Teaching is a tremendous responsibility. How a child is treated in school forms much of their personality for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately a teacher in North Carolina showed the children in her class that it's acceptable to abuse someone over their beliefs.
Diantha Harris of Fayetteville teaches fifth grade at Mary McArthur A+ Elementary School in Cumberland County near Fort Bragg, an Army base. Many of the students that go to the school have parents in the military.
A Swedish-language Finnish documentary included a visit to Harris' classroom. In the video, Harris takes it upon her self to victimize, belittle, and embarrass a white female student who states that she and her parents support McCain, while black children are praised when they say they support Obama. If nothing else that has happened thanks to Obama has outraged you, this should.
Harris is seen asking her class whom they support in the upcoming presidential election. One student says, "Obama." Harris encourages her class to speak up. "And if you are pulling for John McCain, that's fine, say him as well," she says. [Note her tone when she says this.]
One lone John Mcain supporter speaks up, a young girl. Harris's reply is "Oh lord, John McCain," Harris says on the film. "Oh Jesus." [As if this poor little girl has lost her way.] She then asks the young girl why she is pulling for John McCain. The girl says because her parents are voting for him. She asks one male black student why he is supporting Obama. He shrugs his shoulders and replies that he wants a black president.
Another student tells Harris she is supporting Obama because he'll make good changes to the country. "Now can you tell me just a little bit more, like what type of changes?," she asks the student. The student says "like not having a fight between Iraq and having soldiers killed." Harris nods her head in approval. "So in other words Barack is going to end that war in Iraq," she says. She then asks the class what they know about the war.
She picks out the little girl who previous said McCain to speak up because her father was in the military. Harris addresses the young girl, "Now talk to me, because your dad's in the military!" The young girl looks down and bites her lip. Harris then yells, "Talk!" to the girl. The girl remains quiet. "Its a senseless war," Harris says on the film while staring directly at Kathy. "And by the way Kathy, the person you are picking for president said that our troops will stay in Iraq for another hundred years if they need to." At this point Kathy's eyes begin to well up and the other children laugh. "So that means your daddy is going to be in the military for another hundred years," she tells the child.
HARRIS' TAKE ON THE INCIDENT
Harris, in an interview today with the Asheville Citizen-Times, said that's not true. Harris said that she wasn't advocating for one candidate over the other and that the footage of her lesson is heavily edited. [Note: The entire video can be seen HERE. The specific that needs to be watched is from 13:30 ~ 22:00. The YouTube video is from about 19:00. Judge for yourself.]
She said her comments of "Oh lord" and "Oh Jesus" were her way of engaging her students to spur discussion. [I thought any religious statements were not allowed in school by federal law?]
"I wasn't necessarily pulling for one person or the other," she said in a telephone interview from her home in Fayetteville. "If I was pulling for just one person then I would have never said the other person's name."
She said her comment to the child whose father was in the military was not meant to change the child's mind about supporting McCain. [Bullshit....]
At the end of the segment, Harris can be seen in her home wearing a Obama button. She was also filmed at a May "informance" at the school, which is a cross between a performance and an information presentation, wearing an Obama button while talking to kids about voting.
BTW, Harris and her now ex-husband, who was a former member of the Asheville City Schools Board of Education, were visited by George H.W. Bush in 1992. Here's the scoop.
NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT
On the McCainSpace website, a comment was left by ro4jands stating. "Happened here in PA at my daughter's school. She called Palin stupid and anyone who supported her was stupid."
And another comment, this time from K_D: "I heard a parent call in on a radio program this morning telling of a similar story concerning her daughter and a teacher."
Gee, must take a real person, a professional teacher, to bully young students.
THE INFO YOU NEED
This woman should be FIRED and her license taken away. What Christian woman belittles a little girl and lies to a little girl for stating her beliefs? Obviously this teacher is NOT a Christian woman for such an act. I applaud the girl for being so brave when her beliefs are obviously not the majority. And if there was a way for me to contact her parents I would tell the little girl I applaud her for stating what she believes. Do not EVER let anyone tell you how to think, that is your right and your freedom. And that I am sorry that she had to experience something like that from such a horrible person. And never EVER lower your head because your father is in the military. EVER. Your father is something to be proud of. This teacher is something to be ashamed of and someone to feel sorry for based on her actions.
If Harris is not at least suspended until a hearing, I would file for a restraining order against this woman if I were the parents of this little girl. First she belittles a girl, it does not matter what the topic is. Second, she brought religion into the classroom. I wonder how Harris' children feel knowing that their mother is a teacher who is abusing her position by belittling and embarrassing a young fifth grade girl for being brave enough to speak what she feels.
And I will be calling the school tomorrow to let the administration know that if that were my child, then Harris and the School Board would be getting a call from my attorney and the ACLU. I have NO TOLERANCE for the young and innocent being picked on when they had done nothing wrong but answered a question, forced to answer a question, by a horrible monster of a teacher.
Diantha Harris teaches 5th Grade at Mary McArthur A+ Elementary School, 3809 Village Drive, Fayetteville, NC, 28304.
Harris's contact page at the school is: http://www.mmes.ccs.k12.nc.us/email/dithaharris.htm Chances are though, based on the email address below, you can reach Harris at DianthaH@ccs.k12.nc.us or DianthaH@mmes.ccs.k12.nc.us
The principal is Lola Williams: LolaW@ccs.k12.nc.us
Cumberland Schools Superintendent is William C. Harrison (910-678-2300)
Board of Elections in Fayetteville, NC is 910.678.7733 and the Director is Terri Robertson. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Board of Elections Supervisors are:
- Citizen-Times, Asheville, NC