Tuesday, October 05, 2004


As I read this article, at first I was horrified at the thought of a teacher being fired for putting up a picture of a sitting president. That shouldn't cause her to lose her job, no matter how scummy the sitting president is.

But then I read the rest: Recently, the school administration began receiving complaints from students and parents that Ms. Pillai-Diaz was using her position, classroom and teaching time to engage in partisan politics. Students reported that she had made statements which denigrated one party over the other. The conversations included Ms. Pillai-Diaz telling some students who offered opinions contrary to her statements, that she was "glad they were not old enough to vote." Other comments to students, including such statements as, "you should be ashamed to be a Democrat" have been verified through student interviews.

In other words, she wasn't just putting up a picture of a scumbag president, she was harrassing students who showed a different opinion than her own and using her position of authority to intimidate students she should be encouraging to explore different opinions.

But that's not all... On Friday morning, October 1, Ms. Pillai-Diaz was directed by the Assistant Principal to remove bulletin board materials because they were being viewed as contributing to an ongoing disruption of the teaching-learning environment. She refused. She then met with the Principal who repeated the directive. At this point, Ms. Pillai-Diaz abruptly left the building, abandoning her post of duty and her classroom responsibilities. In other words, she was NOT fired. She walked out when she was told to remove materials that were assisting her in harrassing her students' political opinions.

At no time was she told to leave, asked to leave or given authorization to leave. School was still in session. At no time was she told she was suspended or fired. With professional responsibilities of a classroom teacher waiting, Ms. Pillai-Diaz chose, of her own volition, to walk out of the school, contact various media sources and claim she had been fired.

Another Rethuglican, claiming that she's been fired when she wasn't... claiming persecution when she was abusing her position. Is it any wonder that people are sick and tired of Bush Republicans when this woman is the type of model citizen they adore?