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Writing To Congress Can Now Cost You Your Job

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posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 04:17 PM
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This just dropped my mouth when I read it. A teacher in Florida wrote a letter, maybe, to her congressperson. The letter is pretty foolish, she complains that the influx of Puerto Ricans to the district were taking jobs from Americans and were lowering the quality of education at the school. Foolish? You betcha. Was it her? That's totally unknown. A Spanish newspaper translated the letter and reported on it here.

The letter can't be tracked down, but the teacher did confirm she had, in the past, written a letter to an unspecified congressperson. She has been a teacher for 5 years at the school, and no claims of racism have been charged against her before. Now, after this newspaper published the letter (but doesn't have a copy to give to the school board), the teacher was suspended and her removal is imminent, especially if she wrote the letter.

Her ideas are definitely foolish. However, she has a right as an American to express them to her government via a letter. Obviously her opinions didn't impact her job because, as I said, no charges of racism have been levied against her before this incident. That, apparently, doesn't matter, because the PC thought police are going to make her pay anyway.

I'm not sure which is more disturbing, that this teacher is not allowed to express an opinion to her congressperson without potentially suffering severe personal consequences, or the fact that a completely uncorroborated report unable to produce the actual letter was enough to cause the superintendent to suspend her without pay. Just another case where, when it comes to someone calling you a racist, you are absolutely guilty and punished until proven...Oh, right, you can't be proven innocent. You're guilty, end of story.

English story

EDIT: Corrected title case in subject

[edit on 8-18-2005 by junglejake]




posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 04:32 PM
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she should probly be getting a call from some lawyers soon for wrongful termination and lost wages case againsthe school



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 04:57 PM
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Wonder if the ACLU will be there for her?



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 05:02 PM
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She will be getting legal advise from the teachers union, it sounds like from the article:


David DeMond, who leads the Classroom Teachers Association, said his organization was not ready to elaborate but said the union would provide legal advice for Hall if she is a member.

"Teachers have the right to express an opinion," DeMond said, "but they are aware of the code of ethics and should be able to read and understand what it means."


That last paragraph, though, makes one wonder what that legal defense will be.

As to the question about the ACLU, that's a really great one. The ACLU has gone to bat for people that you wouldn't expect them to go to bat for, but this situation is up in the air. I can assure you, the ACLU will be involved, but whose side will they take?



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 05:11 PM
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She didn't really do it?


District officials said Hall, 59, who had taught at the south Orlando school for five years, told her principal that she had written a letter to an unidentified member of Congress. She could not be reached for comment.


She had a right to do it?


School Board attorney Frank Kruppenbacher said that regardless of Hall's protected constitutional right to free speech, discriminatory statements violate the "Code of Ethics and the Principles of Professional Conduct" that all Florida educators must follow. The code states that educators "shall not harass or discriminate against any student" based on race, national origin or ethnicity. Because the letter referred to Sadler and Hall identified herself as a teacher, the code applies, he said.


Or what she said to a public official as a public official wasn't all that bad?


In a published version of the letter that began "Dear Honorable Congressman," the writer said Hispanics and other Caribbean newcomers are taking all the jobs and that "foreigners are the largest users of taxpayers' money." It also charged that Hispanics and immigrants in general were hurting the quality of schools and dragging down educational achievement.

The letter also charged that Puerto Ricans are destroying Orlando, and that laws should be changed so Puerto Ricans -- who are U.S. citizens by birth -- would stop moving to Central Florida. It complained about Mexicans, Middle Easterners and Haitians, adding that Mexicans bring drugs and incurable diseases and that Haitian children are too aggressive. Puerto Rican teachers who work here, the letter went on, have the equivalent of a fifth-grade education.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 05:29 PM
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Eh, I guess what I'm saying is the system doesn't work. Keep quiet, don't express an opinion, and don't you dare write to your congressperson. The First Ammendment's already been completely mangled, we may as well just do away with it and save people from the frustration of having it chiped away piece by piece.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 05:53 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
Eh, I guess what I'm saying is the system doesn't work. Keep quiet, don't express an opinion, and don't you dare write to your congressperson. The First Ammendment's already been completely mangled, we may as well just do away with it and save people from the frustration of having it chiped away piece by piece.


And don't dare protest the President while he is on vacation!



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 06:40 PM
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Well if I was this teacher and I notice that an influx of Puerto Ricans or anybody ells for this matter had lowered the standard of education compared with the years before at this school then she was right to report it.
Because it must be effecting the other children who should not be put under the lowering of standards and conditions.

On a different note I also wonder what I Q the latest president has got.
Can anyone answer that?

At the next presidential election there should be a live T V network test from coast to coast with the following tests for the next president elect

1. I Q test between the presidential candidates with a time limit for the set questions
2. Sense of humour test,
3. History test
4. General geography and map reading test
5. What’s really happening in the world and close to home test.
6. Back hander test’ to see how many back hander’s they get to be elected as party representative and then to be elected as president.

Would be very interesting to see the answers and results.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 07:15 PM
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most political leaders do not have a high IQ, but are more charsimatic. I think some scolars took writings from notable historic figures and Lennin only had an IQ in the high 90s yet is revered almsot like a God in Russia to this day

ONe of the best qualities of a world leader, is the ability to manage smart people/advisors underneath him to arrive and the correct decision on issues. The worst ones often are insecure of thier authority and offten leave heads or pink slips in their wake with anyone who disagrees with them, or seems to threatens thier authority

personally I think the people who vote for leaders should be required to prove thier are basing ther decision for casting thier vote on reasoning, and not feelings.



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 09:12 PM
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Let's not meander off topic, please.

~~~~~~~~~~

Well, if she is still working, she has to use union attorneys, I believe. At lest that was my IRL experience.
Once she's unemployed, she could seek other representation.

Whether or not she actually wrote the letter and what it actually says seems beside the point. Did she threaten or otherwise endaner anyone? How is it that the whold thing got back to her employer?
Or did I miss something?



posted on Aug, 18 2005 @ 11:15 PM
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.
Ignorant free speech is still protected free speech.

I don't even know that this is ignorant speech.

She lives there.
She probably cares about kids of every ethnic stripe.
Important:
She has actual experience in her community that i do not and doubt very many else of us do.

I find it troubling when PC ideas override clinical analysis. This is unscientific.

Truth is the key.
If you are afraid to even state a potential truth because it is not politically or socially acceptable then you will stray from the road of infinite truth.

Americans need to hear all ideas including unpopular and/or oddball ideas and non-PC and non-socially acceptabe ideas.

I am athiest, but free speech is sacred. Sacred to an intellectually advancing species.

Our ideas are all we have to guide us.

Technological advance relies greatly on an absolutely open arena of ideas that stand or fall on clinical precision and not comfort zones, not feel-goodness, and not sycophantry/political-correctness.
.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 12:53 AM
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Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
Well, if she is still working, she has to use union attorneys, I believe. At lest that was my IRL experience.
Once she's unemployed, she could seek other representation.

Whether or not she actually wrote the letter and what it actually says seems beside the point. Did she threaten or otherwise endaner anyone? How is it that the whold thing got back to her employer?
Or did I miss something?


The teacher's union's spokesperson said that, if she's a member of the union, they'll be giving her legal advise. All I can gather from that is that union membership isn't manditory for teachers there as it is here in Illinois. They did say they'd advise her, though. No, she didn't threaten or endanger anyone, she complained about a problem as she saw it, just as we do here on ATS.

The whole thing got back to her employer through that article in the spanish newspaper. Suddenly the school started getting hordes of angry calls from Peurto Ricans demanding she be fired.

EDIT: Oh, and Rant, sorry about the response earlier. Didn't get much sleep, and when that happens to me, I become Sarcasmo (Way Above vote for the first person who knows where Sarcasmo comes from
)

[edit on 8-19-2005 by junglejake]



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 12:58 AM
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Well like Rant pointed out she did violate her jobs code of conduct and most jobs will fire you for violating their code of conduct so no big surprise here. Whether you feel it's right for a job to be able to fire you for violating a code of conduct is the more pertinent issue.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 01:12 AM
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A code of conduct restricting free speach in the public forum is one thing, but holding someone accountable for a private letter sent to a congressperson addressing an issue she sees is another. That is, essensially, saying that, if you accept this position, you will believe in these values and you will not do anything to violate them. Guess what, it's illegal for a business to do that. If I were to start a business, I would not legally be able to limit my hires based on their being Christian or not. Federal law trumps a business code of ethics. How is demanding that a person, in their private time, maintain certain values any different than me saying I will not hire you because you are not an Evangelical Christian?



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 02:32 AM
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posted by junglejake
The letter is pretty foolish, she complains that the influx of Puerto Ricans to the district were taking jobs from Americans and were lowering the quality of education at the school.


She should have just cited observations in the letter. Labelling was not necessary.


Conspiracy related (The bigger picture)
I heard huge American corporations are shipping in Chinese workers from China so they can work in the states for below minimum wage. Walmart Employess get paid next to nothing as many are illegal immigrants.

www.thecorporation.com
***exposes Americas corrupt FDA sector, takes aim at both fox news and disney *** watch the dvd or just download it via p2p



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 02:36 AM
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Originally posted by websurfer
She should have just cited observations in the letter. Labelling was not necessary.


You're right, it wasn't, but it is her right to do so as an American.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 02:44 AM
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Is a letter to the government in the US not considered privileged? That is, the contents are private and confidential. Where I'm from the story wouldn't be the contents of the letter, ill advised as they are, but that the letter was made public.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 02:49 AM
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Originally posted by junglejake
You're right, it wasn't, but it is her right to do so as an American.


In Canada there are strict laws against going around labelling people terrorists.

Same can be said about labeling a group of people as stupid. She labels both the Puerto Ricans and Americans as stupid.

Dissected from this quote here, as she says Peurto Ricans are bad at schooling but have the edge in the job market. Something doesn't add up.



The letter is pretty foolish, she complains that the influx of Puerto Ricans to the district were taking jobs from Americans and were lowering the quality of education at the school.



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 02:54 AM
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A school is not a business. Sure it is in the business of education your kids, but it isn't a 'business' per se. It operates with its own code of conduct and rules; much like the armed services, police department, etc... Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having a teacher who didn't like them knows that good teachers are valuable resources. Would you have wanted a teacher that didn't want you?

I don't think this is a freedom of speech issue here. Can the police write to their congressman and complain that the police force's collective IQ is being lowered because of Hispanics and blacks? Or that the police force has dropped in standards since they accepted other ethnicities? Can a marine say they would rather not have any Mexicans in his barracks? Any idea what would happen if that is the case? An inquest at the very least and a whole lotta counselling.

Teachers are in direct contact with children all day. If she feels threatened, uncomfortable, angry, etc... this could have some impact on her students.

If I had been a parent with my kids at her school. I would be worrying too. In addition to the letter that she wrote to her congressman, she may have been telling colleagues or speaking to others about the problem. No doubt this helped fuel the fire. You can't blame the parents of the children at the school or the Spanish newspaper that leaked the story. What do you think their reaction should be? A teacher has to conduct herself/himself in an appropriate manner. She signed the contract and she knew the deal.

One of my former university professors was arrested for protesting against the war on University of Illinois late (state owned). They have rules about how many people can gather together and they interpret the term 'peacefu protestl' in very different terms than most people. Regardless of this teacher's exemplary record, she was taken away in handcuffs. Not a pretty site. But this is a different matter best discussed on another thread.

Nonetheless the point is, you can't just scream 'freedom of speech', and then pen off a letter airing your borderline racist views against your students. In the context of saying it she has every right as a citizen. In the context of keeping her job as a teacher, that is a different manner. This isn't about being PC as an abstract concept. These are CHILDREN we are talking about and she is an adult educator with daily contact in their lives and the opportunity to make a difference (bad or good).

Maybe you should also be asking yourself how the newspaper found out about the letter? Did the congressman's staff leak it themselves? Was there an agenda for doing so?



posted on Aug, 19 2005 @ 03:09 AM
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Web: she blames the influx of Purto Ricans as the cause; the reality, as far as I can tell, is the increased class size that is lowering educational ability. It so happens that she has observed that many Purto Rican immigrants have been joining her class over the past 5 years, so she blames them. As I said, it's not a race issue, it's a numbers issue and she was foolish to make the racial distinction instead of demanding more teachers/schools. However, in America, we don't have legal ramifications for those labels. We just have, apparently, social ones that will ruin your life regardless of the law.

And that brings me to nikelbee. She has been a teacher for 5 years at that school. Never before was a charge of racism leveled against her. If you don't think that it's possible to feel the way she does yet teach without letting those feelings effect her, look at some parents. There are many parents out there today, Dick Cheney included, who have a problem with the homosexual community and agenda. They believe it is wrong, yet one of their children turns out to be gay. Despite their dislike for the lifestyle, they still love them to death. This woman became a teacher, I'm guessing, because she loves to teach children. Because she sees this influx of Purto Ricans increasing her class size doesn't mean she suddenly hates every student whose skin color is a little darker than others. You can still feel compassion for an individual you know is screwing things up, so I would assume you could feel compassion for an individual who is a member of a group you think is screwing things up.

Your protest example is a public display, as opposed to this woman's private correspondance with a congress person. Do you seriously believe that that teacher you mentioned who was fired should not, and according to the law cannot, believe the war in Iraq is wrong if they're a teacher? If you become a teacher, suddenly you sacrifice all of your freedoms, public and private, and simply agree with the state, no matter its decisions?

As to the question of the leaked letter, I have many questions about that. If that congressperson leaked the letter to the newspaper because he didn't agree with the teacher's premise, I hope he's exposed and hung. That is such a shi^^y thing to do; it's almost 1984 thought police style -- I disagree with your opinion, so I will ruin your life.






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