Illustrating Absurdity

6 03 2010
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin

Absurdity is the watchword for this week, on the local and national level.

Teacher suspensions seem to be the knee-jerk reaction to gray-area issues that, under different circumstances, could be interpreted in a number of ways.

Three white L.A. teachers at a South Los Angeles elementary school were suspended because they handed out pictures of O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul to students participating in a Black History Month parade.  Administrators admit that these black celebrities were on an “approved” list.  But with the racial incidents at UC San Diego, any non-minority administrator is now walking on eggshells.  Not to mention certain “community leaders” don’t feel suspensions are good enough for these teachers, and are demanding they be dismissed.

The ethnicity (or lack thereof) of the teachers is important here–had these been three black teachers would we be getting this overblown reaction?  I doubt it.  Not to mention that before their highly public falls from grace, O.J. Simpson and Dennis Rodman were heroes to the black community, and despite their own personal egregiousness, are still considered premier athletes.  And Ru Paul?  I would think he/she would be a perfect delivery system for teaching children tolerance and acceptance–but I digress…

Mayor Smilin’ Tony weighed in on the whole brouhaha, saying he is “shocked” and “outraged”.  Look at my title–I rest my case.  L.A. teachers suspended over Black History Month celebration.

Meanwhile, in the heartland of Guthrie Center, Iowa, a teacher has been placed on administrative leave because he refused to allow a student to build a Wiccan altar in shop class.  The instructor believed allowing him to build the altar would constitute a violation of separation of church and state laws, but civil liberties groups say he violated the student’s right to free speech.  The instructor has said he also did not allow a Christian student to create a cross in the same shop class.  I wonder, if the student had been a Christian who wanted to design a religious symbol cogent to his faith, would those same civil liberties groups be slathering to make an example of this instructor?  Now that the lawyers are involved, all bets are off that this 20-year classroom veteran will be able to return to work anytime soon, if at all.  Wiccan altar puts teacher, officials at odds.

And I can’t say this really falls under absurdity–but since I don’t do any posts illustrating tragedy, this spot will have to do.  Woman suspected of putting baby in trash ‘didn’t know she was pregnant’.

I am thankful for two things: 1) that I am not an elementary or high school teacher; and 2) that I know the difference between bad PMS and actual pregnancy and labor.  Apparently all those sex education classes failed this girl.

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