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High school teacher's comments investigated by district

Old 03-02-06, 02:23 PM
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High school teacher's comments investigated by district

http://www.9news.com/acm_news.aspx?O...7-c589c01ca7bf

AURORA - A 16-year-old boy at Overland High School doesn't want to hear what he calls his teacher's left-wing political rants.

Sean Allen frequently recorded his teachers to back up his notes. Allen recorded Jay Bennish, his 10th grade World Geography teacher, making comments about President Bush's State of the Union Address.

Allen's father claims the comments made in the recording are biased and inappropriate for a geography class.

"I'm not saying Bush and Hitler are exactly the same, obviously they're not. OK? But there are some eerie similarities to the tones that they use," says Bennish in his critique of U.S. economic and foreign policy.

Towards the end of the class, Bennish goes on to say, "I'm not in anyway implying that you should agree with me, I don't even know if I'm necessarily taking a position. But what I'm trying to get you to do is to think about these issues more in depth and not to just take things from the surface."

The Cherry Creek School District is conducting a thorough investigation of the complaint from the Overland High School parent and student concerning comments.

The school district says at first glance it does appear the teacher acted inappropriately at the very least.

A spokesperson for the Cherry Creek School District said they have placed Bennish on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. This is not a disciplinary action; the school district wants to remove him while they sort through the rest of the investigation.

The Cherry Creek School District expects to finish the investigation by the end of the week.

Here's the transcript. Good reading. Keep in mind, this is a geography class.

Bennish: [tape begins with class already underway. Bennish completing an unintelligble statement about Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.] Why do we have troops in Colombia fighting in their civil war for over 30 years. Most Americans don't even know this. For over 30 years, America has had soldiers fighting in Colombia in a civil war. Why are we fumigating coca crops in Bolivia and Peru if we're not trying to control other parts of the world. Who buys cocaine? Not Bolivians. Not Peruvians. Americans! Ok. Why are we destroying the farmers' lives when we're the ones that consume that good.

Can you imagine? What is the world's number one single cause of death by a drug? What drug is responsible for the most deaths in the world? Cigarettes! Who is the world's largest producer of cigarettes and tobacco? The United States!

What part of our country grows all our tobacco? Anyone know what states in particular? Mostly what's called North Carolina. Alright. That's where all the cigarette capitals are. That's where a lot of them are located from. Now if we have the right to fly to Bolivia or Peru and drop chemical weapons on top of farmers' fields because we're afraid they might be growing coca and that could be turned into cocaine and sold to us, well then don't the Peruvians and the Iranians and the Chinese have the right to invade America and drop chemical weapons over North Carolina to destroy the tobacco plants that are killing millions and millions of people in their countries every year and causing them billions of dollars in health care costs?

Make sure you get these definitions down.

Capitalism: If you don't understand the economic system of capitalism, you don't understand the world in which we live. Ok. Economic system in which all or most of the means of production, etc., are owned privately and operated in a somewhat competitive environment for the purpose of producing PROFIT! Of course, you can shorten these definitions down. Make sure you get the gist of it. Do you see how when, you know, when you're looking at this definition, where does it say anything about capitalism is an economic system that will provide everyone in the world with the basic needs that they need? Is that a part of this system? Do you see how this economic system is at odds with humanity? At odds with caring and compassion? It's at odds with human rights.

Anytime you have a system that is designed to procure profit, when profit is the bottom motive -- money -- that means money is going to become more important potentially than what? Safety, human lives, etc.

Why did we invade Iraq?! How do we know that the invasion of Iraq for weapons of mass destruction-- even if weapons had been found, how would you have known, how could you prove--that that was not a real reason for us to go there.

There are dozens upon dozens of countries that have weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is one of dozens. There are plenty of countries that are controlled by dictators, where people have no freedom, where they have weapons of mass destruction and they could be potentially threatening to America. We're not invading any of those countries!

0345.

[Pause.]

I'll give you guys another minute or two to get some of these [definitions] down. I agree with Joey. Try to condense these a little bit. I took these straight out of the dictionary.

Anyone in here watch any of Mr. Bush's [State of the Union] speech last night? I'm gonna talk a little about some of things he had to say.

0452

...One of things that I'll bring up now, since some of you are still writing, is, you know, Condoleezza Rice said this the other day and George Bush reiterated it last night. And the implication was that the solution to the violence in the Middle East is democratization. And the implication through his language was that democracies don't go to war. Democracies aren't violent. Democracies won't want weapons of mass destruction. This is called blind, naive faith in democracy!

0530.

Who is probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth?!

Unidentified brainwashed student interjects: We are.

The United States of America! And we're a democracy. Quote-unquote.

Who has the most weapons of mass destruction in the world? The United States.

Who's continuing to develop new weapons of mass destruction as we speak?!
The United States.

So, why does Mr. Bush think that other countries that are democracies won't wanna be like us? Why does he think they'll just wanna be at peace with each other?! What makes him think that when the Palestinians get their own state that they won't wanna preemptively invade Israel to eliminate a potential threat to their security just like we supposedly did in Iraq?! Do you see the dangerous precedent that we have set by illegally invading another country and violating their sovereignty in the name of protecting us against a potential future--sorry--attack? [Unintelligible.]

0625.

Why doesn't Mexico invade Guatemala? Maybe they're scared of being attacked. Ok. Why doesn't North Korea invade South Korea?! They might be afraid of being attacked. Or maybe Iran and North Korea and Saudi Arabia and what else did he add to the list last night - and Zimbabwe - maybe they're all gonna team up and try and invade us because they're afraid we might invade them. I mean, where does this cycle of violence end? You know?

This whole "do as I say, not as I do" thing. That doesn't work. What was so important about President Bush's speech last night--and it doesn't matter if it was President Clinton still it would just as important) is that it's not just a speech to America. But who? The whole world! It's very obvious that if you listen to his language, if you listen to his body language, and if you paid attention to what he was saying, he wasn't always just talking to us. He was talking to the whole planet. Addressing the whole planet!

He started off his speech talking about how America should be the country that dominates the world. That we have been blessed essentially by God to have the most civilized, most advanced, best system and that it is our duty as Americans to use the military to go out into the world and make the whole world like us.

0759.

Sounds a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler use to say.

We're the only ones who are right. Everyone else is backwards. And it's our job to conquer the world and make sure they live just like we want them to.

Now, I'm not saying that Bush and Hitler are exactly the same. Obviously, they are not. Ok. But there are some eerie similarities to the tones that they use. Very, very "ethnocentric." We're right. You're all wrong.

I just keep waiting. You know, at some point I think America and Mexico might go to war again. You know. Anytime Mexico plays the USA in a soccer match. What can be heard chanting all game long?

0841

Do all Mexicans dislike the United States? No. Do all Americans dislike Mexico? No. But there's a lot of resentment--not just in Mexico, but across the whole world--towards America right now.

We told--Condoleezza Rice said--that now that Hamas got elected to lead the Palestianians that they have to renounce their desire to eliminate Israel. And then Condoleezza Rice also went on to say that you can't be for peace and support armed struggle at the same time. You can't do that. Either you're for peace or war. But you can't be for both.

What is the problem with her saying this? That's the same thing we say. That is exactly the same thing this current administration says. We're gonna make the world safe by invading and killing and making war. So, if we can be for peace and for war, well, why can't the Palestinians be for peace and for war?!

0950.

*Student Sean Allen, who is taping Bennish's rant, speaks up:*

Allen: Isn't there a difference of, of, having Hamas being like, we wanna attack Israelis because they're Israelis, and having us say we want to attack people who are known terrorists? Isn't there a difference between saying we're going to attack innocents and we're going to attack people who are not innocent?

1007

Bennish: I think that's a good point. But you have to remember who's doing the defining of a terrorist. And what is a terrorist?

Allen: Well, when people attack us on our own soil and are actually attempting to take American lives and want to take American lives, whereas, Israelies in this situation, aren't saying we want to blow up Palestine...
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Old 03-02-06, 02:25 PM
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Thanks to the student for taping this.

AURORA - A 16-year-old boy at Overland High School doesn't want to hear what he calls his teacher's left-wing political rants.
Wait till he gets to college. Some of his profs will make this teacher look like Barry Goldwater in comparison.

Last edited by bhk; 03-02-06 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:29 PM
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who transcribed this?

"Unidentified brainwashed student"
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Old 03-02-06, 02:31 PM
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You can listen to it here:

http://850koa.com/pages/shows_rosen....article=407088

I am curious what chapter from the Geography text book this is from? Nothing like indoctrinating young minds on Leftist thought in between discussions on volcanoes, soil and the climate.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:32 PM
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my teachers often talked about stuff outside their particular subjects. Those were often the times I learned the most.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Venusian
my teachers often talked about stuff outside their particular subjects. Those were often the times I learned the most.
I used to hear the same thing. However, nothing compare to this magnitude.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:34 PM
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Would this have been posted if it were a right-wing rant?
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Old 03-02-06, 02:36 PM
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Meh, I'd rather more of my teachers went off on political rants than showed us crappy filmstrips and/or 16mm films.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Would this have been posted if it were a right-wing rant?
Probably...out of sheer surprise that it actually happened.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:37 PM
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Would this have been posted if it were a right-wing rant?
Absolutely. I would have posted it because it would have been so rare to find a right wing teacher in public schools.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:37 PM
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One thing is for certain - it wouldn't have been posted by the member who started this thread.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Myster X
...Allen's father claims the comments made in the recording are biased and inappropriate for a geography class....
That's for sure. Strong written reprimand and suspension without pay for 2 weeks would be good, I think.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
One thing is for certain - it wouldn't have been posted by the member who started this thread.
I would post it. Honestly.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:44 PM
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The only thing that really bothers me is that this is a high school - if college it probably wouldn't be an issue. I also don't see anything wrong with the teacher discussing other topics outside of the course description, and I think it was wrong to remove him from the class. These types of conversations tend to get students more involved in the class, and make it more interesting.

For those who are upset about this - would you still be upset if the teacher's comments supported the president, capitalism, etc?

Side note... I am actually moving this summer to Aurora (currently live in FL), and my kids will be enrolled in the Cherry Creek district. Now if this moran starts teaching middle school, I might have an issue....
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Old 03-02-06, 02:45 PM
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What the article doesn't say is that 99% of the students completely forgot everything that Mr. Bennish had told them and continued their day of worrying about how they are going to get to A&F before they close and if the Black Eyed Peas were going to be number one on TRL.
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Old 03-02-06, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bhk
Absolutely. I would have posted it because it would have been so rare to find a right wing teacher in public schools.
really? I have a lot of friends that are teachers and they are all "right wing".
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Old 03-02-06, 03:12 PM
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The kid is on Hannity right now. Hannity is "very proud" of him. *sniff* Brings a tear to my eye.

I've listed to the tape, and the teacher was way out of line. If his comments had been conserative, he would have been out of line. This wasn't a discussion geared towards getting kids to think about current events, it was a rant.
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Old 03-02-06, 03:20 PM
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Looking back, I can think of maybe 1/2 a dozen HS teachers who were 'right wing', and one or two of those would probably be more libertarian. Of course, one of them showed us "Roger and Me", so I might have second thoughts on him.

If he supported the President and phrased his speech as negatively [against something] as this one did, yes, I would. While I might agree with him in that case, this isn't the proper venue for it. Depending on what he said, I can see some relevance between economics and geography; how geography affects a nation's products and industry, things like that. But as quoted above, 99% of it was irrelevant, over-the-top, biased propaganda.

"I took these straight out of the dictionary." Hmm, when you're reading straight out of the dictionary, and reiterating what can be found in any left-wing blog or MSM news program, why have a teacher?
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Old 03-02-06, 03:24 PM
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I can't remember whether my highschool teachers were left-wing or right-wing.

All I remember is having to walk 8 miles through snowdrfts to get to school.

I wasn't permitted to use the horse & buggy, except on special occasions.
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Old 03-02-06, 03:28 PM
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Does anyone else remember duck & cover?
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Old 03-02-06, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandoman
The kid is on Hannity right now. Hannity is "very proud" of him. *sniff* Brings a tear to my eye.

If it wasn't for people like Mr.Bennish Hannity wouldn't have a show.
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Old 03-02-06, 03:34 PM
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My teachers stuck to the course syllabus and I couldn't tell whether they were conservative or liberal.

Those snow drifts were a bitch, though.
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Old 03-02-06, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Does anyone else remember duck & cover?
Yes. The NPF (nuclear protection factor, comparable to a sunscreen's SPF) is 1.00000000000000000001 for duck and cover.
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Old 03-02-06, 03:37 PM
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Oh noes! My poor innocent child got exposed to ideas!!!!!! Somebody call the Right Wing PC Police!!!

I had a teacher in eighth grade (Mr. Smith) who insisted the world was flat. Even though we disagreed with him, we didn't tape him and run off to tattle to Sean Hannity. Instead we debated him and argued why he was wrong. Mr. Smith was trying to get us to think, and it didn't matter that he was a history teacher, not a geology teacher.

Speaking of which, Geofferson, volcanoes, soil and climate are all geology, not geography. Geopolitical issues like our involvement in Colombia are, on the other hand, one of the major topics of study in geography (unless you want students to spend the entire semster coloring maps).
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Old 03-02-06, 03:39 PM
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Oh noes! My poor innocent child got exposed to ideas!!!!!! Somebody call the Right Wing PC Police!!!
Quick, someone call a Waahmbulance.
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