Friday, March 10, 2006

Students learn consequences of speaking truth to power

Overland High School geography teacher Jay Bennish has been desuspended and will be back in the classroom Monday.

The Cherry Creek School District issued a statement (no link because the dips released it in PDF): "Upon completion of a thorough investigation regarding a complaint about comments and actions by Mr. Jay Bennish, he has been reinstated into his position at Overland High School."

Not surprising. Also unsurprising(ly), the statement contains some pretty good educrapese: "Mr. Bennish, like all teachers, is expected to follow the letter and spirit of policy IMB, Teaching About Controversial/Sensitive Issues"; "Cherry Creek School District reaffirms its values in respect to fair-minded presentation and will be unwavering in their actualization"; and so on.

Despite the junk language, the board's conclusion is eminently sensible: Grow up, Bennish (or as the board puts it, "Jay Bennish has promise as a teacher, but his practice and deportment need refinement"). Read the whole statement at the Rocky or Post if you don't have anything better to do on a Friday night, you pathetic losers. (I, by the way, am not a pathetic loser. I'm just staying home tonight to watch Species II on AMC. Peter "Puttin' on the Ritz" Boyle is in it. So is (oops, was) James Cromwell. You know, actors. Weird.

Leave that kid alone

Anyway, now that the first amendment has worked its usual magic and allowed everybody to spot the idiot, can we drop the Bennish thing? Need you ask? Earlier today a couple of Republican state senators stuck an amendment on a bill making it easier to fire teachers who "consistently" lack balance. Not good, if it had a chance of passing, but it probably doesn't (Dems control the senate 18-17).

Finally, here's a profile of the early favorite for 2006 idiotarian teacher of the year (high school division): "By Bennish's junior year at Seaholm High School in suburban Detroit in late 1994, he had quit lacrosse, grown apart from some of [his] friends and transformed himself from a clean-cut student-athlete into a suburban hippie." How utterly unusual!

Update: Oh, joy: "Bennish thanks supporters, vows to teach democratic values."

Update II: Rocky columnist Bill Johnson wastes few words on Bennish ("It was all a setup") in his hilariously titled "Teachers who dare are taught a political lesson." Instead he tells the story of a music teacher in the redneck bedroom community of Bennett east of Denver who supposedly was fired for not using Christian songs in the school Christmas play. The story doesn't make much sense, but it works just fine if, like Bill, all you need are idiots in a tiny 'tard town to conjure up a creeping theocracy.

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