Quote of the day

"We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing. "

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snoqualmie Valley Record Chimes In

Things that make you go 'hmmm'

"The whole thing smells of a setup of Hutcherson and, unfortunately, it gave the entire student body of Mount Si a bad name. If, on the other hand, Hutcherson's speaking engagement was objected to by the teachers or the school's "Gay/Straight Alliance" prior to the assembly, the administration of the school should be held accountable"

It was objected to by students and faculty alike as far back as November when the planning started.

The FACTS are out there folks, just look for them!

Furor over assembly draws a crowd at board meeting


Parent of 4 MSHS Students said...

Facts are good. How about these:

1) About 10 students and 30 adults spoke at the school board meeting, and the opinions expressed were 10 TO 1 AGAINST the actions of Mr. Potratz and Mrs. McCormick.

2) The majority of students, parents and citizens in the valley DO NOT WANT POLITICAL ACTIVISM of any kind, liberal or conservative, at MSHS. Within a week, Mr. Taylor received over 400 emails on the MLK assembly. According to him, the "majority were conservative" (he did not offer a percentage) and critical of the actions of the two teachers and the atmosphere of political contention at MSHS.

3) MSHS policy number 2331 ("Teaching of Controversial Issues") states that the student has "The right to study under competent instruction in an atmosphere free from bias and prejudice." and "Emotional criticism and the promotion of a cause within the classroom [from a teacher] are both inappropriate and unscholarly." Every student at MSHS knows the opininon of almost every language arts teacher on gay political causes. When will a student ever voice an opinion that he/she knows is contrary to that of the teacher who assigns their grades? Never.

If teachers want to lobby for their political beliefs, more power to them, but how dare you do it in front of students while on the SVSD payroll. This is in direct violation of MSHS policy and professional ethics.

Dave Eiffert said...

In response to the comments above:
1)The preacher was quite organized. Numbers don't necessarily equate with good. Just look at the number of overweight Americans there are now compared with 40 years ago.
2)How do you know the majority don't want activism? Is there a study I am unaware of? Let me point out that having a bigot speak was activism.
3) McCormick did not express an opinion. She asked a question. I know that she ensures a safe environment for youth to exercise their opinions. In fact, she encourages them to do so. She and I have discussed it as we talk about our day at work over the dinner table for 20 years. That is the same place I have learned that there are a lot of opinions she hides from them.

Anonymous said...

If I had a congregation of thousands and the airwaves at my fingertips, I could easily get the odds in any favor I wanted.

Also, there is no way these teachers are letting their views impact their classrooms. As a parent of 3 MSHS students (2 graduated) I know for a fact that the LA dept, McCormick especially, would never discourage a student from voicing an opinion. In fact, most of the books they read are all about critical thinking, and standing up for one's beliefs... Which is exactly what I wanted my daughters (and now my son) to do.

Also, if you are concerned that students know that a group of respected teachers all believe in equality, then I don't really know if there is anything I can do to change your mind. I think the bigger concern is that there are other teachers (and obviously parents, preachers, staff members, and community members) out there who don't.

Don't go making this a witch-hunt against certainteachers,(especially since there are really only 2 here we are discussing) you can try to keep your own kids from thinking for themselves, but don't try to inflict your small-minded views on the rest of the school. School is about ideas, questions, opinions, and learning how to make your own. In my mind, that is exactly what McCormick encouraged through her question to Dr. Hutcherson.

business man said...

School is about preparing to get out into the world and make something of yourself. If you think that bring up questions to a guest that push a far left agenda help students prepare you are quite mistaken. I have pulled over 20 business owners / officers from 20 to 100,000 employees and to the business contactes all stated that such a disturbance to a gust in the business setting would have garnered at leat 3 days off with oput pay to termination.

Only in government and schools is something like thia tolerated and it gives students ideas that will get them terminated from a job someday.

We need to teach people that it is who they are that is important in life not who they are or want to sleep with. Who cares!

Alex said...

"We need to teach people that it is who they are that is important in life not who they are or want to sleep with. Who cares!"

Wow, business man. When I grow up I want to be just as successful and grammatically correct as you. If there is one thing I learned from Mrs.McCormick it's that you shouldn't contradict yourself within a sentence. :D

Anonymous said...

"Only in government and schools is something like this tolerated and it gives students ideas that will get them terminated from a job someday."

What ideas would that be, business man? The idea that it's okay to ask a question when you don't understand something--whatever that something is? Or the idea that it's okay to stand up for something you believe in?

Aren't those the very ideas that led to the founding of our nation? Aren't those the very ideas that ended slavery and segregation in this nation?

You, of course, assume that those ideas are somehow dangerous. I think the far more dangerous attitude is the one that suggests that asking questions and standing up for your beliefs is wrong.

You say "school is about preparing to get out into the world and make something of yourself."

I disagree. School is about learning how to take information, process it, evaluate it, and make informed decisions based on that information; it's about being exposed to new ideas and skills, and learning how to use them in the larger world; it's learning to appreciate things of beauty and magnificance; but, most importantly, it's about learning to THINK.

Perhaps you want employees who just do what they're told and never ask a difficult question. I'd prefer a populace with the ability to think for themselves and the courage to stand up for what they think is right. You know, like Ms. McCormick.

JDH said...

To business man:

The last time I checked, schools were put in place to mold students into individual, critical thinkers, with opinions, reason, and points of view.

I must have missed the part in my 4 last years at Mt. Si where the emphasis was on creating mindless drones, ready for corporations and eager to just shut up and work.

In fact, during my freshman year in Mr. Dillon's class, we ready Animal Farm...which is a big, fat warning against people like you. You are one of the "Boxers" of the world: "I will work harder, I will work harder, I will work harder."

I just, hope you wake up before they cart you off to the glue factory.

business man said...

Sexual orientation, what and who you want to have relationships with, crying that life is not fair because someone does not like the lifestyle choices you make and trying to cram that lifestyle down others throats is not critical thinking. Pushing such an agenda will not be tolerated in 99% of the private sector regardless what Mrs. McCormick teaches you.. What business does care about is a non disruptive workforce, someone who is productive and can work in a team setting.

Now if you would like to work for WA DSHS or become a WA State Legislator all is well.

Watch out children here goes another crop of predators.

Down with Businessman! said...

DSHS (Department of Social and Human Services)!!??? You've really got a problem with them!?? How? Why? You want kids to be abused, people to suffer, those with mental disabilities to be mistreated?

...you are sick, sick, and pathetic individual.

Go care about your money....it's obviously more important to you than you know...people.

Concerned Parent said...

Mr. Eiffert,

My child feels uncomfortable by your wife's behavior at school. There are many other students who have expressed the same thing. Weren't you at the school board meeting? Didn't you pay attention?

Besides the fact that she violated school policy... The question she asked did imply her opinion. It was her point to contrast her opinion with Mr. Hutcherson's. She said as much in the TV news interview that night.

Just to set the record straight, those who stand for a education free from social activism are not part of some preacher organization. I can't speak for everyone, but I do know that a majority of those who spoke at the board meeting are completely independent of Mr. Hutcherson.

What about my daughter? said...

To concerned parent:

My student feels uncomfortable and threatened at MSHS because of people like you...who see absolutely no problem in welcoming bigotry and dangerous hypocrisy into the school. At least there are some teachers out there who are willing to stand up and welcome all students...I know my daughter is relieved that there are some staff members looking out for all of their students. No one ever said your kid can't disagree with McCormick...if you are afraid of ideas, then I'd just keep your kid at home.

concerned parent said...

To What about my daughter?,

“people like you”
“just keep your kid at home”

Who is the bigot here? Are you really telling me that my child is not welcome? You really should listen to yourself a little more carefully!

All I want is for the teachers to abide by the school’s policy and not create a hostile environment for students. By taking any side in a politically charged issue like this puts teachers at odds with at least some students. I really don’t care what the issue is, and I have no fear ideas. But let’s level the playing field and take teachers and staff out of the activism business.

I keep hearing on this blog that the issue is with the guest speaker. Is it just because he has an opinion? Would it be permissible to invite a pro second amendment activist to speak at a school assembly? Personally I think that subject matter is not appropriate in an assembly because it is controversial, but if the speaker spoke on another more appropriate topic it would be fine. What about an anti-war or pro-war advocate? Or a Vegetarian, Vegan, Meat Eater advocate? It’s the same story for any of these, as well as for pro or anti gay advocates. Our schools are not meant to indoctrinate our kids to one way of thinking.

If you are saying that Mr. Hutcherson is not qualified to speak at our school because he has taken a public stance on a controversial issue, then Mrs. McCormick has disqualified herself from speaking at the school as well, since she has now publically taken stance. Please don’t misread this as a call to have her fired, I’m just making the point that your beef with Mr. Hutcherson is misplaced in this discussion. It’s not about the subject of his talk or of Mrs. McCormick’s question. It’s about maintaining a scholarly educational environment at school.

Now if one of these topics were to come up in a current events type class then the teacher should moderate an open and fair discussion. But the teacher should not takes sides. This is just common sense, not to mention it is also school policy. If Mrs. McCormick Followed the policy then there would be no problem here.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you are arguing against McCormick is ridiculous.

I'm sorry, but school is political. Teachers do encourage equality. Look at the curriculum and tell me it doesn't promote equality for all people.

The issue here, is that you see homosexuality as a lifestyle choice, the rest of us understand that it is not something one can choose...just like the color of one's skin. If this issue was an issue of race, my guess is you wouldn't have a problem. Unfortunately though, it seems like you refuse to recognize the fact that this issue is exactly the same. According to your logic, the fight for equality has no place in schools.

Should teachers then not promote racial equality? Gender equality? To me, that's what your argument says. My only hope is that years from now you will be able to look back on your views and recognize how far off you are.

Be sure to keep in mind that when African Americans were fighting for their rights, closed-minded people like yourself did not feel that it was appropriate to discuss in schools. Right now, you are sadly one of those people.

Anonymous said...

As the advisor to GSA, Ms. McCormick should have been communicating more closely with GSA officers. Officers of the GSA club are on record of being aware Hutch was speaking at the assembly and approved of it, with conditions he stay on topic (which he abided by). Certainly mistakes were made at several points along the way, but the GSA advisors need to take some responsibility for not being on the same page with the student leaders of the GSA. If this had happened, Hutch may not have been invited in the first place.

MtSiParents said...

This is just common sense, not to mention it is also school policy. If Mrs. McCormick Followed the policy then there would be no problem here.

If the School had followed State and Federal Laws as well as the State's guidelines on evaluating bias in the curriculum this would never have happened. Randy Talor is ultimately responsible for guests invited to speak, not the students.

Small minded hateful bigots have no place in our schools. In fact, we have laws in place to eliminate the presence of discrimination within the schools.

I would object just as strongly if Richard Dawkins had been invited to speak to a captive group of christians. He believes they are delusional and it would not be proper to force students to listen to him, even if he did not mention religion. It is what he stands for to christians that makes him a poor choice to speak at a school.

The same goes for Hutch. He should never have been invited and Taylor should pay the price for his lack of proper judgement in allowing him to speak.

Anonymous said...

Can you more clearly define your statement "Taylor should pay the price."

Mr. Taylor has apologized.

MtSiParents said...

Mr. Taylor has apologized.

He apologized to Hutcherson. He never apologized to the students for his lack of oversight and good judgement.

If he can't bring himself to apologize publicly, then he should be disciplined.

Anonymous said...

The "MLK Assembly letter" posted on the Mount Si HS web site on January 18 states:

"The administration at Mount Si apologizes for how these events have unfolded and the impact on our students."

Further down in the letter Mr. Taylor states:

"Again, we apologize for the impact of these events on our students."

Sounds like two apologies from Mr. Taylor to the student body.

MtSiParents said...

Sounds like two apologies from Mr. Taylor to the student body.

Out of context, certainly.

In Context, Taylor was specifically apologizing for the teachers actions, not his own stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Here is the context from the apology Mr. Taylor wrote in the parent letter posted January 18 on the Mount Si HS web site:

"The selection of Mr. Hutcherson as guest speaker created a climate of controversy."

Looks like an apology to Mount Si students for the selection of Mr. Hutcherson as guest speaker.

Further more Mr. Taylor writes:

"As a result of this event, the approval process for special programming such as assemblies will be reviewed and more clearly defined."

It doesn't appear to be an apology for the action of the teachers, but rather the insufficient oversight of the assembly planning process.

MtSiParents said...


Sen. Murray put it very well...

"Although a minimal amount of circumspection alone might have helped you determine that inviting a known bigot to speak on Martin Luther King Day may have offended members of your student body, staff and faculty, I am heartened to know that you plan to examine your policies and standards related to speakers and presentations at your school.

However, to not disavow Hutcherson’s presentation at your school will continue to amount to an endorsement of his views and values – neither of which follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King."

Anonymous said...

I thought 60 people signed up to speak. I also question these numbers. I thought it was pretty even on both sides. Can we get copies of the meeting recordings to see if the SVR is accurate? I think their numbers are way off.
I know some conservative churches urged their congregants to come out in support of Hutcherson so that may skew things but I personally know more than 10 people who spoke out in support of the GSA and against the decision of having Hutcherson speak so I think these numbers are just plain wrong.

If the teachers got letters of reprimand I hope the principal did too.

MtSiParents said...

Anonymous said...
I thought 60 people signed up to speak.

You are reading about the previous meeting on Jan 24th.