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|Zach|
10-18-2004, 11:36 PM
http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/middlesex/index.ssf?/base/news-4/109704322254290.xml

eacher and school still at odds over photo
She is negotiating over return to class
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
BY PATRICK JENKINS
Star-Ledger Staff

The South Brunswick middle school teacher who claims she was fired for hanging a picture of President Bush and the first lady on a bulletin board doesn't know whether she'll return to her classroom.

Shiba Pillai-Diaz said her lawyer negotiated with district officials, but they had not reached a resolution by late yesterday afternoon.

"We're trying to resolve it in a way that is satisfactory to everyone, that helps the students and allows me to comfortably go back to the classroom," said Pillai-Diaz, whose classes have been taught by substitute teachers.

Her attorney, Brian Curley of Morristown, met with School Superintendent Gary McCartney and school board attorney David Caroll throughout the day yesterday.

Neither lawyer was available for comment. McCartney could not be reached for comment.

The flap has brought national media attention to Crossroads Middle School south campus, where Pillai-Diaz started teaching language arts to seventh- and eighth-graders in September.

Pillai-Diaz said she put a photo of the president and first lady on her bulletin board to honor America and the office of president.

But parents and students complained about the photo and claimed that Pillai-Diaz was engaging in partisan discussions, using her classroom time to support Republicans and denigrate Democrats and insulting students who voiced different opinions, according to a statement from McCartney.

"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,'" McCartney said in the statement. "Other comments to students, including such statements as 'you should be ashamed to be a Democrat' have been verified through student interviews."

After a confrontation at a back- to-school night on Thursday, school officials told her the next day to take the photo of the president down.

Pillai-Diaz refused, and she left the school after thinking she was fired. School officials said they did not fire her, and that she left without authorization.

Pillai-Diaz said that statement, distributed throughout the school system as well as to the media, falsely portrayed her as a political zealot and made her fear she could not comfortably re-enter her classroom.

"That press release is the big issue now," she said. "They say they have supporting evidence, but I was never made aware of any complaints or allegations, and I never said any of that in school," Pillai-Diaz said.

"They paint me as someone who had political discussions in class and I vehemently deny that. I categorically deny that, especially the quote about being ashamed to be a Democrat. I don't think in those terms, and I would never use it," she said.

She said she fought against taking down the picture because she put it up to honor America and the office of the president.

"I would have been equally outraged if it was in the 1990s and they told me to take down Bill Clinton's picture," said Pillai-Diaz, who worked as a volunteer at the Republican National Convention in August.

McCartney, in his statement, said it was Pillai-Diaz's political proselytizing in class, not the picture on the bulletin board, that school officials found offensive.

He noted Bush's picture is widely displayed in schools throughout the district.

Patrick Jenkins works in the Middlesex County bureau of The Star- Ledger. He can be reached at (732)404-8090 or pjenkins@starle der.com.


I fail to see the problem with putting up a small picture of the President Of United States. He is the President Of The United Sates. I think anyone in the position should be respected.

Taco John
10-18-2004, 11:53 PM
That's pretty stupid...

2bikemike
10-19-2004, 12:07 AM
My daughter has a teacher like that except he's very Anti Bush. Apparantly a well informed student who is probably a member of some young republican group has repeatedly made this teacher look pretty foolish and ignorant.

Bearcat2005
10-19-2004, 01:04 AM
Well since we are going to "crack down" on middle school teachers we should do it to these ultra left socialist liberal teachers, there not democrat they are extremely liberal! Colleges everywhere are dealing with this and if it continues universities across this great land should and will lose tax exempt status and federal and state funding since they are supprting a individual. It is funny that these teachers will hind behind the first admendment, but if you have another opinion you are forced to keep quit. How ironic that they will promote such censorship.

|Zach|
10-19-2004, 01:10 AM
It is funny that these teachers will hind behind the first admendment, but if you have another opinion you are forced to keep quit. How ironic that they will promote such censorship.
Do you have personal experience with this?

Pants
10-19-2004, 01:15 AM
Well since we are going to "crack down" on middle school teachers we should do it to these ultra left socialist liberal teachers, there not democrat they are extremely liberal! Colleges everywhere are dealing with this and if it continues universities across this great land should and will lose tax exempt status and federal and state funding since they are supprting a individual. It is funny that these teachers will hind behind the first admendment, but if you have another opinion you are forced to keep quit. How ironic that they will promote such censorship.

That is a really, really uninformed ranting. Plus A LOT of generalizing.

From what I understand the school didn't want the teachers expressing their political opinions no matter which side they are on.

And to make Zach's question a bit clearer - have you gone to a university? By judging the way you write, I would have to say "no".

Oh and WTF are you talking about?

KCWolfman
10-19-2004, 01:21 AM
Do you have personal experience with this?
Zach - Northtown was going to show F9/11 as a required class for Civics until parents threw a fit last week.

it happens.

jjjayb
10-19-2004, 06:12 AM
That is a really, really uninformed ranting. Plus A LOT of generalizing.

From what I understand the school didn't want the teachers expressing their political opinions no matter which side they are on.

And to make Zach's question a bit clearer - have you gone to a university? By judging the way you write, I would have to say "no".

Oh and WTF are you talking about?


Putting up a picture of the President of the United States of America in an American classroom is "expressing a political opinion" now? Well heck, I hope there are no pictures of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson etc.. hanging on the walls of that school.

MichaelH
10-19-2004, 06:18 AM
Putting up a picture of the President of the United States of America in an American classroom is "expressing a political opinion" now? Well heck, I hope there are no pictures of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson etc.. hanging on the walls of that school.


Great point!

This is absolutely ridiculous. A teacher can't hang a picture of the current president and his wife in their classroom. What is this country coming too? :( I suppose a Bin Laden picture would be ok though.

Thig Lyfe
10-19-2004, 06:24 AM
you should be ashamed to be a Democrat

Haha!

Well, that may be a little much if that's true. But teachers voice political opinions all the time. If this teacher got in this much trouble for that, my ol' Debate coach would have been fired for his leftist rhetoric long ago.

Cochise
10-19-2004, 07:15 AM
Zach - Northtown was going to show F9/11 as a required class for Civics until parents threw a fit last week.

it happens.

Good lord, and people wonder why we say that dumping more money into the education system is not the answer.

Cochise
10-19-2004, 07:17 AM
Putting up a picture of the President of the United States of America in an American classroom is "expressing a political opinion" now? Well heck, I hope there are no pictures of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson etc.. hanging on the walls of that school.

I remember studying in classrooms with pictures of Ronald Reagan and George Bush hanging in them. I don't really see what the problem is. It was just the president at the time who was pictured.

Guess this is another sign of the whiney bitch times.

Chiefnj
10-19-2004, 08:42 AM
Reading comprehension skills must be at an all time low.

It is not about the picture.

"McCartney, in his statement, said it was Pillai-Diaz's political proselytizing in class, not the picture on the bulletin board, that school officials found offensive."

Lzen
10-19-2004, 08:54 AM
Reading comprehension skills must be at an all time low.

It is not about the picture.

"McCartney, in his statement, said it was Pillai-Diaz's political proselytizing in class, not the picture on the bulletin board, that school officials found offensive."

Good point. But if it's not about the picture, why did they make her take it down?

NewChief
10-19-2004, 09:07 AM
I've already come out on this and said that it was stupid if she got in trouble for the portrait.

If she truly told students they should be ashamed to be Democrats, then she's the one that's stupid and in need of a little professionalism. I teach Speech and Journalism, both subjects that have a lot of political discussion in them. I would guess if you polled my students on whether I'm a Democrat or Republican, you'd get a near 50/50 split on their opinion, with perhaps a slight nod toward Republican. I play the devil's advocate and challenge sloppy thinking, regardless of which side it comes from. That's a teacher's job. A teacher's job certainly isn't to indoctrinate students into their personal political preferences and ridicule those who believe otherwise.

Lzen
10-19-2004, 09:26 AM
I've already come out on this and said that it was stupid if she got in trouble for the portrait.

If she truly told students they should be ashamed to be Democrats, then she's the one that's stupid and in need of a little professionalism. I teach Speech and Journalism, both subjects that have a lot of political discussion in them. I would guess if you polled my students on whether I'm a Democrat or Republican, you'd get a near 50/50 split on their opinion, with perhaps a slight nod toward Republican. I play the devil's advocate and challenge sloppy thinking, regardless of which side it comes from. That's a teacher's job. A teacher's job certainly isn't to indoctrinate students into their personal political preferences and ridicule those who believe otherwise.


:thumb:

KCWolfman
10-19-2004, 11:26 AM
Reading comprehension skills must be at an all time low.

It is not about the picture.

"McCartney, in his statement, said it was Pillai-Diaz's political proselytizing in class, not the picture on the bulletin board, that school officials found offensive."
Will you read the title of the article to me since my skills are so poor.

KCWolfman
10-19-2004, 11:27 AM
Reading comprehension skills must be at an all time low.

It is not about the picture.

"McCartney, in his statement, said it was Pillai-Diaz's political proselytizing in class, not the picture on the bulletin board, that school officials found offensive."
After a confrontation at a back- to-school night on Thursday, school officials told her the next day to take the photo of the president down

Hel'n
10-19-2004, 11:45 AM
That's pretty stupid...


Agreed. Some idiot deserves a spanking... and a dunce cap...

Lzen
10-20-2004, 09:12 AM
Will you read the title of the article to me since my skills are so poor.

Funny when people knock on others' reading comprehension when they themselves apparently didn't comprehend an article.
:shake: