No Teacher Unions- Does that complicate things?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by SF_Giants66, May 31, 2013.

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  1. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I have an idea; send out an email to friends, family members or others of your choice. Ask them to tell you who their favorite teacher was in school and what qualities made that teacher so special. Then let us know how many answer back and say "Mrs. Smith or Mr. Jones was a great teacher because (s)he really enjoyed arguing. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that very few will list that as one of the redeeming qualities of their favorite teacher - or even a "great" teacher.

    The problem is you don't seem to understand the difference between a debate and an argument. The debate does focus on presenting data, research and objective counter-examples to the points presented by the other side. An argument can also include rational discussion, but more often is based on emotional statements and tend to attack or demonize opposing points rather than simply providing counter-points.

    You also do insist on voicing your views in an intentionally abrasive manner rather than just presenting them on their on merits. You insist on rational discussion, yet your own posts contain far more emotion than rational points.

    You complain about others being offended by your views, yet you express similar offense at anyone who disagrees with your views.

    Your license tag is a case in point. It's an obvious twist on the phrase "In God We Trust", yet when someone pointed that out, your response is "The only people that would possibly be offended by that are those who don't believe in placing trust in reason", which is nothing more than a backhanded insult towards Christians, because atheist often classify those with faith as being incapable of (or frightened by) reason. It isn't true, but it makes it easier to diminish their position in your mind.

    I've heard the same backhand insult from those who insist on calling themselves "Freethinkers", as opposed to people of belief because non-believers insist believers don't "thinks for themselves". Nothing is farther from the truth, but again, it's just another way for one group to marginalize the views of a different group rather than actually being respectful of the opposing view.

    BTW, respecting an opposing view doesn't mean agreeing with the opposing view.

    When told that most schools strongly recommend teachers be "neutral" on campus, including with their car, you immediately take offense and say "The first time I see someone wearing a T-necklace, I'll be insisting they can't do that either." But actually, you're not even willing to wait for some imagined slight to your own views, you state you would "have to say something" if you saw another teacher have a cross in their room.

    So you don't just wait for someone to offend you, you go looking for reasons to be offended. As others have said, that type of attitude will only make your teaching job more difficult, stressful and contentious than necessary, with the parents as well as your admin. And parents won't just complain to the P. They'll go to the School Board to complain. If enough of them do that, then your P may end up having no say in the matter. Frankly, even if you joined a union, you might find the union less than willing to give a vigorous defense to a member that seems to look for reasons to cause contention in the school.
     
  2. JustMe

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    You still have four semesters remaining in college, yes? I think maybe as you get deeper into your teacher program you'll come to learn more about your area and school systems. That may, if you allow it, help you adjust your tone and attitude towards matters such as the ones discussed in this thread.

    Since you still have a couple years remaining, how much opportunity have you had within the classroom? I know some colleges begin observations and experience hours sooner than others. If you've been in several classrooms, do you feel you could "fit" in those schools?
     
  3. SF_Giants66

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    I only had two observation assignments almost 2 years ago. Every other experience I had within schools were experiences I went out and volunteered for myself. It was mainly because I had to get a disposition of someone who observed my service with children. Most of the girls in my class already had this through babysitting, but nobody hires male babysitters because the sexism against male child care workers. I got it through tutoring and mentoring and still did it even after I got the form filled out because I enjoyed doing it.

    This semester at my college one of our classes that all the primary education majors take have a portion of observation of early childhood, elementary, and middle school. I'm a middle school major but still will be observing all three.

    I actually fit well with the school I volunteered at and will be planning on applying if they have any openings.

    The urban schools near downtown seemed to be fairly mellowed out, but one lady in my group had to pull her children from a school about 40 minutes outside of downtown because a few of the teachers were teaching kids about the bible in class and even asking bible questions on homework and did a nativity scene lecture during Christmas. She had talked to the principal a few times and nothing resolved and the school chose to turn its back on that kind of thing given the students were about 97% Christian and didn't care about the ones that weren't. Hence my dislike for American Christians.

    My observations will be for the next few semesters they call field experiences, then the final semester the clinical practice.
     
  4. SF_Giants66

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    If people are offended for justified reasons that is one thing, but to be offended by a license plate that says, "In Reason We Trust" is not a justified reason to be offended. The motto of "In God We Trust" didn't even come about until the 50s, and they slapped a label on the country given as "The true American trusts in God," basically stating that all Americans do or should feel that way. The reason they came up with it was to retaliate the Soviet Union who was near forced repressed Atheism, which makes us wonder why we still carry that motto today after 9/11 when the terrorists attacked our country after god told them to do so.
     
  5. FarFromHome

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    Yes, the parents would definitely complain about this at my school.
     
  6. SF_Giants66

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    They would complain about the views they didn't like you shared in class or just any views you had they didn't like that they found out you held that you didn't share in school?
     
  7. MissCeliaB

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    As an atheist, I agree with almost all of what you say. I am as angered by pushy atheists as I am by members of any religion who use similar tactics to push their beliefs on others. However, that is not the intent of the "freethinker" label. The term has been around since the 1600's, and was used first by Christians who opposed a literal interpretation of the Bible. The Freethinker magazine has been published in England since the late 1800's. I've never heard it used as a derogatory term. Our local atheist organization (we meet to talk about science research and research in the liberal arts, discuss ways to make ourselves and society better, do community service, and form friendships and connections in a community - food and children are big parts of this) switched to using "freethinker" as some people told us they though that atheist was too limiting, and had negative connotations. Many of our members identify as agnostic, or questioning, or are religious but just really interested in our discussions. Since our group is open to anyone who likes to think, discuss, and learn, we thought "freethinkers" would be a good name. It was intended to be inclusive, not exclusive. (That's not to say that some of the members have not had negative experiences with the church. I was so lucky that I have had only positive experiences with growing up in churches and with my family and religion. But, bad mouthing religion is not a part of what we do in our group, except in those cases where a line has clearly been crossed, such as in an instance of religously-motivated terror, murder, or war.) We are a diverse group, that includes doctors, truck drivers, professors, and homeschooling moms. We are liberal, conservative, and in between. We all agree that there are problems in the world, and we are all looking for solutions outside of organized religion.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    What other posters are telling you is that if you do speak out in public in different ways such as bumper stickers, this will change the tone in your classroom. Students will ask questions that will put you in a situation where if you answer or discuss will then bring your views into the classroom. Not providing personal information such as that on the bumper stickers eliminates some of the potential to cause classroom disruption or parents thinking that you will be brining your views into the classroom and sharing them with the students. That is a problem.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

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    Our district has a very strict policy about sharing our political opinions at school, or using our planning time to participate in political activities. My students ask me, and I tell them I am not allowed to discuss it. However, they can usually figure it out, based on my curriculum (I tend toward showing films that focus on minority issues and social justice.) Although, about half just assume that because I'm a white woman, I'm a Republican. When someone in class asks where I go to church, I answer that I don't attend regularly, but I play bells at X church sometime. Many students know I am an atheist. I think it is important for them to see an atheist being a good person, because many of them have been taught differently at home and church. I would never try to convert them to my point of view, just expose them to the fact that people can be good people without religion. Many students come out to me as atheists, as well. Many invite me to church, or ask if they can pray for me. I decline the church invitations and tell them to pray away, because it certainly can't hurt anything.

    I am very careful about how I present my views, and allow others to present theirs, in my classroom. Students know that hate speech or the use of pejorative terms will not be allowed. I also know that in an upper level humanities elective, things will get deep sometimes, things will get touchy, and things will get off color occasionally. I spend a lot of time building a climate in my classroom that allows for that kind of open discussion. During those discussions, I serve as moderator, and facts checker if needed. I do not participate beyond that.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Cerek, :clap:
     
  11. SF_Giants66

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    Actually, I do agree that the main focus of school should be to focus on the subject matter and curriculum and not political beliefs. I was meaning more along the lines of even at my mentoring groups when I hear vulgar remarks against gay people, I correct them if something they say is inaccurate, and shouldn't have to deal with flak from parents saying that I'm interfering with their hateful parenting influences that being gay is wrong. This goes back to a former thread where my point was that parents don't own their children and all their beliefs. We are around their kids every day and other people besides them have just as much right to influence their beliefs within reason. We should stop acting as if we don't share our values with students, because we do.

    This doesn't mean I am going to give a lecture on gay rights as part of the course or I am gonna dedicate a class period to telling why they should prefer Obama to win the election or whoever else, but to say we can't say anything that might change their mind and choose not to accept what their parents, church, or other influences told them is pretty much child abuse. Free thought is a birth right. Parents don't own their kids thoughts or have a right to stop them from hearing and considering other view points different from their own.

    I mean, what if it is something where a teacher is a staff representative of a gay straight alliance, or after school religious discussion group? Are they not gonna ever influence kids opinions?
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It sounds like you will definitely spread your views subversively instead of actively giving lectures in class. You also seem to believe that YOU have more of a right to sway children's beliefs as a part of your profession than parents have the right to instill their beliefs to their children as a matter of the fact that they are their children. You don't have this right, but for some reason you seem to think you do.

    Doing this subversively is more disturbing to me.


    No one has a right to make vulgar remarks about anyone for any reason. However, I don't get the feeling that that is the only thing you will "correct".
    If you want to correct a FACT, you have every right to. However, I expect from reading your posts that you will have many opinions placed under your FACT column.
     
  13. SF_Giants66

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    I actually didn't say we have more right than parents do, but you're saying teachers have no right to instill anything whatsoever into their students.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

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    I know of a principal who, in his first year at a certain high school, declined to sack or discipline a duly elected student body president who proposed changing the student government from "Senate" and "House" to something he called the "Forum". (The change was primarily in name; the functions would have been pretty much the same.) A small group of parents, incensed at the principal's refusal to take action against the boy, complained repeatedly in the press and to the school board and generally made the principal's life (and the school's) a horror. I don't know whether the principal resigned voluntarily or under pressure or was canned, but he certainly was gone the next year.

    You'd do well to research teachers' rights in the area in which you mean to teach - and the districts' track records in respecting those rights, which is a different matter.
     
  15. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Did you really want an answer to your original question? Or did you just want us to tell you to go ahead and do what you want?
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    When it comes to particular topics, NO you don't.
     
  17. Cerek

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    MissCelia - I understand the term "freethinker" should be more inclusive and is used that way in some cases (such as with your group). However, I am speaking from personal experience on other forums when I say the interpretation I gave IS how many atheists/non-believers online use the term. I even asked what "Freethinker" meant, since I saw it used so often on a religious forum I belonged to several years ago. The term was always used in direct contrast to "believers" or "Christians", as if the two terms were diametrically opposed. When I asked one exactly what the term "freethinker" meant, the responses I got all basically said "It means WE think for ourselves instead of letting some old man in the pulpit or a book of fairy tales tell us what to think." This basic message was repeated by several members. So, in the context of religious discussions online, it seems many people DO use it in that manner. SF_Giants seems to do the same thing. Even though he says he wants them to consider all possibilities, his other posts make it pretty clear what he really means is "I want them to start thinking Christianity and religious beliefs are wrong."

    SF-Giants66 - It is not child abuse for parents to instill (or at least try to instill) their values in their children. In fact, that is one of the main jobs of a parent. The fact you label a parent's right (and yes, it IS a right of the parent) to instill beliefs or values you disagree with as "child abuse" just shows how much you still have to learn. It also shows that you are just as closed-minded about different beliefs and values as you criticize others for being. The sad thing is you don't seem able to see that.

    Referring to your previous thread, as one poster said, educators do NOT have the right to try and replace or override the beliefs instilled in a child by the parents. You claim you want to encourage freethinking, but it's obvious you just want to challenge and argue any beliefs kids (or their parents) have that you disagree with. As a2z said, you're goal seems to be projecting your beliefs in a subversive way (with the stickers and sayings on your car) so the topic will come up and "present" you with a chance to "discuss" (ie, argue) those beliefs.

    Having all of those stickers and sayings on your car WILL bring the topic into the school and, inevitably, into the classroom. Which, I believe, is what you secretly want. Then you can discuss/argue (impose) YOUR views while claiming "innocently" proclaiming it was the kids who brought the subject up and all you did was "encourage a discussion".

    Teachers can - and do - teach children to think critically about ALL the information they see and hear and consider all the information for themselves. And we do it without trying to challenge or attack (in your case) the beliefs instilled by their parents.

    For example, early in my subbing career, I was covering a high school U.S. History class. The class had been studying the various types of messages used in ads, especially political ads. Hyperbole, parody, and other specific message tactics were discussed. The class had been divided into groups and each group was supposed to draw a short, political comic strip about one of the current political figures using one (or more) of the various techniques discussed. This was in 2007. Every group, except one, chose Obama as the central figure of their comic strip, and each of those strips opposed Obama. I found that very interesting because I had expected at least one group (or more) to write a strip supporting Obama (or opposing McCain).

    After the presentations were done, I asked the groups about their choices and why all of them opposed Obama. What were the reasons they didn't like Obama or think he would be a good President. They gave different reasons, but one in particular got my attention. One of the brightest students in the class asked me in a very serious tone, "Haven't you seen the video on YouTube of the nurse and doctor leaving the baby on a cold metal table to die as they walk out of the room and turn off the light? Obama supports abortion and killing babies."

    Now, I personally also happen to feel that abortion is the same as killing babies (but that's a completely different discussion for another time), but instead of applauding his answer, I replied "You DO realize that video is another example of hyperbole and that doctors and nurses who perform abortions don't really just leave a baby laying on the table and walk out of the room, don't you?"

    This did lead to a brief discussion (in the time allowed) of abortion in general and Obama's stance in particular. I never told the student his views were right or wrong, I just asked if he realized the information he based that opinion on was not accurate.

    So it IS possible to lead students in a discussion to question all sides of an issue without attacking or criticizing any side. Unfortunately, the tone of your posts give me no reason to believe you would be able to conduct such an objective discussion in your classroom, because you would be looking for an opportunity to inject your own beliefs.

    I also agree a2z comment that you would only "correct" opinions or views you disagree with. As I said before, I feel you still have a lot to learn about what you should and shouldn't do on campus and in your classroom.
     
  18. MissCeliaB

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    I get the thing about stickers on cars. I personally have the stereotypical Coexist sticker on my hybrid. A friend gave it to me as a joke she I bought the hybrid, but I agree with the message so I put it on my car. I would never put an antagonistic sticker or slogan on my car, cause that's just not what I'm about. I did not put political stickers on my car to obey the spirit of our district policy about politics. I have, however, done things like wearing purple certain days to support guy rights, or whatever. Kids rarely ask, but if they do, I just say that I believe in supporting all my students with whatever they have going on.

    SF, I hope that one day you find a kind of peace that allows you to consider others' opinions to be worthy of consideration. I know that can take time, and an amount that of maturity. To others, please consider that many atheists consider those like SF the same way a Christian might consider a member of the Westboro church: misguided, not representative of the larger group, but entitled to his opinions. SF, consider if you had kids and they had a teacher who taught that Biblical creation was true, or that being guy was a sin. You wouldn't like it, and you would feel they were stepping on your role as a parent. Just consider that when choosing your words and actions in your classroom.
     
  19. Cerek

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    MissCelia - I just want to personally thank you for supporting guy rights. Being born a guy is not a sin, but a lot of women seem to think it is and we need all the help we can get. ;)

    Sorry, just couldn't resist that. :lol:
     
  20. JustMe

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    :lol:
     
  21. MissCeliaB

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    Stupid autocorrect on my phone. Grrrr.
     
  22. monsieurteacher

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    As a fellow guy, I appreciate it as well... though I had no idea purple was our colour :lol:
     
  23. redtop

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    I'm remembering a time that one of my teachers organized a candlelight vigil in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, to protest the Ford administration's request for $523 million in funding to prop up the still-existing-but-crumbling South Vietnamese government.

    Of course, this was a university professor and Jesuit priest teaching a course called "The Non-Violent Revolution of Peace."

    http://www.johndear.org/articles/death.html
     
  24. Cerek

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    Speaking at functions or to organizations outside of school time and off school grounds should be OK. Then again, posting comments on Facebook "should be OK" too, but we've heard plenty of stories of teachers being disciplined and even fired over such things.

    The best advice is to know and understand the community in which you teach and the prevailing values of the area. If they differ from your own, chances are your best bet is to be low-key about voicing your opinion.

    No, it shouldn't be that way, but it is what it is. If you insist on railing against the machine or taking on the system, just be prepared for the system or machine to win.

    I also like to discuss (and even argue) "hot topic" issues myself (Yeah, hard to believe, I know :rolleyes: ). But even though I work in my hometown where most people know me (or my family) and I have established a well-respected character reputation, I find myself biting my tongue (or biting my hand) when I read the Letters to the Editor in our local paper. Almost every week, there are letters I would LOVE to write a response to, but the paper is very widely read in our community and, no matter how diplomatically I might phrase something, there are gonna be some people (including school staff members and parents) who don't agree with what I say. So I read the letters and sometimes "write" a response in my head, but do NOT actually put my response in print and submit it to the paper.

    Do I have a right to do that? Absolutely. Would I like to submit letters on a regular basis? You better believe it, but right now, I still don't have a full-time teaching job and I really want to get one in this district if possible.

    Would writing a letter to the editor cost me a chance at a job just because someone on the committee didn't agree with my comments? More than likely, it would not, BUT even a small chance is too much of a chance to take. So I keep my comments and my opinions to myself and only share them with a few friends or family members.
     
  25. SF_Giants66

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    I think a lot of you are seeming to think about my intentions being different than what I actually stated. I think a lot of you are thinking I'm saying I'm gonna give a lecture in class about the flaws of religion or conservative politics and I didn't say that. I don't really care about whether or not a student believes in god, Jesus, Allah, Zues, Hermes, or whoever. However, if a student is ripping on gay people I have every right to say that their orientation makes them no better of a person and there is nothing wrong with two people of the same gender being together. As far as whether or not their beliefs come from religious influences, I really don't care, if their parents want to give them that abusive framing of their beliefs I'm not going to sit back and respect it though.
     
  26. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    My district has prayers at games and professional days. Please don't apply here when you graduate or any district my nephews attend. Many thanks.
     
  27. SF_Giants66

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    They also can't back up their Biblical creation with scientific evidence so it has no place in public schools. I can back up the fact that the Christian beliefs against gay people are wrong with evidence if I had to. Not saying that I would go off on a tangent about it.

    This kind brings us to history of when teachers were teaching being left handed was considered you're a spawn of the devil or that being black meant you were of less importance when now we know that left handed is a recessive gene and skin color evolves through UV radiation and we actually teach this in schools without any conflict yet if we were to teach that homosexuality has been confirmed not to be a mental disorder and the APA has determined in cannot be changed everyone is gonna go all bad ass and say their religion is being interfered with. Somehow hateful beliefs seem more loving just because they are religious.

    The point is, although I wouldn't go off and teach about this stuff, but if someone were to start saying being gay is a choice in the middle of class, you bet I would correct that and tell them to do more research.
     
  28. SF_Giants66

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    No, but now if I find out what school you're talking about, I'll be sure to report it.

    Thanks for the tip.
     
  29. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    You're quite welcome. You'll be a very busy person if you report all the districts in Texas. Best of luck to you.

    Edited: most of the districts
    I'm sure there are a few weird districts in the state. It is rather large after all.
     
  30. SF_Giants66

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    So you don't have any problem that you're actually in violation of separation of church and state by forcing kids to take part in an organized prayer?
     
  31. Mr.history

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    I attended 3 high school graduations and one baccalaureate speech a week ago. In all of the graduations multiple speeches contained bible verses quoted by students and faculty. The baccalaureate was held in a church.

    I'm not the most religious person in the world but I can understand why its important for those who are. I think you might be out of touch with the way school politics really work. If you set out to be abrasive/disruptive you won't last very long. I don't even disagree with your message but you will not be able to fight this from within your school and your principle probably wont back you if you try. No one is saying you cannot tell a student to quit saying gay slurs, we are saying you cannot campaign within the school as a teacher. You cannot disregard a students moral/religious beliefs even if you disagree with them. I hope you plan to teach math and not history. :)
     
  32. SF_Giants66

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    I'm teaching math or science, so the likelihood for this is very rare, but I don't condone religious child abuse no matter what subject I teach for.
     
  33. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    And there it is. That is why everyone is telling you to be careful. If you bring that nonsense into the classroom, you won't last long.
     
  34. SF_Giants66

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    It's funny that you guys can let her get away with mocking a school district if they don't have forced prayer but yet you trash me for calling her out on it.
     
  35. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 2, 2013

    Characterizing the teaching of religious beliefs as "inflicting abuse on children" is not an "honest truth", it is an opinion, and a deliberately abrasive one at that. Which is the point others are trying to make - your discussions on these issues here show that - so far - you lack the mental maturity to distinguish the difference between the two.

    You stated yourself that you "hate American Christians" (based on one incident, according to your previous post). You claim your comments are examples of "rational discussion", but it's very obvious you look for reasons and opportunities to attack Christian beliefs whenever possible. The good thing is you have the Constitutional right to be abrasive, insulting and condescending in your comments. However, schools have the same right to decide you are not a good fit for their school based on your constant abrasiveness.

    So you might win the battle, but until you are able to truly discuss these issues in a calm, rational manner without resorting to insults and attacks, you will find yourself losing the war of gaining or keeping employment in most school systems.
     
  36. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Call CPS on every student you have in such an abusive environment since you feel so strongly that raising children to have certain beliefs is abusive. As a teacher, you are a mandated reporter if you feel a child is being abused.

    Again, best of luck to you. You're going to be a very busy person.
     
  37. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    Okay, well first of all, what started this was a comment you made that was completely un-provoked in which you attacked school districts for being law abiding by not forcing prayer upon students. So that kind of doesn't really make me think suspecting abuse is wrong when you actually are promoting abuse.
     
  38. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Post #65. You attacked my religion. You plainly stated that religious beliefs taught to children are abusive.

    Another edit: I've never heard any support of attacking gay people in my church, regardless of where I have lived. A preacher of mine had a gay son. He never mentioned this is a sermon, but he never mentioned his daughter was straight either. He did mention them as his children and it was very obvious he loved them both and was very proud of them.

    I should have let my "all" statement stand as every district I have taught in or attended an event as a visitor has had these things. Evidently, weird is an attack. My apologies for word choice.

    I'm done with this thread. It has given me a good laugh though. Thanks for that.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  39. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    Jun 2, 2013

    In post #65 I stated I wouldn't sit back and respect abusive framing mindset. Prior to that I said I don't care what god or gods they believe in. The only way you'd be offended by that is if you are in a religion that teaches children to hate gay people as that is all I was attacking.
     
  40. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jun 2, 2013

    You would "step in and say something" if you saw a teacher placing a cross in their room, but you feel the stickers and messages on your car should not be an issue because you have a right to have those on your car? Why is it acceptable for you to publicly display your beliefs on campus, but it not acceptable for others to pulbicly display theirs?

    What if the teacher were displaying a Star of David, Yin Yang symbol or Zen circle? Would you "step in and say something" about those religious symbols as well?
     
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