Which One Is the Teacher?

by Charles C. W. Cooke

This is a recording of a “social sciences” “lesson” at North Rowan High School in North Carolina, in which a teacher demonstrates not just her extreme political bias and willful abuse of authority, but also a breathtaking ignorance of basic American civics. In a discussion of Mitt Romney’s alleged bullying incident, a student asks the question of whether Barack Obama also bullied peers at school — a story that is openly recounted in his first book. Becoming progressively angry, the teacher tells the student that she will not tolerate criticism “disrespect” of the president in her classroom, and then suggests that he could be arrested if he continues. The student fights back bravely and calmly, explaining that one can only be arrested for threatening the president (“they cannot take away your right to have your opinion. . . . They can’t take that away unless you threaten the president”), affirming that he has different views, and asserting that he is allowed to ask questions about Obama, who is “just a man.”

Bias in the school system is not particularly newsworthy. What is astounding here is that a teenage student appears to understand recent history, the First Amendment, and the republican nature of American politics far better than does his teacher. Were one to read a transcript without attribution, which role would you think was which?

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