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A student of uncommon courage

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In his cage?

Imagine this, if a thief has a record for robbing convenience stores and he wants to rob another.  He goes into the store and sees that there are a few police officers in the store.  Does he go ahead and try to rob that store?  No he simply finds another convenient store to rob.

Very poor analogy.

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Guest Paul
In his cage?

Imagine this, if a thief has a record for robbing convenience stores and he wants to rob another.  He goes into the store and sees that there are a few police officers in the store.  Does he go ahead and try to rob that store?  No he simply finds another convenient store to rob.

So what's your point? By your logic, we should just disband the police force. If the thief is caught, he's more likely to think twice about robbing again than if he knows everyone just looks the other way.

In the case at hand, the recordings accomplished several things:

1. They exposed Paszkiewicz's behavior for what it really was. This would not have been important, and would not have been done, had Paszkiewicz admitted his behavior, but he did not.

2. It sent a message to the students and to the community that religious proselytizing is not acceptable here.

3. It may embolden other students to speak out, not just in cases like this, but in other cases.

4. It has resulted in appropriate education programs to bring Kearny ahead of the curve on these issues, instead of behind the curve.

None of this would have happened had the classes not been recorded. None of it would have been necessary if the students and the community understood the issues in the first place. Don't get me wrong. Some do understand, but many do not. That is why things happened as they did, and why remedial measures are necessary, and are in fact being taken. What the people who keep arguing on the other side of this don't like is that the behavior was exposed for what it is, one of their own was caught red-handed, and they don't like it. As is often said, "the truth hurts," and it especially hurts to those who are opposed to the truth.

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So what's your point? By your logic, we should just disband the police force. If the thief is caught, he's more likely to think twice about robbing again than if he knows everyone just looks the other way.

In the case at hand, the recordings accomplished several things:

1. They exposed Paszkiewicz's behavior for what it really was. This would not have been important, and would not have been done, had Paszkiewicz admitted his behavior, but he did not.

2. It sent a message to the students and to the community that religious proselytizing is not acceptable here.

3. It may embolden other students to speak out, not just in cases like this, but in other cases.

4. It has resulted in appropriate education programs to bring Kearny ahead of the curve on these issues, instead of behind the curve.

None of this would have happened had the classes not been recorded. None of it would have been necessary if the students and the community understood the issues in the first place. Don't get me wrong. Some do understand, but many do not. That is why things happened as they did, and why remedial measures are necessary, and are in fact being taken. What the people who keep arguing on the other side of this don't like is that the behavior was exposed for what it is, one of their own was caught red-handed, and they don't like it. As is often said, "the truth hurts," and it especially hurts to those who are opposed to the truth.

I was trying to present an analogy with what Paszkiewicz would have done if Matthew had put the recording device in the open. Paszkiewicz knew what he was doing (preaching in a public school classroom) was wrong. If he saw the recorder he would not have said anything controversial in that class. This does not mean that he would do this in every class. In the next class he would start preaching again. Putting the recorder in plain view would have solved nothing. What Matthew did was courageous. Confronting power always has risks. I applaud him for doing what he did.

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So what's your point? By your logic, we should just disband the police force. If the thief is caught, he's more likely to think twice about robbing again than if he knows everyone just looks the other way.

In the case at hand, the recordings accomplished several things:

1. They exposed Paszkiewicz's behavior for what it really was. This would not have been important, and would not have been done, had Paszkiewicz admitted his behavior, but he did not.

2. It sent a message to the students and to the community that religious proselytizing is not acceptable here.

3. It may embolden other students to speak out, not just in cases like this, but in other cases.

4. It has resulted in appropriate education programs to bring Kearny ahead of the curve on these issues, instead of behind the curve.

None of this would have happened had the classes not been recorded. None of it would have been necessary if the students and the community understood the issues in the first place. Don't get me wrong. Some do understand, but many do not. That is why things happened as they did, and why remedial measures are necessary, and are in fact being taken. What the people who keep arguing on the other side of this don't like is that the behavior was exposed for what it is, one of their own was caught red-handed, and they don't like it. As is often said, "the truth hurts," and it especially hurts to those who are opposed to the truth.

Fine, record the classes. But do it with the recorder sitting on your desk.

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So what's your point? By your logic, we should just disband the police force. If the thief is caught, he's more likely to think twice about robbing again than if he knows everyone just looks the other way.

In the case at hand, the recordings accomplished several things:

1. They exposed Paszkiewicz's behavior for what it really was. This would not have been important, and would not have been done, had Paszkiewicz admitted his behavior, but he did not.

2. It sent a message to the students and to the community that religious proselytizing is not acceptable here.

3. It may embolden other students to speak out, not just in cases like this, but in other cases.

4. It has resulted in appropriate education programs to bring Kearny ahead of the curve on these issues, instead of behind the curve.

None of this would have happened had the classes not been recorded. None of it would have been necessary if the students and the community understood the issues in the first place. Don't get me wrong. Some do understand, but many do not. That is why things happened as they did, and why remedial measures are necessary, and are in fact being taken. What the people who keep arguing on the other side of this don't like is that the behavior was exposed for what it is, one of their own was caught red-handed, and they don't like it. As is often said, "the truth hurts," and it especially hurts to those who are opposed to the truth.

It's you who does not get it. What you do not continue to get is that the majority of this town does not care about this issue. And if you weren't the spokesperson for the ACLU would your son care as well? It has made a nice name for himself, however not a name for him in front of the students he goes to class with. If this wasn't your media circus this would have already been resolved and life in Pleasantville would continue.

Instead of school being a week away, you want to stir up controversy. It's just your mode of operandi. If your theory worked you would have seen other "emboldened" students step forward. None did, so that theory is shot. It just further backs my point.

And again you try to put Kearny down saying we are behind the curve. What curve and how defined it? We are on the curve. Exactly where we should be. Our students are getting a quality education. If you didn't think so I am sure you would have pulled your two students out of the Kearny School system years ago. Or was this just a recent revelation for you?

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Spin it anyway you like, a teacher who has been teaching for barely fewer years than the student's been alive, was exposed and outsmarted for all the world to see by a teenager.

Wondering how many multiple personalities that teenager has here. AKA STRIFE767, MATTHEW LaCLAIR, PAUL, PAUL LaCLAIR, Mellanie? All one and hte same here. You know you can't prove otherwise.

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Correct, but not for the reason you'd like. You are correct because if he had made it obvious, Paszkiewicz simply would have stopped in that class, but not in any others. If Matthew's problem was personal offense, he probably would have done just that, and it would have worked just fine. But this was not an issue of personal offense--he wanted the unconstitutional teaching methods to stop entirely. That was "the result he was after," and simply pressuring Paszkiewicz to 'watch out in this one class' would not have done a thing toward that end.

Analogously, this is the same reason corporal punishment ultimately doesn't work--instead of stopping the undesired behavior entirely, the child will simply learn to do whatever it is when the parent is not around.

Why Matthew did things the way he did and not the way you suggested is very obvious, except to those (you included, no doubt) who pre-assign straw man motives and personality to Matthew. His motives as said by him and his actions line up perfectly; there is no discrepancy.

As long as people like you are foolish to continue thinking this was something as trivial as a disagreement on faith, you will continue to think that stuff like the above would have been the obvious solution. But it isn't about Matthew having a personal problem or disagreement with the stuff being said in the class--it's about the fact that Paszkiewicz was violating the Constitution in a way so blatant that he surmised (CORRECTLY, I might add) that he needed to covertly get evidence in order to prove what was going on, and prevent his teacher from trying to weasel out of it by denying his statements.

Thank you Matthew LaClair for those wonderful words. You couldnt have said it better than if you said it yourself.

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Guest Guest
People for the American Way is a nationally known organization promoting and defending American values. They are running the following story, which is of local interest because it honors a Kearny High School student.

http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=24210

Some people may also wish to know that Matthew has the following speaking engagements and awards scheduled in the next three months:

August 19: featured speaker at B'Nai Brith, our local synagogue in Kearny

September 30: Ethical Culture Society of Long Island, Mineola, New York - invited speaker at their Sunday morning services, 11:00 a.m.

Weekend of October 12-14: featured speaker and honoree at Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin - see http://www.ffrf.org/events/2007/

November 4: honoree at Sunday morning services of New York Ethical Culture Society, 10:30 a.m.

Weekend of November 9-11: Free Inquiry award in New York City

November 18: Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, Maplewood, NJ - invited speaker at their Sunday morning services, 11:00 a.m.

Obviously this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but some may have an interest in it.

Hope you guys have a gold card - rack up some frequent flier miles and earn a trip to the Bahamas for your troubles. Congrats.

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Wondering how many multiple personalities that teenager has here. AKA STRIFE767, MATTHEW LaCLAIR, PAUL, PAUL LaCLAIR, Mellanie?  All one and hte same here. You know you can't prove otherwise.

You also can't prove you've never molested a child at any point in your life, so I guess we should get to locking you up, huh?

What stupid logic.

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Guest Arizona Onlooker
So what's your point? By your logic, we should just disband the police force. If the thief is caught, he's more likely to think twice about robbing again than if he knows everyone just looks the other way.

In the case at hand, the recordings accomplished several things:

1. They exposed Paszkiewicz's behavior for what it really was. This would not have been important, and would not have been done, had Paszkiewicz admitted his behavior, but he did not.

2. It sent a message to the students and to the community that religious proselytizing is not acceptable here.

3. It may embolden other students to speak out, not just in cases like this, but in other cases.

4. It has resulted in appropriate education programs to bring Kearny ahead of the curve on these issues, instead of behind the curve.

None of this would have happened had the classes not been recorded. None of it would have been necessary if the students and the community understood the issues in the first place. Don't get me wrong. Some do understand, but many do not. That is why things happened as they did, and why remedial measures are necessary, and are in fact being taken. What the people who keep arguing on the other side of this don't like is that the behavior was exposed for what it is, one of their own was caught red-handed, and they don't like it. As is often said, "the truth hurts," and it especially hurts to those who are opposed to the truth.

In looking at this case for a long time also found this post: Frank Viscuso, a Kearny resident, wrote in a letter to The Observer that “when a student is advised by his ‘attorney’ father to bait a teacher with questions about religion, and then records his answers and takes the story to 300 newspapers, that family isn’t ‘offended’ by what was said in the classroom — they’re simply looking for a payout and to make a name for themselves.” He called the teacher one of the town’s best. I strongly think there is a lot of truth in this as well.

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So what's your point? By your logic, we should just disband the police force. If the thief is caught, he's more likely to think twice about robbing again than if he knows everyone just looks the other way.

In the case at hand, the recordings accomplished several things:

1. They exposed Paszkiewicz's behavior for what it really was. This would not have been important, and would not have been done, had Paszkiewicz admitted his behavior, but he did not.

2. It sent a message to the students and to the community that religious proselytizing is not acceptable here.

3. It may embolden other students to speak out, not just in cases like this, but in other cases.

4. It has resulted in appropriate education programs to bring Kearny ahead of the curve on these issues, instead of behind the curve.

None of this would have happened had the classes not been recorded. None of it would have been necessary if the students and the community understood the issues in the first place. Don't get me wrong. Some do understand, but many do not. That is why things happened as they did, and why remedial measures are necessary, and are in fact being taken. What the people who keep arguing on the other side of this don't like is that the behavior was exposed for what it is, one of their own was caught red-handed, and they don't like it. As is often said, "the truth hurts," and it especially hurts to those who are opposed to the truth.

It's you who does not get it. What you do not continue to get is that the majority of this town does not care about this issue. And if you weren't the spokesperson for the ACLU would your son care as well? It has made a nice name for himself, however not a name for him in front of the students he goes to class with. If this wasn't your media circus this would have already been resolved and life in Pleasantville would continue.

Instead of school being a week away, you want to stir up controversy. It's just your mode of operandi. If your theory worked you would have seen other "emboldened" students step forward. None did, so that theory is shot. It just further backs my point.

And again you try to put Kearny down saying we are behind the curve. What curve and how defined it? We are on the curve. Exactly where we should be. Our students are getting a quality education. If you didn't think so I am sure you would have pulled your two students out of the Kearny School system years ago. Or was this just a recent revelation for you?

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In looking at this case for a long time also found this post:  Frank Viscuso, a Kearny resident, wrote in a letter to The Observer that “when a student is advised by his ‘attorney’ father to bait a teacher with questions about religion, and then records his answers and takes the story to 300 newspapers, that family isn’t ‘offended’ by what was said in the classroom — they’re simply looking for a payout and to make a name for themselves.” He called the teacher one of the town’s best. I strongly think there is a lot of truth in this as well.

So, now its Matthew who was baiting the teacher under the tutelage of his attorney father. The baiting would have been obvious from his recordings. Try listening to them.

Mr. P. has been doing this for years. Who baited Mr. P. in previous years? Was it some cabal?

Talk about revisionist history. You people would have done so well in Soviet Russia.

Again, its proved you don't want to learn. You just want your beliefs validated.

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Guest Paul
It's you who does not get it. What you do not continue to get is that the majority of this town does not care about this issue. And if you weren't the spokesperson for the ACLU would your son care as well? It has made a nice name for himself, however not a name for him in front of the students he goes to class with. If this wasn't your media circus this would have already been resolved and life in Pleasantville would continue.

Instead of school being a week away, you want to stir up controversy. It's just your mode of operandi. If your theory worked you would have seen other "emboldened" students step forward. None did, so that theory is shot. It just further backs my point.

And again you try to put Kearny down saying we are behind the curve. What curve and how defined it? We are on the curve. Exactly where we should be. Our students are getting a quality education. If you didn't think so I am sure you would have pulled your two students out of the Kearny School system years ago. Or was this just a recent revelation for you?

I'm painfully aware of the current fad of indifference toward freedom, civil liberties, the Constitution and the rule of law not only in Kearny, but around the country. That doesn't mean that I won't continue to try to preserve these essential bulwarks of American life. How much history and how much of our great literature (e.g., Ibsen's play "Enemy of the People") must you read before you realize that the lessons of history and great literature are not just for other people, but also for you; and that principles don't mean anything unless you live and apply them? Whether others follow suit or not, our commitment to those issues is deep and rock-solid.

Democracies thrive on controversy. Dictatorships squelch it. And yet what are you doing but telling me, in effect, to shut up? You're asking me to live as though this was a dictatorship; if we get too much of that attitude, that is exactly what this great nation will become.

Why does my speaking out, and Matthew's standing up threaten you? Your point isn't supported at all; just the opposite, you prove ours every time you refer to speaking out and standing up as "stirring up controversy." If you want a democracy in which everyone just goes along with the prevailing wind, never questions, never raises a fuss and never stands his ground, you're asking for two contradictory things at the same time. Its just amazing how people can claim they want democracy, and then oppose everything that makes democracy work. You see what you wish to see and ignore the rest. The reason Matthew has won awards for what he did is that some people still understand what citizenship means. If you don't like what I write, you're free to ignore it. If it is so inconsequential as you claim, then why do you keep responding?

The terms "behind the curve" and "ahead of the curve" are Mr. Lindenfelser's, and they refer to the school's commitment to these particular issues, not the quality of education overall. I happen to agree with him at long last. Go argue about it with him.

By the way, Matthew was just selected as the recipient of the 2007 Ethical Humanist award from New York Ethical Culture Society. The award is given to one person each year. Past recipients include former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Senator John McCain. Has it ever occurred to you that the kid just might know and understand a thing or two that you don't?

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you try to put Kearny down saying we are behind the curve. What curve and how defined it? We are on the curve.

People were shocked to learn that a teacher was getting away with preaching in a classroom of a public school less than 10 miles away from NYC. That is way behind the curve. The fact that the majority of the town OPPOSED the student trying to rectify the situation paints Kearny as a backwards community that doesn't know the least thing about the founding laws of this country, and was only capable of superficially interpreting the whole thing as some kind of anti-Christian attack.

There is something sorely missing when something so blatantly unconstitutional is going on regularly in a high school classroom and it takes 15 years for someone to react, and then it's only one student!

Put that on top of Paszkiewicz's letter that displayed a gross ignorance of the subject he teaches, and something is clearly wrong. You think that's "on the curve?" The fact that Matthew opposed Paszkiewicz's actions alone all by itself shows that there is serious deficiency in these students' education. Any properly-educated class wouldn't have let that fly.

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It's you who does not get it. What you do not continue to get is that the majority of this town does not care about this issue. And if you weren't the spokesperson for the ACLU would your son care as well? It has made a nice name for himself, however not a name for him in front of the students he goes to class with. If this wasn't your media circus this would have already been resolved and life in Pleasantville would continue.

Instead of school being a week away, you want to stir up controversy. It's just your mode of operandi. If your theory worked you would have seen other "emboldened" students step forward. None did, so that theory is shot. It just further backs my point.

And again you try to put Kearny down saying we are behind the curve. What curve and how defined it? We are on the curve. Exactly where we should be. Our students are getting a quality education. If you didn't think so I am sure you would have pulled your two students out of the Kearny School system years ago. Or was this just a recent revelation for you?

Go Kearny, it's your birthday, Go Kearny, it's your birthday !!

Go get'em.

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Guest Paul
So, now its Matthew who was baiting the teacher under the tutelage of his attorney father. The baiting would have been obvious from his recordings. Try listening to them.

Mr. P. has been doing this for years. Who baited Mr. P. in previous years?  Was it some cabal?

Talk about revisionist history. You people would have done so well in Soviet Russia.

Again, its proved you don't want to learn. You just want your beliefs validated.

Thank you for this, Bern. What has happened is straight out of Orwell. This growing willingness to re-invent the facts is truly frightening, and it threatens our way of life.

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So, now its Matthew who was baiting the teacher under the tutelage of his attorney father. The baiting would have been obvious from his recordings. Try listening to them.

Mr. P. has been doing this for years. Who baited Mr. P. in previous years?  Was it some cabal?

Talk about revisionist history. You people would have done so well in Soviet Russia.

Again, its proved you don't want to learn. You just want your beliefs validated.

Yes, Matt just sat there quietly while Mr. P the monster ranted and raved about forcing the students to accept Jesus.

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Guest Paul
Yes, Matt just sat there quietly while Mr. P the monster ranted and raved about forcing the students to accept Jesus.

Potty training time again. You people never get it, do you. This has all been said before, but obviously you don't get it, so I'll say it again:

1. It wasn't about Matthew personally.

2. There is a difference between forcing and a renegade teacher misusing his position of authority.

3. Caricatures and straw men don't address the issues, which you obviously do not wish to address honestly.

Don't you ever get tired of being sat on the potty?

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Guest 2smart4u
Potty training time again. You people never get it, do you. This has all been said before, but obviously you don't get it, so I'll say it again:

1. It wasn't about Matthew personally.

2. There is a difference between forcing and a renegade teacher misusing his position of authority.

3. Caricatures and straw men don't address the issues, which you obviously do not wish to address honestly.

Don't you ever get tired of being sat on the potty?

"It wasn't about Matthew personally" ?? What a crock. It was ALL about Matthew.

Matthew came home from school one day and told you how a teacher

discussed religion in his classroom. You, being the ambulance chaser that you are, saw an opportunity to exploit the situation and gain some notoriety for junior.

So you had him sneak in a tape recorder to record this teacher without his knowledge or consent. There was nothing noble or honorable about it. It was all about Paul living vicariously through his son by commiting a treacherous act.

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Guest Paul
"It wasn't about Matthew personally" ??  What a crock. It was ALL about Matthew.

    Matthew came home from school one day and told you how a teacher

  discussed religion in his classroom.  You, being the ambulance chaser that you  are, saw an opportunity to exploit the situation and gain some notoriety for junior.

    So you had him sneak in a tape recorder to record this teacher without his knowledge or consent. There was nothing noble or honorable about it. It was all about Paul living vicariously through his son by commiting a treacherous act.

Once again, you are absolutely sure of something you know nothing about. If it wasn't about the issue, that would mean we don't really care about church-state separation. Yet you call us Loony Lefties who want to take God out of the schools. Which is it: Are we Loony Lefties who don't like teachers pushing religion in public schools, or opportunists who don't really care about that issue and are just using the opportunity for personal gain? You can't have it both ways, jackass, not to mention the fact that you know absolutely nothing about it, and not to mention the fact that we could not have predicted that so many people would make such poor decisions, thereby turning this into national news.

Yet again you display the same inability to think logically that drives everything you write. What you believe is not a function of the evidence or the facts, but solely a function of what you wish to believe. As long as you keep writing like this, I will keep putting you back on the potty. Your boy got schooled, but like you he hasn't learned anything.

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Guest Loki
I'm painfully aware of the current fad of indifference toward freedom, civil liberties, the Constitution and the rule of law not only in Kearny, but around the country. That doesn't mean that I won't continue to try to preserve these essential bulwarks of American life. How much history and how much of our great literature (e.g., Ibsen's play "Enemy of the People") must you read before you realize that the lessons of history and great literature are not just for other people, but also for you; and that principles don't mean anything unless you live and apply them? Whether others follow suit or not, our commitment to those issues is deep and rock-solid.

Democracies thrive on controversy. Dictatorships squelch it. And yet what are you doing but telling me, in effect, to shut up? You're asking me to live as though this was a dictatorship; if we get too much of that attitude, that is exactly what this great nation will become.

Why does my speaking out, and Matthew's standing up threaten you? Your point isn't supported at all; just the opposite, you prove ours every time you refer to speaking out and standing up as "stirring up controversy." If you want a democracy in which everyone just goes along with the prevailing wind, never questions, never raises a fuss and never stands his ground, you're asking for two contradictory things at the same time. Its just amazing how people can claim they want democracy, and then oppose everything that makes democracy work. You see what you wish to see and ignore the rest. The reason Matthew has won awards for what he did is that some people still understand what citizenship means. If you don't like what I write, you're free to ignore it. If it is so inconsequential as you claim, then why do you keep responding?

The terms "behind the curve" and "ahead of the curve" are Mr. Lindenfelser's, and they refer to the school's commitment to these particular issues, not the quality of education overall. I happen to agree with him at long last. Go argue about it with him.

By the way, Matthew was just selected as the recipient of the 2007 Ethical Humanist award from New York Ethical Culture Society. The award is given to one person each year. Past recipients include former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Senator John McCain. Has it ever occurred to you that the kid just might know and understand a thing or two that you don't?

Go get 'em Don Quixote. If it weren't for name recognition, I doubt you would be mentioning awards and articles that praise your son. I don't know him, probably a very nice kid, but this topic is OLD and STALE. Goodbye.

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