I'm obliged to Cassy Fiano for bringing this matter to my attention.
It seems that Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School in Massachusetts decided some years ago to publicly recognize students who decided to join the US military after graduation. This year they recognized six students during a school assembly, which was also attended by the father of a Marine, a former graduate of the school (who had been similarly recognized in 2006), who was killed in Afghanistan last year.
Let the Cape Cod Times describe what happened.
Some students are calling for the firing of two Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School teachers who held an anti-war sign during a school assembly Friday.
History teacher Marybeth Verani and English teacher Adeline Koscher made their silent protest during the part of the assembly in which school officials recognized graduating seniors who are entering the military.
"They not only imposed their political will, they imposed it at the wrong time," said D-Y junior Andrew Bowles Jr., who organized an after-school protest yesterday that drew about 30 students.
Parents and other community members have flooded the high school principal's office with about 40 e-mails and phone calls criticizing the teachers' actions.
"I honestly feel (the protest) was misplaced," said D-Y parent Joanne Schuman of Yarmouth. "I think they should have been removed from that event."
Some individuals have voiced support for the two teachers, who were put on paid leave until at least tomorrow, Verani said.
She said she and Koscher were not trying to undermine the students but "to address the expansion of military recruitment of children in our schools.
"I think we're supposed to open the door for differences of opinion," said Verani, a longtime peace activist. "We're not all in lock-step agreement on everything."
The protest unfolded during the senior last assembly, when the high school gathers to recognize graduates for a variety of achievements. For the last five years the recognition ceremony has included the awarding of plaques to students entering military service, said Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School principal Kenneth Jenks.
"Most schools don't recognize students who go into the military," he said.
When D-Y resource Officer Nicholas R. Pasquarosa Jr. addressed the crowd, comparing the volunteer enlistees to a sheepdog standing between the flock and a wolf, Verani and Koscher stood on the bleachers and held an "end war" sign while everyone else sat.
What to many was a sign of respect for the students was to the protesting teachers a recruiting moment, said Verani, who noted that assistant principal George Morrison, a National Guardsman, attended in military fatigues.
"This was a captive audience," she said, adding that the plaques should have been given out at an after-school awards ceremony that was not compulsory attendance for all students.
Verani and Koscher tucked their sign away and sat while the names of the six students entering the U.S. Marine Corps, Army and National Guard were announced.
They remained seated while the rest of those at the assembly gave the students a standing ovation.
"Standing and applauding is a sign of support for the decision these people have made," Verani said. "I want them to be home and alive and well and going to college and dating and having kids and coaching Little League."
The protest struck the wrong note with many attendees, Jenks said.
"Large numbers of students and faculty were upset," he said. "This is a recognition ceremony, not a classroom debate."
Heightening the reaction was the attendance of Yarmouth police Lt. Steven Xiarhos, who lost his son, U.S. Marine Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos, to a roadside bombing in Afghanistan in July 2009.
Nicholas Xiarhos, a 2006 D-Y grad, was among the first group of students to receive a plaque recognizing their military service.
There's more at the link.
I'm so sickened by this display I hardly know how to put it into words. Fortunately, Cassy Fiano did so better than I could.
First, these teachers should be immediately fired. End of story. To disrespect students in such a way is inexcusable, especially when these students are willing to fight to defend their freedom to be ignorant, rude, moonbat asses. Showing students how to exercise dissent? Please. It’s the most pathetic excuse possible. This teacher, Marybeth Verani, is so self-righteous and deluded that she actually feels like she did something honorable.
Considering the principal of the school considers the classroom an appropriate place to make politicial statements, though, they probably won’t face any kind of disciplinary action. What does it say about our education system when the classroom is considered a good place to make political statements? That’s called indoctrination, something that’s far too commonplace in our schools today.
As if this protest wasn’t disrespectful enough ... the father of a graduate of this school who gave his life for his country was in attendance. And these teachers, these selfish idiots, clearly did not care about how it might make this man feel to see these two basically disrespecting the sacrifice his son made and the service his son gave. Clearly, these teachers didn’t care that this moment was not about them, their ideals, or their politics. It was meant to be about the students — and yet they came, crashed the party, and made it all about them instead.
. . .
Virtually everyone at that school supported the six students enlisting into the military, except these two teachers. But they had to come along and spoil it for everybody.
The faux empathy doesn’t wash, either. These two teachers don’t give a damn about these students. They may claim that they want them home, safe, doing normal college kid things, but they fail to realize that some people are called to a higher purpose than just going to college — and that students don’t need their permission to enlist in the military. These students are just political props to them, an excuse to wave anti-war signs and act like they’re brave dissenters. They don’t actually care about whether or not these six students go to college and get married and have kids. They couldn’t possibly understand that if a brave, honorable few didn’t feel called to serve, then the rest of us wouldn’t have that safe, comfortable lifestyle that these two hold so dear. And when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter what they want these kids to do. If the students want to enlist in the military, then it is their decision to make. It doesn’t matter if they want them to go to college. It’s not their choice.
If these teachers wanted to protest the military, then they have every right to. If they want to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then they can. But there’s a time and a place to do that. An assembly honoring students enlisting, when the father of a fallen Marine is there, is not that time and place. It’s disgraceful, disrespectful, and disgusting. They should be fired and never allowed near a classroom again.
I did a little research and got some e-mail addresses for the school.
First, here are the e-mail addresses for the two teachers who actually did the despicable deed. Feel free to give them a piece of your mind — but remember to be respectful and to use absolutely no profanity. Just because they are shrill, rude, disrespectful, anti-military, anti-American harpies doesn’t mean you should lower yourselves to their level. Keep a civil tone, please.
* Adeline Koscher: email@example.com
* Marybeth Verani: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following people you should e-mail — again, politely and respectfully — and demand that these teachers be fired. Remember that these people do not necessarily hold any kind of anti-military bias. One of them, George Morrison, is in the National Guard. But be firm and be direct.
* Kenneth Jenks, principal: email@example.com
* Michael Grenier, assistant principal: firstname.lastname@example.org
* George Morrison, assistant principal: email@example.com
* Mary Wollak, assistant principal: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Ann Knell, assistant principal: email@example.com
* Judith Provencher, assistant to assistant principals: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Eileen Whalen, administrative assistant: email@example.com
Thanks, Ms. Fiano, for an outstanding piece of journalism, and for bringing our attention to this disgusting spectacle. I'd like to ask all my readers to please join hers in e-mailing those concerned, to express your own feelings about the matter, and join those (including me) who are calling for the dismissal of the teachers involved.