boozin’!

    2. Everybody at every party everywhere is responsible for everyone else who drinks alcohol, or who even might drink alcohol.

    3. Teenagers have no idea ethanol exists in imbibable form unless the secret is revealed by some incautious adult, but once they do know, that knowledge alone instantly converts them into binge-drinking delinquents.

    Oy!! The world we live in…!!! </snark>

  360. #361 KOPD42
    February 19, 2010

    I wasn’t really clear, but it was the person holding the cup who got in trouble for the picture that was on somebody else’s profile. Sorry. The point of course (as you pointed to in 1.) is that people do use red cups for things other than alcohol. Whether she was drinking alcohol or not could not be inferred from the image. The other problem being a lack of control over what other people post on their own profile. I hope I never get in trouble for doing something completely legal in a picture in somebody’s FB album. Unless somebody tags you, you have no way of knowing what photos of you are on Facebook, so it’s pretty hard to control that. So the message this school district is sending is “don’t ever do anything anywhere that might vaguely resemble something a minor shouldn’t do, or it will encourage minors to do it.”

  361. #362 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    February 19, 2010

    The troll’s linked comments are rather telling… to think that the only thing about Palin that disappoints me is that she’s the same species as I am. (click the username, if you haven’t)

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