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Guest American Muckracker

I love how it's precisely because he wanted to expose corruption for the sake of others do many of you want to see the young man crucified (and I use the analogy deliberately).

If anything, the young man is an example of the proud tradition of American exceptionalism and commitment to fairness and justice. Many of what you guys argue about were those arguments posed against MANY Americans who morphed our country today: Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Muckrakers of the early 20th century (Sinclair, Tarbell, etc).

Fighting for freedom is NOT the only way we can commit ourself to freedom. We need to have justice and equality -- and the kid did the best thing to uphold these beliefs.

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Guest A. Scalia

So your son doesn't have the courage to tell the teacher "no," but he does have the courage to surreptitiously record him after asking him questions designed to ellicit specific responses? He fears for his grades, but he makes a national spectacle of the incident by bringing it to the news media. Is this not the same boy who has the "courage" to disrespect all those who made real sacrifices for the Constitution by his refusal to participate in the flag salute?

While it is well-established that your son was legally correct in his actions, morally I find the method in which he carried out his stunts reprehensible. It seems that your son is the left-wing equivalent of a police officer standing on Kearny Ave. and writing every car a speeding ticket for traveling 26 in a 25, because he can. Discretion is as much a part of the law as action, and taking action just because you can is not always best for the people. We don't have to stand for the flag salute; we can be disrespectful. We don't have to honor our teachers; we can be disrespectful. We don't even have to be nice to people on the street; we can be disrespectful. Just because we are given all these freedoms doesn't mean we should exercise disrespect.

Your son is a child and a student. If you felt that this teacher was infringing on your son's Constitutional protections, then the issue should have been resolved parent to teacher. This is a high school history class, not an ACLU sting operation. To make your son into an undercover wire-wearing informant instead of handling the problem between adults demonstrates to children that it is okay to disrespect the student-teacher relationship.

Mr. P was not right in expressing his religious beliefs in class. He may not be right about his scientific beliefs. However, as a former student of his, I can attest that his History teaching hits the mark. And as a teacher who has worked hard to master his field, Mr. P. deserves more respect than to have a student point out his mistakes to a national audience.

In this context, the explanation is as follows:

Even in a case where he asks "is it OK with you if I proselytize my religion," how many students would have the courage to tell him no? As the authority figure he has power, including power over students' grades. In a country founded on religious freedom for everyone, one person being offended or intimidated is too many. That is why the legal rule is absolute: he may not do it even if the class "consents."

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Guest Guest
In this context, the explanation is as follows:

The teacher is the authority figure in the classroom, and the state's representative. As such, he may not express his opinions on religious beliefs, because when he does so he speaks with the authority of the state, even if he makes it clear that he is only expressing his opinion. To see this more clearly if you are a Christian, imagine that the teacher was a Muslim cleric. Would you be so willing to defend him if he told the class that anyone who does not follow Allah and believe in the Koran "belongs in hell?" Very likely you would feel that he was using his position of authority to force his views on you, and what an agressive and insulting statement that is! Think about what he is saying. Even in a case where he asks "is it OK with you if I proselytize my religion," how many students would have the courage to tell him no? As the authority figure he has power, including power over students' grades. In a country founded on religious freedom for everyone, one person being offended or intimidated is too many. That is why the legal rule is absolute: he may not do it even if the class "consents."

Does this infringe on his rights? Absolutely not. He is free to express his religious opinions outside his function as a public school teacher. In that capacity, he represents the public. He took this job by choice, and he must abide by the law. And there's no question he knows the law, because he complained about it, and then broke it. In his capacity as a public school teacher, he must be completely neutral on religious matters.

Does it deprive the students of anything? In Paszkiewicz's case, while some may agree with his rants, his methods amount to intellectual bullying. His rants did more harm than good. Though he sometimes allows students to express contrary views within the context of Christianity, he asserts with dogmatic certitude that Christianity is the word of God. So any student who does not confirm to what he thinks is Christianity is shut down. Listen very carefully to the recordings, and you will hear this. It is completely impermissible under our Constitution, and completely contrary to the principle of religious freedom for all.

On matters of science, Paszkiewicz is abysmally ignorant. The big bang, for example. He dismisses it with the "argument" that nothing cannot explode and become something. This is a complete mischaracterization of the theory. The big bang holds that extremely dense matter exploded, not that "nothing exploded." Then he compares the big bang to an exploding firecracker, arguing that explosions do not result in order.  Here, he ignores the fact that a firecracker does not result in the formation of bodies massive enough to have a gravitational pull. He completely ignores the fact that the scientific community all over the world accepts the big bang as the most likely explanation we have for the formation of the universe. And on what basis? What does he know about science? Obviously, almost nothing. This is not education. Just the opposite, it is the promotion of ignorance and misinformation, one the worst things a teacher can do.

Instead of teaching his students, Paszkiewicz reinforced some of the worst and most dangerous biases in our culture. That goes beyond your question, but I do think it is important.

I am Matt's dad. As you may now know, I am an attorney practicing for 29 years. I welcome all questions posed in a respectful manner by people who are actually willing to hear and evaluate the answers.

It is against the teacher's contract to record him without his permission. Not to mention underhanded and sleazy. Maybe Matt needs a class in morals and ethics.

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Guest Bob
What America stands for, as I understand it, is freedom. There is no freedom in being forced or coerced into singing a song or reciting a pledge. While these things have their place, the minute they become so firmly engrained that everyone just expects them to be done, they lose their meaning.

Speaking of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, Ronald Reagan once said "We never had to put up a wall to keep our people in." The beauty of a national anthem or pledge is that people sing or recite because they are free. Force us to do it, and the exercise loses all its meaning. The only places where such things are done are places like Nazi Germany.

Standing for the pledge today does nothing to help our troops or make our country safer. Declining to stand is a visible reminder that we are still free to dissent, and a caution to a nation that has recently given too much authority, without questioning, to one man. A majority, perhaps the vast majority of Americans may disagree, but when they cannot tolerate dissent, our freedom is in serious danger.

So I respectfully suggest that those who think they know everything there is to know about freedom think again about what it really means. No one is asking them not to stand and salute. However, the one who reminds us that we cannot be forced to do so provides a very valuable and important reminder. Do not presume to judge Matthew's motives when you do not understand them.

Paul,

Yes, America does stand for freedom, but who is forcing you to stand or salute or recite a pledge?

By saying the "PLEGDE" you are reaffirming the freedom of which you want to exercise, but you chose to be a rebel and sit and not recite it!!

Declining to stand "is a visible reminder that we are still free to dissent", you are one sick man!! THIS IS JUST A REMINDER OF PEOPLE ABUSING THEIR FREEDOM!!

Again, no one is forcing you to do anything, if you were a true American, believed in freedom and exercised it daily, you would stand, salute, recite, not because you are forced to, but as an AMERICAN you should want to!!! RESPECT the country that allows you all these freedoms which you abuse!!

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Guest Guest
What America stands for, as I understand it, is freedom. There is no freedom in being forced or coerced into singing a song or reciting a pledge. While these things have their place, the minute they become so firmly engrained that everyone just expects them to be done, they lose their meaning.

Speaking of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, Ronald Reagan once said "We never had to put up a wall to keep our people in." The beauty of a national anthem or pledge is that people sing or recite because they are free. Force us to do it, and the exercise loses all its meaning. The only places where such things are done are places like Nazi Germany.

Standing for the pledge today does nothing to help our troops or make our country safer. Declining to stand is a visible reminder that we are still free to dissent, and a caution to a nation that has recently given too much authority, without questioning, to one man. A majority, perhaps the vast majority of Americans may disagree, but when they cannot tolerate dissent, our freedom is in serious danger.

So I respectfully suggest that those who think they know everything there is to know about freedom think again about what it really means. No one is asking them not to stand and salute. However, the one who reminds us that we cannot be forced to do so provides a very valuable and important reminder. Do not presume to judge Matthew's motives when you do not understand them.

It's disrespectful period. Disrespectful to all of the people that lost life and limb to give you and your son the rights you have. And many of those people made those sacrifices not believing in what they were doing was right, but because their government and country asked them to do it. So, please don't compare your son's "courage" to those sacrifices.

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Guest Guest
He is willing to be lonely to do the right thing. It's called integrity. The teacher was wrong, and he proved it the only possible way. The other students weren't going to support him without hard evidence. They aren't even supporting him with the evidence.

Doing the right thing, even though your community and your peers may not agree. It's also called courage. I'll take that over the throngs of go-alongs seven days a week.

I'll take the go-alongs any time over the sneaks like your son.

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Guest Guest

So your son doesn't have the courage to tell the teacher "no," but he does have the courage to surreptitiously record him after asking him questions designed to ellicit specific responses? He fears for his grades, but he makes a national spectacle of the incident by bringing it to the news media. Is this not the same boy who has the "courage" to disrespect all those who made real sacrifices for the Constitution by his refusal to participate in the flag salute?

While it is well-established that your son was legally correct in his actions, morally I find the method in which he carried out his stunts reprehensible. It seems that your son is the left-wing equivalent of a police officer standing on Kearny Ave. and writing every car a speeding ticket for traveling 26 in a 25, because he can. Discretion is as much a part of the law as action, and taking action just because you can is not always best for the people. We don't have to stand for the flag salute; we can be disrespectful. We don't have to honor our teachers; we can be disrespectful. We don't even have to be nice to people on the street; we can be disrespectful. Just because we are given all these freedoms doesn't mean we should exercise disrespect.

Your son is a child and a student. If you felt that this teacher was infringing on your son's Constitutional protections, then the issue should have been resolved parent to teacher. This is a high school history class, not an ACLU sting operation. To make your son into an undercover wire-wearing informant instead of handling the problem between adults demonstrates to children that it is okay to disrespect the student-teacher relationship.

Mr. P was not right in expressing his religious beliefs in class. He may not be right about his scientific beliefs. However, as a former student of his, I can attest that his History teaching hits the mark. And as a teacher who has worked hard to master his field, Mr. P. deserves more respect than to have a student point out his mistakes to a national audience.

In this context, the explanation is as follows:

Even in a case where he asks "is it OK with you if I proselytize my religion," how many students would have the courage to tell him no? As the authority figure he has power, including power over students' grades. In a country founded on religious freedom for everyone, one person being offended or intimidated is too many. That is why the legal rule is absolute: he may not do it even if the class "consents."

Matt had more than enough courage to tell the teacher "no." It would have been far easier than this. When you phrase it that way, you make your own biases obvious. He chose to do it this way. It was his choice, though I fully supported it. He has taken on far more than I would have at his age, and I have no hesitation to admit that he is more courageous than I am. But you are quite right that he is my son, so you blame it on me if you want to. He has taken more than enough heat for doing the right thing.

You also reveal your biases when you call his other actions disrespectful. They are no such thing. Sitting quietly and peacably while others participate in a ritual is entirely respectful. Forcing and abusing those who march to a different drummer is not. Matthew is making a statement about freedom, a very important one considering the direction the country is heading. Again, I never had the courage to sit out the pledge. He has it. I admire him for it. You are free to disagree, but at least call it what it is.

Why are you defending the teacher's conduct? I ask again: If this was a Muslim teacher telling your mostly Christian children that they will go to hell if they do not accept Allah and the Koran, would you say the same thing? Why are you not upset at the disrespect this teacher showed every non-Christian in this town? Does it have anything to do with who is in the majority? If so, what does that say about what kind of "freedom" we really believe in?

It is painfully obvious listening to the recordings that as good as Mr. P. is when he actually teaches history, he was deliberately proselytizing, knowing it to be a Constitutional violation. Had Matthew merely confronted him, he would have stopped in that class and continued to do it everywhere else. Are you aware he denied making most of these statements in the meeting in the principal's office? Are you aware that he would have gotten away with it if Matthew had not recorded him? Are you aware that we practically begged the administration to resolve this with us privately, but they refused? Had either they or Mr. P acted honorably, this would have been resolved without all the media exposure. So how about pointing the finger at the guilty parties, and meanwhile look what people outside Kearny are saying. This was no small infraction. It was an outrage, and all the world knows it except those here who happen to like Mr. P. He may be everything you say he is, but he has no one to blame for this but himself, and the administration has nothing to blame for any legal action that may follow but its own intransigence.

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Guest Guest

I have been following this story in the news and now on this board, and I have to say it seems this boy (or from what I'm reading on here, his father) has taken an issue that he was clearly in the right to be disturbed about, and then in his actions has alienated himself and actually looks like the bad guy.

As a lawyer, I would think you would want to advise your client that the court of public opinion is a very important one, and because of his cowardness, and really yours, the teacher no longer looks like the bad guy, your son does.

Did you go to the teacher or principal Mr. LeClair? Not Matt, but you. I am a father, and if my son was having problems with a class, my course of action wouldn't have been to tell my child “tape him and we'll nail his ass" (maybe I'm paraphrasing, I unfortunately didn't get to tape your conversations with your son), it would instead have been to set up an appointment myself, and try to remedy any problems. You seem to be very quick to come to his defense now, I'm just wondering why you didn't feel you should get involved in his classes and problems right away. Puzzling.

Additionally, what result were you looking for? News stations covered the story, Papers printed it. The school stated it has taken action. What that action is, is really not up to you. I'm not involved in the school, but I would imagine they have the right to deal with problems as they see fit. Whatever action they took, really needs to be accepted and move on. Or have you decided to start responding in these forums now because you know the real problem is over, and you can't help but try to continue throwing fuel on the fire?

Again, as I stated, I believe the teacher was in the wrong originally, but it seems that you've made your point and the school says it's been corrected. I would imagine the only thing to do now is wait to see if he continues with the inappropriate discussions. If he does, by all means call Al Roker again. If he doesn't, be quiet.

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Guest Paul
Dear Matt's Dad, what are you doing to your son? You are making his school life a living hell.  Do you think it's worth it for your son to not have friends in high school? Do you think it's worth it for your son to be looked at by anyone he comes in contact with to be suspicious of him?  Anyone who comes within a few feet of your son is wary. Is that what you want for him? I understand the point you are trying to make, however it's YOUR point, not your son's. Whatever spills out of his mouth is you and your wife. He's only a kid, and within the last two years he has pushed buttons by not standing for the flag salute, by posting things on his locker and tape recording a class, fellow students and teacher without their knowledge. I truely believe this is abusive on your part. My kids were in Mr. P's class too. And as I told them from about the 7th grade on, you are going to meet all kinds of people in this world. You know what your own beliefs are, you know the person you are, let it go in one ear and out the other and be your own person. What is your son going to do when he has a boss that expresses things that your son doesn't agree with? Take the guy to court? Probably. He'll be fighting his whole life.

I feel in my heart that you are using your son to expouse your own inadequecies. Just like the Dad who pushes his kid in football, baseball or soccer. Living what you wanted to do in your life, but didn't accomplish so you live it through your kids. Enough is enough already. Let your son be a kid and have some fun. I say all of this very sincerely.

I appreciate your sincerity, but what do you know about our home life or the degree of Matthew's independence? Not very much, judging from your comments. You are entirely correct that many of the views Matthew holds he learned from me, just like the views of the youngsters supporting Mr. P come from their parents. You just don't agree. That is your right, but why are we less free to hold a contrary point of view, even if we're the only ones in town to hold it? This was his choice, though I fully support it.

Nearly every observer from outside Kearny has taken Matthew's side. He has been called a hero, and cited for his courage in Australia. Maybe there's another way of looking at it.

As for your advice, sometimes a person has the courage and the integrity to choose the right course over the easy course. This episode is a perfect illustration why almost no one ever rocks the boat. I freely admit that my son has more courage than I have. So while I truly appreciate your concern, I would prefer that you think this through and be a part of the calming that must now take place if our town is to make any sense out of this. I certainly see no purpose in continuing to berate the young man, or me for that matter. Do you?

Some people take stands. That's who they are. Martin Luther King took stands, and he paid for them. I am painfully aware of the risk, and so is he. Yet MLK is now perhaps the closest we have to a national saint. You want me to tell him no. I can't do that. Think about it. This is a very special young man.

So yes, enough is enough. Leave him alone and let him get back to his work. There isn't a problem here that someone else isn't causing.

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Guest Guest
OMG... after reading these resonses I would say that pretty much all of the students in this school are in trouble.... the spelling mistakes, the grammar mistakes, the poor construction of thoughts..... not to mention the complete lack of ability to argue a point....

BTW... the adult responses don't seem to fare any better.... just sad  <_<

Maybe the teachers should stick to teaching their subjects.... at least the community memebers would be able to write.

"MEMEBERS" ????

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Guest Guest
<_< why is the town having problems with the best teacher to hit town in years!A PROUD AMERICAN IS 100 % RIGHT! the town has lost its way in the dark! and kearny IS IN ITS DARK DAYS! the very thing that our life and laws are made of is at risk! when god is left out of teaching in school the very way of life in the usa is at risk! thats just what UBL WANTS! the town folk NEEDS TO WAKE UP AND ASK GOD TO FORGIVE THE STUPID DUMB THINGS SOME FOLK ARE SAYING! this is a good time for kearny to " repent" for pushing god out of schools and every day life  ;)

Because he broke the law then lied about it. If he didn't know it was wrong, why did he deny doing it? Got an answer?

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Guest Paul
If you are from Kearny then by now you have heard a story that has been blown WAY OUT OF PROPORTION.

A student of KHS, one Matthew LaClair has gone to the newspaper stating that a teacher has been forcing his religious views in is history class.

Now I am all for having freedom of speech, but I also believe every subject has a place and time for discussion; and religion in a history class is not that place.

HOWEVER!!!! This 16 year old CHILD, is nothing more than an attention seeking, immature person, who is also been known to "previously garnered attention for protesting Bush administration activities by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance" (the lippar blog) I will include this website at the end of my rant!

This kid thinks he is so self rightcious and claims he “was requesting an apology and correction of false and anti-scientific statements" (the lippard blog).

If you listen to the audio (which I will also supply the site to) you can clearly hear that Laclair PROVOKED the conversation, and you can hear that the teacher had responded QUITE APPROPRIATELY:

One example being:

Matthew: isn't the whole point of public schools is so that you can separate personal beliefs from teachers and administrators from non religious teachings during school, like school prayer and all that.

teacher: the purpose of public school is to provide free education for people that couldn't afford education. That’s the purpose of public school

Matthew: what would decide what religion should be taught in school, what would decide that?

teacher: no it's not about teaching, my point is it's not about teaching religion, these issues all come up in time, ( tape fades out) things get legislated and we talk in class

the public school shouldn't teach a religion but the scriptures aren't religion they are a foundation of the worlds religion, the world main religion any way.

religion is a set way of doing things

In the conversation above, taken my Matthew Laclair himself, i see no wrong doing by this teacher, i do however see constant and what seems to be "rehearsed" provoking of the topic.

I hope he is reading this right now, because I just have one question for him: What on earth was the need to go to the newspaper? Laclair stated that he had a meeting with the principle, teacher, and the head of the social studies department and at first they did not seem to believe him but then he pulled out the cd's.....which in itself violated this teachers right to privacy.

So again, my question, after laclair proved himself with the cd's why did he not wait for administrative action to take place? There was no need to go to the newspaper, and I think in doing so, this Matthew laclair just proves that he is a 16 year old high school student, and therefore has ALOT to learn before he goes off starting religious wars, and pledge of allegiance protest in the United States of America, a country that has always, and especially since 9/11 shown great pride in our ONE NATION UNDER GOD!!!!

ps: a little side note for everyone reading this who disagrees: stating your views on religion and "forcing your beliefs on someone" is two COMPLELTY DIFFERENT THINGS.

so I would like to say to everyone who agrees or disagrees, we are all here in this nation, in this community together, and my religion is Roman Catholic, so when I say GOD BLESS YOU, I’m not forcing my views, I’m using my faith to wish you health and happiness

GOD BLESS you all

PPS: if this offends anyone then tough, because I AM offended that a wonderful teacher is being persecuted by an unknowledgeable juvenile for merely stating what he believes in. Also that this kid is living in MY COUTNRY where my friends and family have fought to keep our freedom and he turns his back on our president and our flag.

lippard blog: http://lippard.blogspot.com/2006/11/public...-class-you.html

Audio:

http://www.nj.com/cgi-bin/prxy/xmedia/nph-.../classaudio.mp3

If this was a Muslim teacher telling your mostly Christian "children" that they belong in hell, would you condone it? Would you still be supporting the behavior?

I'd like to see some answers to this question.

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Guest Guest
What America stands for, as I understand it, is freedom. There is no freedom in being forced or coerced into singing a song or reciting a pledge. While these things have their place, the minute they become so firmly engrained that everyone just expects them to be done, they lose their meaning.

Speaking of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, Ronald Reagan once said "We never had to put up a wall to keep our people in." The beauty of a national anthem or pledge is that people sing or recite because they are free. Force us to do it, and the exercise loses all its meaning. The only places where such things are done are places like Nazi Germany.

Standing for the pledge today does nothing to help our troops or make our country safer. Declining to stand is a visible reminder that we are still free to dissent, and a caution to a nation that has recently given too much authority, without questioning, to one man. A majority, perhaps the vast majority of Americans may disagree, but when they cannot tolerate dissent, our freedom is in serious danger.

So I respectfully suggest that those who think they know everything there is to know about freedom think again about what it really means. No one is asking them not to stand and salute. However, the one who reminds us that we cannot be forced to do so provides a very valuable and important reminder. Do not presume to judge Matthew's motives when you do not understand them.

Paul,

This is not an attack on you or your son, but isn't standing for the Flag, or reciting the Pledge a show of respect and honor? I believe we have the freedom to sit or stand, but I think most Americans find it disrespectful (especially during war) to not show respect and loyalty to your Country. I hope you can understand why people raise their eyebrows when someone chooses not to stand.

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Guest Faith

So your son doesn't have the courage to tell the teacher "no," but he does have the courage to surreptitiously record him after asking him questions designed to ellicit specific responses? He fears for his grades, but he makes a national spectacle of the incident by bringing it to the news media. Is this not the same boy who has the "courage" to disrespect all those who made real sacrifices for the Constitution by his refusal to participate in the flag salute?

While it is well-established that your son was legally correct in his actions, morally I find the method in which he carried out his stunts reprehensible. It seems that your son is the left-wing equivalent of a police officer standing on Kearny Ave. and writing every car a speeding ticket for traveling 26 in a 25, because he can. Discretion is as much a part of the law as action, and taking action just because you can is not always best for the people. We don't have to stand for the flag salute; we can be disrespectful. We don't have to honor our teachers; we can be disrespectful. We don't even have to be nice to people on the street; we can be disrespectful. Just because we are given all these freedoms doesn't mean we should exercise disrespect.

Your son is a child and a student. If you felt that this teacher was infringing on your son's Constitutional protections, then the issue should have been resolved parent to teacher. This is a high school history class, not an ACLU sting operation. To make your son into an undercover wire-wearing informant instead of handling the problem between adults demonstrates to children that it is okay to disrespect the student-teacher relationship.

Mr. P was not right in expressing his religious beliefs in class. He may not be right about his scientific beliefs. However, as a former student of his, I can attest that his History teaching hits the mark. And as a teacher who has worked hard to master his field, Mr. P. deserves more respect than to have a student point out his mistakes to a national audience.

In this context, the explanation is as follows:

Even in a case where he asks "is it OK with you if I proselytize my religion," how many students would have the courage to tell him no? As the authority figure he has power, including power over students' grades. In a country founded on religious freedom for everyone, one person being offended or intimidated is too many. That is why the legal rule is absolute: he may not do it even if the class "consents."

The kid calls his angry teacher down to the principal's office, where he questions him for an hour. The only other people in the room are the principal and the department head, so it's the kid in a closed room with three school employees, one of whom is a teacher he has just "told on." The kid then questions the teacher for an hour, and when the teacher denies saying what he said, the kid, sitting right next to the teacher, produces two CDs proving he just lied to his bosses.

And you're trying to tell us this kid lacks courage? What are you smoking?!

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Guest Faith
He's not exercising freedom; he's exercising disrespect.  Just because one has the right to show poor character doesn't mean one should exercise that right.  And, it certainly doesn't mean we should celebrate these despicable displays of a boy trying to grasp his fifteen minutes of fame at the expense of honor.

No, he is exercising freedom. You just don't agree with him.

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Guest Faith
This thread really disgusts me.

First of all, there is no law against recording something in a public classroom. So please stop beating that horse. Secondly, his saying or not saying the pledge has nothing whatsoever to do with the situation. The situation is simply this: a teacher was caught preaching in a public classroom. That is against the law. Period. No argument, no reply. That is the situation. And why is this illegal? Because to millions of students who are Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, Hindu, Shinto, or whatever religion besides Christianity, to preach about the Bible and the Scriptures is a direct violation of their rights as a citizen. Mr. Paszkiewicz has every right to step outside of his classroom environment and tell anyone who is willing to listen about his beliefs. But the second he steps in the classroom, he has to check his beliefs at the door. He has a responsibility to the students and their parents to give them an education, not tell them how they should think. He failed, and should be subjected to the rules set for these situations, not let off just because a group of parents agrees with what he preaches.

So to all the "CONCERNED AMERICANS" and "Proud Americans" who support Mr. Paszkiewicz, let me ask you this: If he was an atheist, preaching atheism and proving to  his students using scientific fact that the Bible is a work of fiction, would you be of with him teaching still?

You are absolutely right. It's amazing how the people who scream the loudest about freedom and respect seem to have absolutely no clue what these things mean. Their values are:

1. Freedom for everyone who agrees with them.

2. Religion of your choice as long as it's Christian fundamentalism.

3. Patriotic rituals so they won't have to do the real work of citizenship.

Doesn't the Bible have a few things to say about hypocrites?

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Guest Faith
If you are from Kearny then by now you have heard a story that has been blown WAY OUT OF PROPORTION.

A student of KHS, one Matthew LaClair has gone to the newspaper stating that a teacher has been forcing his religious views in is history class.

Now I am all for having freedom of speech, but I also believe every subject has a place and time for discussion; and religion in a history class is not that place.

HOWEVER!!!! This 16 year old CHILD, is nothing more than an attention seeking, immature person, who is also been known to "previously garnered attention for protesting Bush administration activities by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance" (the lippar blog) I will include this website at the end of my rant!

This kid thinks he is so self rightcious and claims he “was requesting an apology and correction of false and anti-scientific statements" (the lippard blog).

If you listen to the audio (which I will also supply the site to) you can clearly hear that Laclair PROVOKED the conversation, and you can hear that the teacher had responded QUITE APPROPRIATELY:

One example being:

Matthew: isn't the whole point of public schools is so that you can separate personal beliefs from teachers and administrators from non religious teachings during school, like school prayer and all that.

teacher: the purpose of public school is to provide free education for people that couldn't afford education. That’s the purpose of public school

Matthew: what would decide what religion should be taught in school, what would decide that?

teacher: no it's not about teaching, my point is it's not about teaching religion, these issues all come up in time, ( tape fades out) things get legislated and we talk in class

the public school shouldn't teach a religion but the scriptures aren't religion they are a foundation of the worlds religion, the world main religion any way.

religion is a set way of doing things

In the conversation above, taken my Matthew Laclair himself, i see no wrong doing by this teacher, i do however see constant and what seems to be "rehearsed" provoking of the topic.

I hope he is reading this right now, because I just have one question for him: What on earth was the need to go to the newspaper? Laclair stated that he had a meeting with the principle, teacher, and the head of the social studies department and at first they did not seem to believe him but then he pulled out the cd's.....which in itself violated this teachers right to privacy.

So again, my question, after laclair proved himself with the cd's why did he not wait for administrative action to take place? There was no need to go to the newspaper, and I think in doing so, this Matthew laclair just proves that he is a 16 year old high school student, and therefore has ALOT to learn before he goes off starting religious wars, and pledge of allegiance protest in the United States of America, a country that has always, and especially since 9/11 shown great pride in our ONE NATION UNDER GOD!!!!

ps: a little side note for everyone reading this who disagrees: stating your views on religion and "forcing your beliefs on someone" is two COMPLELTY DIFFERENT THINGS.

so I would like to say to everyone who agrees or disagrees, we are all here in this nation, in this community together, and my religion is Roman Catholic, so when I say GOD BLESS YOU, I’m not forcing my views, I’m using my faith to wish you health and happiness

GOD BLESS you all

PPS: if this offends anyone then tough, because I AM offended that a wonderful teacher is being persecuted by an unknowledgeable juvenile for merely stating what he believes in. Also that this kid is living in MY COUTNRY where my friends and family have fought to keep our freedom and he turns his back on our president and our flag.

lippard blog: http://lippard.blogspot.com/2006/11/public...-class-you.html

Audio:

http://www.nj.com/cgi-bin/prxy/xmedia/nph-.../classaudio.mp3

Why do Paszkiewicz's supporters talk about everything except what he actually did in that classroom?

Watching the attempted defenses of this teacher's conduct is both fascinating and disgusting. If the student had merely recorded a teacher doing nothing wrong, then tried to get the teacher in trouble, people would have laughed at him, and that would have been the end of it. No news media would have had the slightest interest in the story, and the teacher's defenders would have just laughed it off.

But that's not what's happening, is it. The kid's sin wasn't recording the teacher. It was catching him dead-to-rights.

So while Paszkiewicz's admirers may be trying their best to defend him, their conduct says that even they realize what deep "water" he stepped into. But the stepping was done by his own words. So isn't it time to discuss the real issues?

One is the teacher's conduct. It was obviously wrong. You can't preach religion in a public school, even if you're just saying "Jesus loves you," never mind "you belong in hell." Everybody knows that.

Another is what disciplinary action should be taken against the teacher. That is not up to anyone posting here.

Another is what kind of a mess did the school administration just walk itself into by its response, or lack thereof? That is an issue every Kearny citizen might wish to look at.

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If you are from Kearny then by now you have heard a story that has been blown WAY OUT OF PROPORTION.

A student of KHS, one Matthew LaClair has gone to the newspaper stating that a teacher has been forcing his religious views in is history class.

Now I am all for having freedom of speech, but I also believe every subject has a place and time for discussion; and religion in a history class is not that place.

HOWEVER!!!! This 16 year old CHILD, is nothing more than an attention seeking, immature person, who is also been known to "previously garnered attention for protesting Bush administration activities by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance" (the lippar blog) I will include this website at the end of my rant!

This kid thinks he is so self rightcious and claims he “was requesting an apology and correction of false and anti-scientific statements" (the lippard blog).

If you listen to the audio (which I will also supply the site to) you can clearly hear that Laclair PROVOKED the conversation, and you can hear that the teacher had responded QUITE APPROPRIATELY:

One example being:

Matthew: isn't the whole point of public schools is so that you can separate personal beliefs from teachers and administrators from non religious teachings during school, like school prayer and all that.

teacher: the purpose of public school is to provide free education for people that couldn't afford education. That’s the purpose of public school

Matthew: what would decide what religion should be taught in school, what would decide that?

teacher: no it's not about teaching, my point is it's not about teaching religion, these issues all come up in time, ( tape fades out) things get legislated and we talk in class

the public school shouldn't teach a religion but the scriptures aren't religion they are a foundation of the worlds religion, the world main religion any way.

religion is a set way of doing things

In the conversation above, taken my Matthew Laclair himself, i see no wrong doing by this teacher, i do however see constant and what seems to be "rehearsed" provoking of the topic.

I hope he is reading this right now, because I just have one question for him: What on earth was the need to go to the newspaper? Laclair stated that he had a meeting with the principle, teacher, and the head of the social studies department and at first they did not seem to believe him but then he pulled out the cd's.....which in itself violated this teachers right to privacy.

So again, my question, after laclair proved himself with the cd's why did he not wait for administrative action to take place? There was no need to go to the newspaper, and I think in doing so, this Matthew laclair just proves that he is a 16 year old high school student, and therefore has ALOT to learn before he goes off starting religious wars, and pledge of allegiance protest in the United States of America, a country that has always, and especially since 9/11 shown great pride in our ONE NATION UNDER GOD!!!!

ps: a little side note for everyone reading this who disagrees: stating your views on religion and "forcing your beliefs on someone" is two COMPLELTY DIFFERENT THINGS.

so I would like to say to everyone who agrees or disagrees, we are all here in this nation, in this community together, and my religion is Roman Catholic, so when I say GOD BLESS YOU, I’m not forcing my views, I’m using my faith to wish you health and happiness

GOD BLESS you all

PPS: if this offends anyone then tough, because I AM offended that a wonderful teacher is being persecuted by an unknowledgeable juvenile for merely stating what he believes in. Also that this kid is living in MY COUTNRY where my friends and family have fought to keep our freedom and he turns his back on our president and our flag.

lippard blog: http://lippard.blogspot.com/2006/11/public...-class-you.html

Audio:

http://www.nj.com/cgi-bin/prxy/xmedia/nph-.../classaudio.mp3

How is it possible for a sixteen-year-old to "set up" a 38 year-old, fifteen-year teacher? Did the devil make the teacher give these answers? Every other teacher at Kearny High would have taken a pass on the question. The suggestion that the student is somehow responsible for what the teacher says is, let's say, not well taken, though many other words come to mind.

Consider a like example. If an attractive sixteen-year-old girl offers to have sex with her male teacher, and he then has sex with her, is he excused because she asked? Come on, people, you know better than this. What you're really telling us is that you recognize just how serious an offense this teacher committed; don't blame the kid for the teacher's remarks. If this finds its way into the legal system, the courts will consider the kids' questions to be no defense, and that is because the teacher is supposed to be an adult who is in control of himself and knows where to draw the line. If you're saying that this teacher cannot do that, don't you think that raises a very serious problem?

In addition, Paszkiewicz spent considerable time preaching before even one question was asked. At one point he told the class (after having told them he is not allowed to read from the Bible) that Jesus' last words were to spread the "Gospel" throughout the world. Obviously he takes that commitment very seriously. The question is whether he can separate himself from it enough to teach in a public school.

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If you are from Kearny then by now you have heard a story that has been blown WAY OUT OF PROPORTION.

A student of KHS, one Matthew LaClair has gone to the newspaper stating that a teacher has been forcing his religious views in is history class.

Now I am all for having freedom of speech, but I also believe every subject has a place and time for discussion; and religion in a history class is not that place.

HOWEVER!!!! This 16 year old CHILD, is nothing more than an attention seeking, immature person, who is also been known to "previously garnered attention for protesting Bush administration activities by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance" (the lippar blog) I will include this website at the end of my rant!

This kid thinks he is so self rightcious and claims he “was requesting an apology and correction of false and anti-scientific statements" (the lippard blog).

If you listen to the audio (which I will also supply the site to) you can clearly hear that Laclair PROVOKED the conversation, and you can hear that the teacher had responded QUITE APPROPRIATELY:

One example being:

Matthew: isn't the whole point of public schools is so that you can separate personal beliefs from teachers and administrators from non religious teachings during school, like school prayer and all that.

teacher: the purpose of public school is to provide free education for people that couldn't afford education. That’s the purpose of public school

Matthew: what would decide what religion should be taught in school, what would decide that?

teacher: no it's not about teaching, my point is it's not about teaching religion, these issues all come up in time, ( tape fades out) things get legislated and we talk in class

the public school shouldn't teach a religion but the scriptures aren't religion they are a foundation of the worlds religion, the world main religion any way.

religion is a set way of doing things

In the conversation above, taken my Matthew Laclair himself, i see no wrong doing by this teacher, i do however see constant and what seems to be "rehearsed" provoking of the topic.

I hope he is reading this right now, because I just have one question for him: What on earth was the need to go to the newspaper? Laclair stated that he had a meeting with the principle, teacher, and the head of the social studies department and at first they did not seem to believe him but then he pulled out the cd's.....which in itself violated this teachers right to privacy.

So again, my question, after laclair proved himself with the cd's why did he not wait for administrative action to take place? There was no need to go to the newspaper, and I think in doing so, this Matthew laclair just proves that he is a 16 year old high school student, and therefore has ALOT to learn before he goes off starting religious wars, and pledge of allegiance protest in the United States of America, a country that has always, and especially since 9/11 shown great pride in our ONE NATION UNDER GOD!!!!

ps: a little side note for everyone reading this who disagrees: stating your views on religion and "forcing your beliefs on someone" is two COMPLELTY DIFFERENT THINGS.

so I would like to say to everyone who agrees or disagrees, we are all here in this nation, in this community together, and my religion is Roman Catholic, so when I say GOD BLESS YOU, I’m not forcing my views, I’m using my faith to wish you health and happiness

GOD BLESS you all

PPS: if this offends anyone then tough, because I AM offended that a wonderful teacher is being persecuted by an unknowledgeable juvenile for merely stating what he believes in. Also that this kid is living in MY COUTNRY where my friends and family have fought to keep our freedom and he turns his back on our president and our flag.

lippard blog: http://lippard.blogspot.com/2006/11/public...-class-you.html

Audio:

http://www.nj.com/cgi-bin/prxy/xmedia/nph-.../classaudio.mp3

Look what they're saying at Christian Forums. These are mainly Christians posting.

http://www.christianforums.com/t4181971-te...ng-in-hell.html

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I'll take the go-alongs any time over the sneaks like your son.

Sneak. The BOE should put an end to this. The Teacher, the preacher and all, would have lied but for the tape. Now he should be suspended. Only in Hudson County would this be tolerated. Enough is enough Kearny is the laughing stock of the country. The internet has leveled the playing field, the BOE will have to address this flagrant misuse of the classroom. He should be teaching History not have discussions on whose going to hell and why.

Kearny BOE members do your job before this becomes a bigger issue than it already is.

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Paul,

This is not an attack on you or your son, but isn't standing for the Flag, or reciting the Pledge a show of respect and honor? I believe we have the freedom to sit or stand, but I think most Americans find it disrespectful (especially during war) to not show respect and loyalty to your Country. I hope you can understand why people raise their eyebrows when someone chooses not to stand.

I do understand, and very much appreciate the civility of your comments. Of course standing for the flag and reciting the pledge are signs of respect and honor. However, so is taking a principled position to sit quietly to make the point that we're taking these rituals far too seriously. I truly believe that there is too little love of country these day. We are in a war, but what sacrifices are we civilians making? Practically none. As Bill Maher puts it, our soldiers are at war, we're shopping.

So Matthew chose to make the point that patriotism isn't about rituals. It's about the real work of citizenship. Can you see the validity of his point?

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Paul,

Yes, America does stand for freedom, but who is forcing you to stand or salute or recite a pledge?

By saying the "PLEGDE" you are reaffirming the freedom of which you want to exercise, but you chose to be a rebel and sit and not recite it!!

Declining to stand "is a visible reminder that we are still free to dissent", you are one sick man!! THIS IS JUST A REMINDER OF PEOPLE ABUSING THEIR FREEDOM!!

Again, no one is forcing you to do anything, if you were a true American, believed in freedom and exercised it daily, you would stand, salute, recite, not because you are forced to, but as an AMERICAN you should want to!!! RESPECT the country that allows you all these freedoms which you abuse!!

So if you're not forcing us, STOP SHOUTING. There's very little difference, not to mention the fact that more than one teacher tried to force him physically to stand. Before you criticize those who take unpopular positions, try walking a mile in our shoes.

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It's disrespectful period.  Disrespectful to all of the people that lost life and limb to give you and your son the rights you have.  And many of those people made those sacrifices not believing in what they were doing was right, but because their government and country asked them to do it.  So, please don't compare your son's "courage" to those sacrifices.

No, sir, or madam. You choose to see disrespect, but the fact is that Matthew honors and appreciates those who died for our freedom every bit as much as you do. Our brave and honored dead did not give their lives merely for a ritual. They gave their lives for our freedom, and that is exactly what Matthew is expressing. Back off, and he'll stand up. Keep confusing rituals with patriotism and I suspect he'll continue sitting down. He's not disrespecting our soldiers. He's trying to get through to you.

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It is against the teacher's contract to record him without his permission.  Not to mention underhanded and sleazy.  Maybe Matt needs a class in morals and ethics.

Assuming that is true about the teachers' contract, the students are not parties to it, so it cannot be held to apply to them. As for ethics and morals, why aren't you commenting on the teacher's behavior? The teacher is in a position of public trust. If he's saying anything he doesn't want anyone outside the classroom to hear, he shouldn't be saying it. Tell me you don't think his remarks are a problem.

As for underhanded and sleazy, again why aren't you commenting on the teacher's behavior? He knows the conduct is wrong, does it anyway, then tries to deny it.

Matthew is my "problem," one I'm delighted to have. We even got him a haircut. I'll worry about my kid, and what lessons he "needs" in morals and ethics. We didn't ask for Paszkiewicz to teach him religion, and we're not asking for lectures on morals and ethics, thank you.

The teacher is your concern. Why are you not addressing it?

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