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Guest Paul

A student of uncommon courage

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Guest Paul
Paul, I think what some people are getting at here (and about which I think that they are focusing on the wrong issue, but we'll let that be for the time being), is that you continually argue that BECAUSE Mr. P lied, and BECAUSE Somma ignored the issues, and BECAUSE the board attorney did this or that ... then Matthew was justified in his course of conduct.

Unfortunately, you may have THOUGHT that all of the parties were going to act as they did (and, knowing the general rules of CYA that apply in government institutions of all sorts, it does not take Nostradamus to conclude as such), but you did not KNOW that all of the parties would act as they did.  And there is quite a difference.  And no matter how bright you might have been to conclude that - when faced with the elimination of his family's livelihood - an individual might say or do whatever is necessary in the name of self-preservation ... Matthew's actions - taken in a vacuum - may be justified but not excused.

Here's why.

Let's assume for a moment that, as should have been the case, upon being accused of preaching in class (and before the issue of a tape recording was even raised) Mr. P fell on his sword and stated, "Yes I did, I was wrong, I apologize, let the floggings begin" and Mr. Somma, in turn, stated "we are sorry Matthew, a correction and apology will be made in class tomorrow."  In your own words you have stated that the issue would have been resolved.

Then would Matthew have been justified in surreptitiously tape recording the teacher?  Would it have been an ethical act to engage the teacher in a discussion which Matthew thought to be wrong thereby poisoning the learning environment in the classroom?

Or would it have been more appropriate to leave the tape recorder home?  Or to speak up when Matthew felt that the teacher was violating the hallowed Establishment Clause and that such conduct was not appropriate for a teacher - allowing for an immediate correction of the learning environment?

Clearly, no one lives in a vacuum and, as stated, it wasn't hard to predict the conduct that occurred.  So, I think that the ends do justify the means in this instance as no innocent parties - save the one Muslim student who had her identity revealed to the world - were harmed.  My moment of pause is I feel that it would be lovely for someone fully engaged on the "correct" side of this argument to acknowledge that Matthew wasn't a babe in the woods, and that his actions were calculated and designed to bring about a specific result.

I appreciate the calm and level tone of your post, and believe that you are sincerely trying to think this through. However, you're overlooking the fact that Matthew couldn't confront anyone with the information until he had it recorded. It would have been dismissed, and the opportunity to bring something very serious to the district's attention would have been lost, probably forever as we see from the reactions from the other students. It was either record and preserve the evidence, or not record and lose it. He could not have done that after the teacher was spoken to, as you suggest, because at that point the teacher would have changed his behavior.

Matt made a judgment that the teacher's conduct was so outrageous that a record must be preserved. No one suggests he was a babe in the woods. I don't see why you're making that remark at all.

With respect to the other students, I don't see how any of them was harmed. The media haven't demonstrated any interest in them, and I doubt that any of them have been contacted because their voices were heard on those recordings, or even because their names were mentioned. I don't see how this is any different than if you're walking down the street and happen to get caught on camera because something happens nearby. It would be very nice if life was so clean that such things never happened, but it isn't. We did our best to clean up the tapes belatedly as to some of them, and the Muslim student you refer to was mentioned only by first name in class. It would take a lot of digging for press to find her, there's no reason to think the press would do that (it hasn't that I know of), and she did nothing wrong an any event. So while she or others may be upset, I don't believe any of them was harmed or was likely to be harmed.

To comment on one of your remarks, Matthew did not record merely for self-preservation. He recorded to make sure that the teacher's misbehavior would be preserved in undeniable form so that it could be addressed.

As for what we could predict, you may say and think as you please, but Matthew is an exceptionally good judge of character, better than I am. Better than almost anyone I know. I've seen him predict the behavior of adult authority figures other kids his age would fear --- and be right every time. He sees them coming, predicts where they're going to go, and acts accordingly. I've learned that about him over the years, long before this happened. So while we couldn't be sure that people would act as they did, his predictions were based on solid reasoning, and the proof in the pudding here is that he was right. I wouldn't be so impressed by that if this was the first time he had ever predicted the behavior of others, but it wasn't. If you knew him as I do, you would know that.

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In all fairness Bern, this opinion source was from a loooong time ago - before the recordings became public.  So the party quoted would not have had the opportunity to listen to the recordings.

And since everyone keeps throwing around what is a fact and what isn't a fact, it is NOT a fact that Mr. P has been doing this for years.

I think it's not that hard to believe, considering that several of my former classmates, and at least one other person who wrote to the Observer, commented on similar actions made by Paszkiewicz before the issue with Matthew. More than one of the former said things along the lines of "So he finally got caught, huh?" Feel free not to believe the 'anecdotes,' but it seems at least more likely than not, especially considering the following.

Didn't Paszkiewicz make a statment at the 'Somma meeting' that he taught in the classes in question (in which we know he was preaching etc.) no differently than he's been teaching all his career? That's kind of an admission of guilt, isn't it? I mean, he wasn't aware Matthew had hard evidence of exactly how he was teaching in those classes--at best, it was just another lie of his. Either gives me more reason not to respect him.

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Guest Paul
"I sent the first news release to 300 news organizations" ???  These are the

  words of a truly Loony Left wacko.  What kind of a father would be so desperate

  to  promote the actions of his son that he would "market" him. It wasn't good

  enough that the local BOE reacted, he wanted the world to know what a heroic

  son he had and he was his daddy. Truly pathetic.

  promote a son

No, that's not why we did it. The Board was refusing to act. So we took the matter public, and the force of public opinion forced them to act. Those are facts.

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Guest Paul
I think it's not that hard to believe, considering that several of my former classmates, and at least one other person who wrote to the Observer, commented on similar actions made by Paszkiewicz before the issue with Matthew. More than one of the former said things along the lines of "So he finally got caught, huh?" Feel free not to believe the 'anecdotes,' but it seems at least more likely than not, especially considering the following.

Didn't Paszkiewicz make a statment at the 'Somma meeting' that he taught in the classes in question (in which we know he was preaching etc.) no differently than he's been teaching all his career? That's kind of an admission of guilt, isn't it? I mean, he wasn't aware Matthew had hard evidence of exactly how he was teaching in those classes--at best, it was just another lie of his. Either gives me more reason not to respect him.

Yes, he specifically admitted in the October 10th meeting that what he did in Matthew's class is no different than what he had been doing for the previous fourteen years. Game, set, match --- either way you look at it, just as you say.

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Guest Guest
I think it's not that hard to believe, considering that several of my former classmates, and at least one other person who wrote to the Observer, commented on similar actions made by Paszkiewicz before the issue with Matthew. More than one of the former said things along the lines of "So he finally got caught, huh?" Feel free not to believe the 'anecdotes,' but it seems at least more likely than not, especially considering the following.

Didn't Paszkiewicz make a statment at the 'Somma meeting' that he taught in the classes in question (in which we know he was preaching etc.) no differently than he's been teaching all his career? That's kind of an admission of guilt, isn't it? I mean, he wasn't aware Matthew had hard evidence of exactly how he was teaching in those classes--at best, it was just another lie of his. Either gives me more reason not to respect him.

Still not a proven fact - if we are going to be sticklers on what is and isn't a "fact".

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Guest Keith-Marshall,Mo
LOL !!  Everyone (apparently except you) knows the media are all left-wing with

  few exceptions.  CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, N.Y. Times and all the major newspapers are all purveyors of left wing propaganda.  FOX is the only source of fair & balanced news coverage (which also draws more viewers than all the Loony

Left sources put together). And by the way, FOX totally ignored the adventures of your little tape-recording son. Like I said before, it was only thought to be a

"heroic" event by the Loony Left (and that's something to be proud of).

I can only imagine that every time you belch, it smells like Bill O'Reilly's ass?

You keep going on and on about FOX viewership outpacing all others combined. Gee, I wonder where you heard that? A fair and balanced source? Probably not.

You Sir, Madam, It or whatever truly represent what is really wrong with this country. True liberals and conservatives may have differing opinions but they are NOT IGNORANT to the facts. They are also open mined and invite spirited to debate in hopes of finding common ground.

I belive I may have asked you this before so please refresh my memory. Please tell me what your vision of this country would be if you made all the rules.

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Guest Guest
I appreciate the calm and level tone of your post, and believe that you are sincerely trying to think this through. However, you're overlooking the fact that Matthew couldn't confront anyone with the information until he had it recorded. It would have been dismissed, and the opportunity to bring something very serious to the district's attention would have been lost, probably forever as we see from the reactions from the other students. It was either record and preserve the evidence, or not record and lose it. He could not have done that after the teacher was spoken to, as you suggest, because at that point the teacher would have changed his behavior.

Matt made a judgment that the teacher's conduct was so outrageous that a record must be preserved. No one suggests he was a babe in the woods. I don't see why you're making that remark at all.

With respect to the other students, I don't see how any of them was harmed. The media haven't demonstrated any interest in them, and I doubt that any of them have been contacted because their voices were heard on those recordings, or even because their names were mentioned. I don't see how this is any different than if you're walking down the street and happen to get caught on camera because something happens nearby. It would be very nice if life was so clean that such things never happened, but it isn't. We did our best to clean up the tapes belatedly as to some of them, and the Muslim student you refer to was mentioned only by first name in class. It would take a lot of digging for press to find her, there's no reason to think the press would do that (it hasn't that I know of), and she did nothing wrong an any event. So while she or others may be upset, I don't believe any of them was harmed or was likely to be harmed.

To comment on one of your remarks, Matthew did not record merely for self-preservation. He recorded to make sure that the teacher's misbehavior would be preserved in undeniable form so that it could be addressed.

As for what we could predict, you may say and think as you please, but Matthew is an exceptionally good judge of character, better than I am. Better than almost anyone I know. I've seen him predict the behavior of adult authority figures other kids his age would fear --- and be right every time. He sees them coming, predicts where they're going to go, and acts accordingly. I've learned that about him over the years, long before this happened. So while we couldn't be sure that people would act as they did, his predictions were based on solid reasoning, and the proof in the pudding here is that he was right. I wouldn't be so impressed by that if this was the first time he had ever predicted the behavior of others, but it wasn't. If you knew him as I do, you would know that.

I really am not trying to think the issue through anymore, as I have come to many conclusions - including the idea that Matthew's recording - while questionable on some levels - was completely necessary and justified in this matter.

What I am trying to address, and probably doing a poor job considering that your response really didn't hit on my key issue, is the point that Matthew's conduct in recording the class discussion cannot be fully excused as, in my opinion, his decision to do so is not above reproach. Honestly, I cannot say that you have painted your son as a "babe in the woods", but others have - which has drawn the ire of the Mr. P supporters. And while their ire may be misplaced, they do make a valid point. Matthew's decision to arm himself with a tape recorder, enter the classroom, and surreptitiously hit record while engaging in discussions that he himself felt denigrated the education process and the Constitution itself had potentially negative repercussions for others.

You have said that no student was harmed. I would add the word "seriously" before harmed, but there is "harm" nonetheless - at least five instances of such. First, and easiest to highlight, is the ultimate release of the Muslim student's name through the media which not have been possible had the recordings not recorded her name. The fact that, to your knowledge, the media has not tried to dig up her name does not mean that she has not felt some negative emotion as a result of being tied to this mess (the pain can be real even if it is not reported in the national media). Second, the uproar that occurred was certainly a distraction in the education process of the students - including an ultimate change in faculty that certainly affected the continuity in the classroom . Third, the classroom is a delicate education environment which relies on trust - not just between student and teacher, but between and among students as well. The thought that a student could be secretly recording classroom discussions could be deterrent enough to prevent even a single student from participating in classroom discussions - which is an important component of the education process. Fourth, I have seen at least one thread on this board bashing the other students in Matthew's class, and suggesting that colleges should interview them and ask why they were silent. Now, their conduct (silence or otherwise) may not have been exemplary BUT these are children, and at different stages of intellectual and emotional maturity. To expose them to an emotionally charged and confusing debate - about which even grown adults can differ on points - and then to subject them to public vilification for their conduct during a period when only Matthew knew what was occurring seems to be much to ask of most children. Fifth, Matthew allowed a discussion to continue in a classroom that was so blatantly wrong and violative of the Constitution that Matthew felt the need to record it and release it to the media. For Matthew to allow such a discussion to continue without correction so that he could nail the teacher initiating the conversation - while necessary - does diminish the education of the other students in the classroom as the "correction" which has (and will continue to) come was so far removed temporally to have the same impact as an immediate correction.

I would like to believe that the lessons learned by the students in exchange for the above consequences of Matthew's decision to record and release far outweigh any "harm" that may have occurred by Matthew recording in the classroom (and, if the students did not adequately learn such lessons, the blame is more appropriately placed at the feet of the administration). But, such lessons are not part of the state mandated curriculum. Instead, it was an independent and unilateral decision made by Matthew to barter this exchange of lessons, and he did so without the knowledge or consent of ANY party - guilty or innocent. Don't get me wrong - great decisions are made this way. But the party making the decision should at least acknowledge that they risked harm to innocent parties to serve the greater good.

Now, Matthew may be the greatest judge of character in human history (which, for argument's sake includes at least the last 6,000 years : ) And, as in the present case, I typically find that when you expect the worst in someone you are rarely disappointed. However, the conduct of the contra parties that occurred AFTER Matthew recorded the class cannot excuse any issues that pertain to his decision to bring a tape recorder in the classroom. I just wish that all of us who support Matthew's decision could at least acknowledge that this was a calculated risk on the part of Matthew and, while necessary to correct an otherwise uncorrectable sitauation, did involve some potential for harm to a number of individuals. Hopefully, once acknowledged, Mr. P's supporters can appreciate the needs to take chances to effectuate real change, and to adjust the focus onto greater issues of debate.

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Guest Guest
There is a factual basis. Other students who have had this teacher said he did it before. In court, we call that evidence, and if the fact-finder believes it, it is called a fact.

Okay, but as far as I know this issue has not reached a judge or jury, has not been adjudicated, and is therefore not yet a "fact". Of course, hearsay objections would also be raised as you are only reporting what you claim others have told Matthew (who, in turn, told you). Remind me - isn't that double hearsay?

I'm just trying to play the "fair" police, as what is a "fact" has been called into question by both sides.

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Guest Paul
Still not a proven fact - if we are going to be sticklers on what is and isn't a "fact".

What do you claim a "fact" is, then?

If you saw it, is it a fact?

What if you're not telling the truth?

What if you didn't see what you thought you saw?

What if you didn't understand what you were looking at?

What if your mind filled in the blank spaces that you didn't actually see? It happens all the time, which you'd understand if you had ever studied how the brain works.

Do you really think you have a clear definition of what a fact is? I'd like to see it.

In the topic I opened on why the Paszkiewicz case matters, I supplied a link to a paper published on evolution by a collection of scientific organizations. They give a definition of "fact." Check it out, then let's talk.

In this context, a "fact" is a function of evidence, but what people call a fact depends on their biases, etc. You can't dogmatically assert that it isn't a fact when there are people who were there who say it happened before, and there are recordings that conclusively prove it happened last year. Reasonable people wouldn't need anything more than the recordings from last year to know, as fact, that this behavior had been going on for a long time. There is also the little matter of Paszkiewicz admitting that what he did in Matthew's class was exactly what he has been doing for fourteen years. That's more than enough to allow reasonable people to conclude that his past behavior is an established fact.

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Guest Paul
I really am not trying to think the issue through anymore, as I have come to many conclusions - including the idea that Matthew's recording - while questionable on some levels - was completely necessary and justified in this matter.

What I am trying to address, and probably doing a poor job considering that your response really didn't hit on my key issue, is the point that Matthew's conduct in recording the class discussion cannot be fully excused as, in my opinion, his decision to do so is not above reproach.  Honestly, I cannot say that you have painted your son as a "babe in the woods", but others have - which has drawn the ire of the Mr. P supporters.  And while their ire may be misplaced, they do make a valid point.  Matthew's decision to arm himself with a tape recorder, enter the classroom, and surreptitiously hit record while engaging in discussions that he himself felt denigrated the education process and the Constitution itself had potentially negative repercussions for others.

You have said that no student was harmed.  I would add the word "seriously" before harmed, but there is "harm" nonetheless - at least five instances of such.  First, and easiest to highlight, is the ultimate release of the Muslim student's name through the media which not have been possible had the recordings not recorded her name.  The fact that, to your knowledge, the media has not tried to dig up her name does not mean that she has not felt some negative emotion as a result of being tied to this mess (the pain can be real even if it is not reported in the national media).  Second, the uproar that occurred was certainly a distraction in the education process of the students - including an ultimate change in faculty that certainly affected the continuity in the classroom .  Third, the classroom is a delicate education environment which relies on trust - not just between student and teacher, but between and among students as well.  The thought that a student could be secretly recording classroom discussions could be deterrent enough to prevent even a single student from participating in classroom discussions - which is an important component of the education process.  Fourth, I have seen at least one thread on this board bashing the other students in Matthew's class, and suggesting that colleges should interview them and ask why they were silent.  Now, their conduct (silence or otherwise) may not have been exemplary BUT these are children, and at different stages of intellectual and emotional maturity.  To expose them to an emotionally charged and confusing debate - about which even grown adults can differ on points - and then to subject them to public vilification for their conduct during a period when only Matthew knew what was occurring seems to be much to ask of most children.  Fifth, Matthew allowed a discussion to continue in a classroom that was so blatantly wrong and violative of the Constitution that Matthew felt the need to record it and release it to the media.  For Matthew to allow such a discussion to continue without correction so that he could nail the teacher initiating the conversation - while necessary - does diminish the education of the other students in the classroom as the "correction" which has (and will continue to) come was so far removed temporally to have the same impact as an immediate correction.

I would like to believe that the lessons learned by the students in exchange for the above consequences of Matthew's decision to record and release far outweigh any "harm" that may have occurred by Matthew recording in the classroom (and, if the students did not adequately learn such lessons, the blame is more appropriately placed at the feet of the administration).  But, such lessons are not part of the state mandated curriculum.  Instead, it was an independent and unilateral decision made by Matthew to barter this exchange of lessons, and he did so without the knowledge or consent of ANY party - guilty or innocent.  Don't get me wrong - great decisions are made this way.  But the party making the decision should at least acknowledge that they risked harm to innocent parties to serve the greater good.

Now, Matthew may be the greatest judge of character in human history (which, for argument's sake includes at least the last 6,000 years : )  And, as in the present case, I typically find that when you expect the worst in someone you are rarely disappointed.    However, the conduct of the contra parties that occurred AFTER Matthew recorded the class cannot excuse any issues that pertain to his decision to bring a tape recorder in the classroom.  I just wish that all of us who support Matthew's decision could at least acknowledge that this was a calculated risk on the part of Matthew and, while necessary to correct an otherwise uncorrectable sitauation, did involve some potential for harm to a number of individuals.  Hopefully, once acknowledged, Mr. P's supporters can appreciate the needs to take chances to effectuate real change, and to adjust the focus onto greater issues of debate.

This is by far the best, most thoughtful and best-reasoned post on this side of this arguemnt to date, so I want to give it the time it deserves, and as I have a busy day in and out of the office it will have to await the evening. So please be patient, I will respond to your points.

Meanwhile, I do acknowledge that there was a minimal risk of minimal, i.e., de minimis, harm to innocent people to serve the greater good. However, that minimal risk was in releasing the recordings, not in recording in the first place. Therefore, the argument that recording the classes created a risk of harm is not well taken.

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Guest Paul
I really am not trying to think the issue through anymore, as I have come to many conclusions - including the idea that Matthew's recording - while questionable on some levels - was completely necessary and justified in this matter.

What I am trying to address, and probably doing a poor job considering that your response really didn't hit on my key issue, is the point that Matthew's conduct in recording the class discussion cannot be fully excused as, in my opinion, his decision to do so is not above reproach.  Honestly, I cannot say that you have painted your son as a "babe in the woods", but others have - which has drawn the ire of the Mr. P supporters.  And while their ire may be misplaced, they do make a valid point.  Matthew's decision to arm himself with a tape recorder, enter the classroom, and surreptitiously hit record while engaging in discussions that he himself felt denigrated the education process and the Constitution itself had potentially negative repercussions for others.

You have said that no student was harmed.  I would add the word "seriously" before harmed, but there is "harm" nonetheless - at least five instances of such.  First, and easiest to highlight, is the ultimate release of the Muslim student's name through the media which not have been possible had the recordings not recorded her name.  The fact that, to your knowledge, the media has not tried to dig up her name does not mean that she has not felt some negative emotion as a result of being tied to this mess (the pain can be real even if it is not reported in the national media).  Second, the uproar that occurred was certainly a distraction in the education process of the students - including an ultimate change in faculty that certainly affected the continuity in the classroom .  Third, the classroom is a delicate education environment which relies on trust - not just between student and teacher, but between and among students as well.  The thought that a student could be secretly recording classroom discussions could be deterrent enough to prevent even a single student from participating in classroom discussions - which is an important component of the education process.  Fourth, I have seen at least one thread on this board bashing the other students in Matthew's class, and suggesting that colleges should interview them and ask why they were silent.  Now, their conduct (silence or otherwise) may not have been exemplary BUT these are children, and at different stages of intellectual and emotional maturity.  To expose them to an emotionally charged and confusing debate - about which even grown adults can differ on points - and then to subject them to public vilification for their conduct during a period when only Matthew knew what was occurring seems to be much to ask of most children.  Fifth, Matthew allowed a discussion to continue in a classroom that was so blatantly wrong and violative of the Constitution that Matthew felt the need to record it and release it to the media.  For Matthew to allow such a discussion to continue without correction so that he could nail the teacher initiating the conversation - while necessary - does diminish the education of the other students in the classroom as the "correction" which has (and will continue to) come was so far removed temporally to have the same impact as an immediate correction.

I would like to believe that the lessons learned by the students in exchange for the above consequences of Matthew's decision to record and release far outweigh any "harm" that may have occurred by Matthew recording in the classroom (and, if the students did not adequately learn such lessons, the blame is more appropriately placed at the feet of the administration).  But, such lessons are not part of the state mandated curriculum.  Instead, it was an independent and unilateral decision made by Matthew to barter this exchange of lessons, and he did so without the knowledge or consent of ANY party - guilty or innocent.  Don't get me wrong - great decisions are made this way.  But the party making the decision should at least acknowledge that they risked harm to innocent parties to serve the greater good.

Now, Matthew may be the greatest judge of character in human history (which, for argument's sake includes at least the last 6,000 years : )  And, as in the present case, I typically find that when you expect the worst in someone you are rarely disappointed.    However, the conduct of the contra parties that occurred AFTER Matthew recorded the class cannot excuse any issues that pertain to his decision to bring a tape recorder in the classroom.  I just wish that all of us who support Matthew's decision could at least acknowledge that this was a calculated risk on the part of Matthew and, while necessary to correct an otherwise uncorrectable sitauation, did involve some potential for harm to a number of individuals.  Hopefully, once acknowledged, Mr. P's supporters can appreciate the needs to take chances to effectuate real change, and to adjust the focus onto greater issues of debate.

Let’s begin by observing the obvious: You’re raising a series of ethical questions, excellent ones in my opinion. On some of them, I understand and appreciate your concern; on other points, I disagree with you vehemently and completely. In all cases, though, I deeply appreciate your tone and your thoughtfulness, and wish that the entire discussion of this matter had been conducted in the way you’re conducting it. Please, then, if any of my language seems personal or harsh, I do not intend it that way. You have offered us an example of how to have a discussion like this, and I hope to follow your lead.

With that preface, I’ll begin with a point of complete disagreement. A person gets one choice in a situation like this, not two or any other number. It makes no sense to say that what Matthew did was necessary, but on the other hand was “not above reproach.” I understand the distinction you’re trying to draw, I think, but at the end of the day it’s like asking someone to do two mutually exclusive things. Either he records or he doesn’t. If it was necessary, then it was ethical. Soldiers go to war knowing that they may cause deaths of innocent people, but I hope none of us would reproach them on that basis. Governments tax people knowing that those taxes will deplete their personal funds, but that doesn’t make taxation a reproachable act; it’s necessary for the welfare of the community. People drive cars knowing that they may accidentally kill a child who suddenly darts out into the street, but I don’t think people are “not above reproach” merely for driving their cars. We can’t hold our life decisions under a microscope, putting people under reproach every time they choose between competing values and/or interests. There was more than enough reason to record based on the information Matthew had at the time, and as you say yourself, it was necessary. It can’t also be reproachable. So I can’t fully accept your premise, but I can still discuss your points.

In essence you raise five issues of arguable harm to others. I’ll address each in turn.

1. The “harm” to the Muslim student in having her name released. To my recollection, only her first name made it through on the recordings we supplied, despite our redactions. I don’t think anyone could find her, and it wasn’t likely anyone would try. Her merely feeling a negative emotion about having her name mentioned is not enough of a harm, it seems to me, not to go forward. It’s no different than being filmed walking down the street. That happened to me one day. On coming into my office one morning a colleague told me I was on the 11:00 local news. They had filmed me walking down the street. I don’t see the harm, even though I looked disheveled because it was windy and raining. In this instance, the young lady did nothing wrong, and has nothing to be ashamed of, except perhaps in not speaking out herself against Mr. Paszkiewicz’s remarks about her religion. One could say that’s her business, but it goes beyond that. He denigrated everyone’s religion except his own, and she of all people should know it.

2. Distractions

a. “Distraction” to the educational process. On this point I disagree with you completely. Paszkiewicz was the one who distracted everyone from the educational process. He departed from and tried to undermine the curriculum to serve his own personal agenda. He stubbornly refused to do anything to rectify the damage he had done, allowing and from all appearances encouraging his supporters to turn his defense into a cross between a circus and a lynch mob. Every public comment he has made, or that others have made on his behalf, has made things worse. By contrast, Matthew was and is trying to put things back on track. To suggest that Matthew disrupted the educational process has things completely backward, not to mention the additional point, according to everything I hear, that classes went on as usual all last year, and the only student adversely affected by any of it was Matthew himself. I really think you’re off base here. By doing what he did, Matthew has highlighted the importance of important educational issues. I can think of no better way to get the message through than by doing what he did and is doing, as I expect you’ll soon hear about.

b. The class switch. Matthew didn’t ask for this. Paszkiewicz did. Please do not blame Matthew for the effects of Paszkiewicz’s blistering, nearly unfathomable stubbornness. That’s not fair, and it is not well taken.

3. Trust. There are multiple levels on which this can be addressed.

a. Can Matthew’s classmates trust him? To sit quietly while a renegade teacher violates the Constitution and babbles nonsense in support of commonly held misperceptions about science, while his adoring students sit mesmerized as though by the Pied Piper himself? No, they can’t trust him to sit idly by while that happens. Can they trust him to do what is best under the circumstances? 24/7.

b. Can anyone trust Paszkiewicz? Well, you can if you’re an extreme right-wing fundamentalist like he is, and agree with him that he knows more about every subject being taught in that school than all the other teachers combined, but you can’t trust him if you believe that scientists know more about science than ignorant and scientifically illiterate, self-styled local preachers do, or if you believe in the Constitution, or if you think that the educational system should be treated respectfully, or if you think that public school teachers have no business interjecting themselves into their students’ religious upbringing against the obvious wishes of the parents. It was Paszkiewicz who violated our trust by miseducating the students and violating the US Constitution, and then trying to cover his tracks, and then allowing his student to be attacked while doing nothing about it.

c. Can Matthew trust his classmates? Sadly, no. He can’t trust them to stand up and do what is right. He can’t trust them to understand the Constitution. He can’t trust them not to put their concern for their grade ahead of their integrity. He can’t trust them not to kiss the teacher’s . . . eyes to stay in his favor. He can’t trust most of them not to abandon him if things get a little tough. He can’t even trust many of them not to attack him. If they had done what they should have done, there would have been no need for any recordings to go public, because they would have demanded en masse that Paszkiewicz’s comments be addressed. In the law, we would say that their hands are not clean. They had responsibilities here, and they failed. I do not accept the excuse that they are 16 and 17 years old. I wouldn’t accept that from Matthew, and I don’t accept it from his classmates. If he can do what is right, so can they.

4. The conduct of the other students. See 3. c.

5. The lateness of corrections. It is completely unfair to blame Matthew for the administration’s and Board’s failure to make appropriate corrections until now. We asked them to do it immediately, and we continued asking. They refused until they finally agreed to do exactly what we asked them to do in the first place. If you want to talk about ethical rights and wrongs, it is wrong to suggest that this is in any way, shape or form Matthew’s fault, or ours. In addition, while the corrections may come too late, they also come very visibly, and that will make this a very hard set of lessons to forget.

I’ll withhold comment on the effects this is likely to have on Mr. Paszkiewicz’s supporters, if any, except to say that I don't think your diagnosis of what's bothering them is accurate. However, along with you, I’ll hope for the best.

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About the "extremist" right wing media, I don't really think they matter.  What matters most is the opinion of the people that live in Kearny and they overwhelmingly supported the teacher.  That must be worth far more to the teacher than the public commendation the BOE was legally bound to give Mathew under the terms of the settlement.  The praise Mr. P received from the people of Kearny was genuine.  It wasn't part of a legal settlement.

He was being praised for breaking the law. They like him precisely because they don't mind him breaking the law in their favor. Just like him lying to cover his ass doesn't seem to tarnish his integrity to you bozos.

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Let’s begin by observing the obvious: You’re raising a series of ethical questions, excellent ones in my opinion. On some of them, I understand and appreciate your concern; on other points, I disagree with you vehemently and completely. In all cases, though, I deeply appreciate your tone and your thoughtfulness, and wish that the entire discussion of this matter had been conducted in the way you’re conducting it. Please, then, if any of my language seems personal or harsh, I do not intend it that way. You have offered us an example of how to have a discussion like this, and I hope to follow your lead.

With that preface, I’ll begin with a point of complete disagreement. A person gets one choice in a situation like this, not two or any other number. It makes no sense to say that what Matthew did was necessary, but on the other hand was “not above reproach.” I understand the distinction you’re trying to draw, I think, but at the end of the day it’s like asking someone to do two mutually exclusive things. Either he records or he doesn’t. If it was necessary, then it was ethical. Soldiers go to war knowing that they may cause deaths of innocent people, but I hope none of us would reproach them on that basis. Governments tax people knowing that those taxes will deplete their personal funds, but that doesn’t make taxation a reproachable act; it’s necessary for the welfare of the community. People drive cars knowing that they may accidentally kill a child who suddenly darts out into the street, but I don’t think people are “not above reproach” merely for driving their cars. We can’t hold our life decisions under a microscope, putting people under reproach every time they choose between competing values and/or interests. There was more than enough reason to record based on the information Matthew had at the time, and as you say yourself, it was necessary. It can’t also be reproachable. So I can’t fully accept your premise, but I can still discuss your points.

In essence you raise five issues of arguable harm to others. I’ll address each in turn.

1. The “harm” to the Muslim student in having her name released. To my recollection, only her first name made it through on the recordings we supplied, despite our redactions. I don’t think anyone could find her, and it wasn’t likely anyone would try. Her merely feeling a negative emotion about having her name mentioned is not enough of a harm, it seems to me, not to go forward. It’s no different than being filmed walking down the street. That happened to me one day. On coming into my office one morning a colleague told me I was on the 11:00 local news. They had filmed me walking down the street. I don’t see the harm, even though I looked disheveled because it was windy and raining. In this instance, the young lady did nothing wrong, and has nothing to be ashamed of, except perhaps in not speaking out herself against Mr. Paszkiewicz’s remarks about her religion. One could say that’s her business, but it goes beyond that. He denigrated everyone’s religion except his own, and she of all people should know it.

2. Distractions

a. “Distraction” to the educational process. On this point I disagree with you completely. Paszkiewicz was the one who distracted everyone from the educational process. He departed from and tried to undermine the curriculum to serve his own personal agenda. He stubbornly refused to do anything to rectify the damage he had done, allowing and from all appearances encouraging his supporters to turn his defense into a cross between a circus and a lynch mob. Every public comment he has made, or that others have made on his behalf, has made things worse. By contrast, Matthew was and is trying to put things back on track. To suggest that Matthew disrupted the educational process has things completely backward, not to mention the additional point, according to everything I hear, that classes went on as usual all last year, and the only student adversely affected by any of it was Matthew himself. I really think you’re off base here. By doing what he did, Matthew has highlighted the importance of important educational issues. I can think of no better way to get the message through than by doing what he did and is doing, as I expect you’ll soon hear about.

b. The class switch. Matthew didn’t ask for this. Paszkiewicz did. Please do not blame Matthew for the effects of Paszkiewicz’s blistering, nearly unfathomable stubbornness. That’s not fair, and it is not well taken.

3. Trust. There are multiple levels on which this can be addressed.

a. Can Matthew’s classmates trust him? To sit quietly while a renegade teacher violates the Constitution and babbles nonsense in support of commonly held misperceptions about science, while his adoring students sit mesmerized as though by the Pied Piper himself? No, they can’t trust him to sit idly by while that happens. Can they trust him to do what is best under the circumstances? 24/7.

b. Can anyone trust Paszkiewicz? Well, you can if you’re an extreme right-wing fundamentalist like he is, and agree with him that he knows more about every subject being taught in that school than all the other teachers combined, but you can’t trust him if you believe that scientists know more about science than ignorant and scientifically illiterate, self-styled local preachers do, or if you believe in the Constitution, or if you think that the educational system should be treated respectfully, or if you think that public school teachers have no business interjecting themselves into their students’ religious upbringing against the obvious wishes of the parents. It was Paszkiewicz who violated our trust by miseducating the students and violating the US Constitution, and then trying to cover his tracks, and then allowing his student to be attacked while doing nothing about it.

c. Can Matthew trust his classmates? Sadly, no. He can’t trust them to stand up and do what is right. He can’t trust them to understand the Constitution. He can’t trust them not to put their concern for their grade ahead of their integrity. He can’t trust them not to kiss the teacher’s . . . eyes to stay in his favor. He can’t trust most of them not to abandon him if things get a little tough. He can’t even trust many of them not to attack him. If they had done what they should have done, there would have been no need for any recordings to go public, because they would have demanded en masse that Paszkiewicz’s comments be addressed. In the law, we would say that their hands are not clean. They had responsibilities here, and they failed. I do not accept the excuse that they are 16 and 17 years old. I wouldn’t accept that from Matthew, and I don’t accept it from his classmates. If he can do what is right, so can they.

4. The conduct of the other students. See 3. c.

5. The lateness of corrections. It is completely unfair to blame Matthew for the administration’s and Board’s failure to make appropriate corrections until now. We asked them to do it immediately, and we continued asking. They refused until they finally agreed to do exactly what we asked them to do in the first place. If you want to talk about ethical rights and wrongs, it is wrong to suggest that this is in any way, shape or form Matthew’s fault, or ours. In addition, while the corrections may come too late, they also come very visibly, and that will make this a very hard set of lessons to forget.

I’ll withhold comment on the effects this is likely to have on Mr. Paszkiewicz’s supporters, if any, except to say that I don't think your diagnosis of what's bothering them is accurate. However, along with you, I’ll hope for the best.

Hi Paul ... excellent, excellent responses to all of the above and - just like your reply to me, I agree with some and vehemently disagree with others.

There ... that's not so hard to do without devolving into name-calling after all (wish others could follow suit).

We could go back and forth on this for awhile debating these points. And at the end of the day, all the conclusions will be subjective. But let me leave you with this - I think that Matthew acted ethically. I'm not sure why some people have recently been torching the other kids in the classroom for keeping quiet when Mr. P was pr/teaching - at age 16, (a) not everyone has the maturity level to deal with this type of conflict, (B) even fewer have the intellectual capacity or experience to understand, appreciate and apply the Establishment Clause to the teacher's discussion, and © even fewer still have been exposed to the the religious discussions/beliefs/attitudes that you have shared with him. But, for those reasons I think Matthew is an exceptional 16-year old. And, despite those reasons, the conduct of the students following Matthew's reporting of the incident (i.e., harrassment) was wrong - not matter the level of maturity or intellect.

And while I suggested, and still maintain, that Matthew's could have chosen an alternative course of action which MAY have yielded positive results (who knows - maybe Mr. P is as pig-headed as I am and would have reacted in a more positive way had Matthew addressed his comments in class and followed up with him directly before going to Mr. Somma ... or maybe not), there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. P and the administration made ALL of the wrong steps from the time of Matthew's first meeting until the Board finally acknowledged Matthew's efforts. And I agree that it was that conduct that exacerbated the harm to the students that ultimately resulted from this incident.

My only regret for Matthew is that - although he learned some great lessons about character and human nature - it is a shame that he had to learn them so early.

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Hi Paul ... excellent, excellent responses to all of the above and - just like your reply to me, I agree with some and vehemently disagree with others. 

There ... that's not so hard to do without devolving into name-calling after all (wish others could follow suit).

We could go back and forth on this for awhile debating these points.  And at the end of the day, all the conclusions will be subjective.  But let me leave you with this - I think that Matthew acted ethically.  I'm not sure why some people have recently been torching the other kids in the classroom for keeping quiet when Mr. P was pr/teaching - at age 16, (a) not everyone has the maturity level to deal with this type of conflict, (B) even fewer have the intellectual capacity or experience to understand, appreciate and apply the Establishment Clause to the teacher's discussion, and © even fewer still have been exposed to the the religious discussions/beliefs/attitudes that you have shared with him.  But, for those reasons I think Matthew is an exceptional 16-year old.  And, despite those reasons, the conduct of the students following Matthew's reporting of the incident (i.e., harrassment) was wrong - not matter the level of maturity or intellect.

And while I suggested, and still maintain, that Matthew's could have chosen an alternative course of action which MAY have yielded positive results (who knows - maybe Mr. P is as pig-headed as I am and would have reacted in a more positive way had Matthew addressed his comments in class and followed up with him directly before going to Mr. Somma ... or maybe not), there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. P and the administration made ALL of the wrong steps from the time of Matthew's first meeting until the Board finally acknowledged Matthew's efforts.  And I agree that it was that conduct that exacerbated the harm to the students that ultimately resulted from this incident.

My only regret for Matthew is that - although he learned some great lessons about character and human nature - it is a shame that he had to learn them so early.

When I was in college (Univ. of Michigan) I had a history professor who had a reputation being lazy, probably deserved. Just the same, I'll never forget two of his lectures in particular. One was about how students in Israel were signing up to join the Israeli army, while students in the United States were doing everything they could to stay out of the military and Viet Nam. The other was his final lecture of the semester, where he spent the whole time building up to --- nothing, the point being, life is now, don't miss it. The second of these in particular had no history in it at all, but of all the lectures in college it's the one I remember the best, and the one that made the most difference for me.

The lessons Matthew has learned from the past year's experiences have made him stronger. In the long run, they'll mean more than all the academics combined. He walked into the battle, saw it through and prevailed. While I wish his junior year had been easier, the rewards over a lifetime are extraordinary.

The best we can hope for in any situation in life is that we learn and grow from it. Thank you for understanding, and for speaking your mind in an exemplary way.

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My only regret for Matthew is that - although he learned some great lessons about character and human nature - it is a shame that he had to learn them so early.

Seriously; talk about a baptism by fire.

I understand what you were saying about the other classmates possibly not being at the same 'level' to react the way Matthew did, but this is the only problem I see with that: that is one thing, but the fact that not a one of them even eventually decided to join Matthew as the facts came out and it became more and more clear that Paszkiewicz and the board were acting foolishly (to say the least) makes it seem a lot more like they didn't act because they could see no faults in a beloved teacher that had obviously done wrong, and were, as a result, as blind to the facts of the issue as Paszkiewicz himself is to the intentions of the founding fathers in establishing separation of church and state.

In other words--isolated, your explanation/suggestion flies, but the lack of action over the months this all occurred, makes it a lot less plausible, imho.

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There is a factual basis. Other students who have had this teacher said he did it before. In court, we call that evidence, and if the fact-finder believes it, it is called a fact.

Paul maybe you should insturuct the people of Kearny what the legal terminology is called when individuals lie about court recorded material facts on closed cases.

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Seriously; talk about a baptism by fire.

I understand what you were saying about the other classmates possibly not being at the same 'level' to react the way Matthew did, but this is the only problem I see with that: that is one thing, but the fact that not a one of them even eventually decided to join Matthew as the facts came out and it became more and more clear that Paszkiewicz and the board were acting foolishly (to say the least) makes it seem a lot more like they didn't act because they could see no faults in a beloved teacher that had obviously done wrong, and were, as a result, as blind to the facts of the issue as Paszkiewicz himself is to the intentions of the founding fathers in establishing separation of church and state.

In other words--isolated, your explanation/suggestion flies, but the lack of action over the months this all occurred, makes it a lot less plausible, imho.

No Matthew LaClair, they are not at that level because they wouldn't stoop that low. And the only one who keeps acting foolishly is you with comments like the ones you post here trying to defend yourself. What good did Paul and you solve? Mr. Paskiewicz is still teaching and you have done nothing, except post your childish posts here. You should be ashamed of yourself. You speak of the people of Kearny being blind, but the only three blind mice here are Paul, Strife, and Matthew. Maybe they are not mice, but rats.

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When I was in college (Univ. of Michigan when it was rated in the top five nationally) I had a history professor who had a reputation being lazy, probably deserved. Just the same, I'll never forget two of his lectures in particular. One was about how students in Israel were signing up to join the Israeli army, while students in the United States were doing everything they could to stay out of the military and Viet Nam. The other was his final lecture of the semester, where he spent the whole time building up to --- nothing, the point being, life is now, don't miss it. The second of these in particular had no history in it at all, but of all the lectures in college it's the one I remember the best, and the one that made the most difference for me.

The lessons Matthew has learned from the past year's experiences have made him stronger. In the long run, they'll mean more than all the academics combined. He walked into the battle, saw it through and prevailed. While I wish his junior year had been easier, the rewards over a lifetime are extraordinary.

The best we can hope for in any situation in life is that we learn and grow from it. Thank you for understanding, and for speaking your mind in an exemplary way.

Yeah, something told me you were not going to run off to Southeast Asia to slug it out shoulder to shoulder with your countrymen.

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Paul maybe you should insturuct the people of Kearny what the legal terminology is called when individuals lie about court recorded material facts on closed cases.

I'd be happy to do that, but your question isn't at all clear.

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When I was in college (Univ. of Michigan) I had a history professor who had a reputation being lazy, probably deserved. Just the same, I'll never forget two of his lectures in particular. One was about how students in Israel were signing up to join the Israeli army, while students in the United States were doing everything they could to stay out of the military and Viet Nam. The other was his final lecture of the semester, where he spent the whole time building up to --- nothing, the point being, life is now, don't miss it. The second of these in particular had no history in it at all, but of all the lectures in college it's the one I remember the best, and the one that made the most difference for me.

The lessons Matthew has learned from the past year's experiences have made him stronger. In the long run, they'll mean more than all the academics combined. He walked into the battle, saw it through and prevailed. While I wish his junior year had been easier, the rewards over a lifetime are extraordinary.

The best we can hope for in any situation in life is that we learn and grow from it. Thank you for understanding, and for speaking your mind in an exemplary way.

   

      More evidence of Paul's paranoia, drawing an analogy between the military and Dad & Lad's battle with the fundamentalists.

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Seriously; talk about a baptism by fire.

I understand what you were saying about the other classmates possibly not being at the same 'level' to react the way Matthew did, but this is the only problem I see with that: that is one thing, but the fact that not a one of them even eventually decided to join Matthew as the facts came out and it became more and more clear that Paszkiewicz and the board were acting foolishly (to say the least) makes it seem a lot more like they didn't act because they could see no faults in a beloved teacher that had obviously done wrong, and were, as a result, as blind to the facts of the issue as Paszkiewicz himself is to the intentions of the founding fathers in establishing separation of church and state.

In other words--isolated, your explanation/suggestion flies, but the lack of action over the months this all occurred, makes it a lot less plausible, imho.

Yeah, I see your point. But at the same time, I try to put it in context of what I remember from high school ... y'know, back in the dark ages. The unbelieveable pressure to conform combined with the stringent religious upbringing set the table ... and then the complete intolerance of individual thought or action that permeates the town adds to the problem.

Another point, you refer to Mr. P as the "beloved", but the truth of the matter is that he really was very popular. And I'm sure he earned that in some fashion - probably because no one had previously "called" him on preaching in class. Still, it's easier when you don't know the guy to stand back and lob grenades at him. But I think that much of the original support was by people who did not want to believe that he would do such a thing. And then, much of the continued support is/was from people who knew him, and didn't want to turn their backs on him (and who couldn't separate his ideas from him as a person). I think many of the students fell into that category.

The problem is that no one took the time to teach the kids about debate and conflict resolution. If the kids had been trained to separate disagreement with someone's opinions from disapproval of an individual personally, I really believe that a lot of the "support" for Mr. P's opinions would have diminished, and a lot of the harrassment of Matthew would have been reduced.

Now, I don't want you to think I'm trying to "excuse" any of the harrassment, because it's dead wrong. I'm just trying to highlight some of the reasons for harrassment. Going forward, I think that Matthew will be subjected to continued harrassment as there will be many who will be jealous of Matthew's awards. Fortunately, or unfortunately, he's probably gotten used to it by now.

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Yeah, something told me you were not going to run off to Southeast Asia to slug it out shoulder to shoulder with your countrymen.

I came of draft age the year after the draft ended. A lottery was instituted by birth date, and my lottery number was 41 out of 365. Though I did not support the war, I registered for the draft and carried my card. I was not drafted and did not volunteer to serve. Like many young men my age, I was not eager to be cannon fodder in an unjust war and a hopeless military venture that could not succeed. By that time, most of us believed that the war was not in our country's best interests, and that our service would have accomplished nothing. By the time I was of age to serve, all of that was obvious. Nixon had already been in office for three years, having claimed (falsely) to have a secret plan to end the war. What happened to many of the veterans who returned from that war, having fought bravely in the sincere belief that their service was needed, was wrong; but so was sending still more young men (almost exclusively men at that time) to give their lives for a unsalvageable mistake. It was an abysmal failure by our leadership and in particular Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, but unfortunately people in power today, most especially Dick Cheney, still have not learned the lessons of that tragic mistake.

Unlike the two chicken hawks currently in the White House, I was not a hypocrite. Unlike them, I did not support the war and then do everything possible to avoid serving in it. Had I done that, I would have had the integrity to appreciate that it disqualified me for public service on the national level. It is absolutely shocking that Bush and Cheney were allowed to attain positions of high national office, let alone the presidency and vice-presidency, with that history. It is understandable that those who oppose a war like the one in Viet Nam, which was questionable at best on many levels, would prefer not to serve and act accordingly, at least within the law. Supporting the war and then insisting that others fight it is a disqualifying character flaw: an act of cowardice and betrayal, and a clear signal that such individuals think themselves better than everyone else. It tells you that such individuals do not care about their country, but only about themselves.

It is absolutely shocking that the American people overlooked this, considering especially how obvious and how basic it is. We and the world are now paying the price for the callousness of these two cowardly and utterly unpatriotic men, whose only concern, obviously, is for themselves and those in their inner circle. Historians will look back in disbelief that the American people allowed to happen. This is strong language, I know, but history will not look kindly on these two, or on those of us who allowed this to happen.

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they are not at that level because they wouldn't stoop that low.

So unwillingness to stop supporting a proven liar is stooping low? Explain that, please.

And the only one who keeps acting foolishly is you

Sorry, but I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I 'comebacks' like these only work on other children (or their intellectual equivalents). It's wasted on me, I'm afraid.

Let me know when you have something constructive to say.

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Yeah, I see your point.  But at the same time, I try to put it in context of what I remember from high school ... y'know, back in the dark ages.  The unbelieveable pressure to conform combined with the stringent religious upbringing set the table ... and then the complete intolerance of individual thought or action that permeates the town adds to the problem.

I understand that. It's not like I put 100% of the blame on the kids; the stuff above does make a difference in altering the mindset itself. If someone's brought up that way, they are indeed much less likely to be willing to 'make waves,' even if they do agree with Matthew. Still, there's strength in numbers, and it really should have been encouraged in this case, when it was just so incredibly obvious how in the wrong Mr. P. was.

Another point, you refer to Mr. P as the "beloved", but the truth of the matter is that he really was very popular.

Oh no, you misunderstand. I did not say that with the slightest bit of sarcasm; I'm well aware that his popularity was most likely a primary reason he was both not spoken against before, and not this time either, except for one student.

it's easier when you don't know the guy to stand back and lob grenades at him.

Yes it is, but no matter how much I know, care about, or even love someone, I will not defend their lying. So, I can't say I'd be acting any differently even if I was a close friend of Paskiewicz's and I found out this all happened.

But I think that much of the original support was by people who did not want to believe that he would do such a thing.  And then, much of the continued support is/was from people who knew him, and didn't want to turn their backs on him (and who couldn't separate his ideas from him as a person).  I think many of the students fell into that category.

That's most likely true--doesn't make it right, though (not saying that you think it does).

The problem is that no one took the time to teach the kids about debate and conflict resolution.

I'm guessing they could have been better educated on the Consitution too--at least then they'd know that Paszkiewicz was doing something he wasn't supposed to, and would know why, too.

If the kids had been trained to separate disagreement with someone's opinions from disapproval of an individual personally, I really believe that a lot of the "support" for Mr. P's opinions would have diminished, and a lot of the harrassment of Matthew would have been reduced.

Definitely--but just as definitely it's not just the kids that need that lesson. If you were at the February meeting, you would see that the vast majority of Paszkiewicz's supporters were, regardless of their ages, of the mindset that Matthew wasn't simply pointing out inappropriate teaching, but was trying to do one or more of the following:

1) Attack Christianity

2) Destroy Paszkiewicz's career

3) Promote an "atheistic agenda" (usually paired with #1)

It has been very frustrating for me personally to see this kind of knee-jerk reaction that really has zero to do with the actual issue.

It's good to talk to someone who's actually using their head once in a while--thanks. :lol:

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When I was in college (Univ. of Michigan) I had a history professor who had a reputation being lazy, probably deserved. Just the same, I'll never forget two of his lectures in particular. One was about how students in Israel were signing up to join the Israeli army, while students in the United States were doing everything they could to stay out of the military and Viet Nam. The other was his final lecture of the semester, where he spent the whole time building up to --- nothing, the point being, life is now, don't miss it. The second of these in particular had no history in it at all, but of all the lectures in college it's the one I remember the best, and the one that made the most difference for me.

The lessons Matthew has learned from the past year's experiences have made him stronger. In the long run, they'll mean more than all the academics combined. He walked into the battle, saw it through and prevailed. While I wish his junior year had been easier, the rewards over a lifetime are extraordinary.

The best we can hope for in any situation in life is that we learn and grow from it. Thank you for understanding, and for speaking your mind in an exemplary way.

First of all you ignorant turd, Matthew never walked into any battle. He never even crawled into one because daddy made sure he had security around him 24/7 as soon as he entered the school property. What Matthew did was sneaky and underhanded and if you think that makes him a better man, than I assume he is following in his father's footsteps. You keep trying to hide the truth and as much as you BS here, the people who were there know the truth.

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