Is anybody convinced by the rhetoric from Trump and the NRA that teachers carrying guns in the classroom is a good idea? Three stories in the news this week should convince us all that to arm teachers in schools is possibly the worst idea since the paper dress in the 1960s.
Both of these stories took place in Florida, the first is David Swinyar, a math teacher at Kernan Middle School in Jacksonville, Florida. Mr. Swinyar likes to use the ‘N-word’ in his class. In October, he finally went too far …
“If your boyfriend says bad things to you and/or treats you wrong, that means he’s acting like a n—–. You all should not be dating all these different African American boys because they are not worth it.”
It was not just one or two students who reported Swinyar’s words, but a majority of the class. An investigation was opened on October 6, 2017, after numerous student complaints were received. Most of the accusations were deemed credible and substantiated:
“SUBSTANTIATED: There is credible evidence to support that Mr. Swinyar engaged in inappropriate communication in the presence of, and/or toward students, by using the “n” word in a conversation with students and/or when he referred to a student. He also made other inappropriate comments such as, calling students “dumb”. “You are in my class because you failed the FSA [Florida Standards Assessment].” Additionally, he made comments like, “You all should not be dating all these different African American boys because they are not worth it.””
The school has 1,148 students — 22.6% of whom are African American.
One young man was so horrified by Swinyar’s racist remarks that he left the classroom to use the phone in the school office to call his mother. “Mr. Swinyar yelled at the student and called the student a liar,” an office assistant told investigators. “He also snatched the phone away from the student.”
So what, you ask, has happened to Mr. Swinyar since the investigation concluded? He received a 10-day suspension without pay. Yes, 10 days. Since Swinyar has filed an appeal, the school district was unable to provide much information, but they said it was found that Swinyar used ‘poor judgement’. It was also indicated that at the end of Mr. Swinyar’s suspension, he will be re-assigned to a position where he has no contact with students for the remainder of the school year.
Dayanna Volitich is a middle school teacher in Citrus County School District, about 80 miles north of Tampa, Florida. She teaches Social Studies. Last week, school district officials were made aware by the Huffington Post that Ms. Volitich is closely affiliated with a podcast and a Twitter account — which Ms. Volitich operated under the pseudonym “Tiana Dalichov” — that perpetuates racism and white supremacism. On the podcast, called “Unapologetic”, she bragged of preaching white nationalism in her classroom — and hiding it from administrators.
In tweets, she makes reference to the “horrors of #Islam,” attacks the concept of white privilege, and says that it isn’t “hateful or supremacist to prefer your own people over others.”
In a recent podcast …
“This is — so many researchers have already looked into this, and that’s just the way it is. There are races that have higher IQs than others.”
On the same podcast, Volitich and her guest Lana Lokteff spent time bashing feminism, calling the concept a “devious plot to undermine white families”. And when asked if she was able to promote her ideas in the classroom, Volitich/Dalichov replied that she plays by the rules when her supervisors are watching, but lets the children know that it’s all an act — a “dog-and-pony show,” as she called it — and asks them to “play along.”
In other episodes, she has said …
“Honestly, I wouldn’t be adverse [sic] to just annihilating the entire country of North Korea. Just get rid of it.”
“Islam does not belong here. It is an ideology built upon the premise of violence. A religion whose followers are taught in the Qu’ran itself to kill nonbelievers and follow the example of a hedonistic cult leader desperate for power and blood,” she wrote. “It clashes with everything this country stands for and puts Western civilization at risk. Speaking the truth about Islam is not bigotry. Being critical of Islam is not racist or Islamophobic.”
And she may just be related to Alex Jones, for she has determined that the shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14th where 17 were killed was some sort of a conspiracy. She also exchanged messages with students at Dalton High School, criticizing their views:
“If you’re traumatized, why are you even on Twitter right now?”
“Just because you are afraid doesn’t mean it wasn’t staged.”
“That doesn’t negate the fact that it was probably a political stunt designed to advance an anti-gun agenda.”
Ms. Volitich has been removed from the classroom pending an investigation, but her employment has not been terminated at this time. Ms. Volitich is arguing that her podcast was merely satire, despite the fact that she has praised such white supremacists as Arthur Jones, Patrick Casey and former KKK grand wizard David Duke.
All for the Love of a Mouse?
And finally, in Leesville, Louisiana, a high school math teacher, Randolph Perez, is under investigation for displaying the following message on the whiteboard in his classroom after a computer mouse went amiss:
“Welcome to Room 312. To the moronic, self obsessed ethnic who stole the mouse from the back computer: the fact that you do not know both your parents, and that the so called adults that are caring for you can not afford a five dollar part because they are too busy buying drugs and coring cigars at the Shop-Rite does not change the fact that you are nothing more than a two bit thief and a waste of carbon and oxygen.”
An investigation was opened last week, but no word on Perez’ fate.
This post made me physically ill to write. As a parent, as a former school board advocate, as a human being, it is inconceivable to me that anybody would hold the narrow-minded, bigoted views of these individuals. I have many, many friends who are in the teaching profession, many are special education teachers. Teachers are not highly paid, and I typically believe that they do what they do out of love for children, out of a desire to help young people grow into well-rounded, compassionate adults, out of a desire to be a part of making our world a little bit better. We must be careful not to judge the entire profession by the acts of these abominable creatures. However, I cannot help wondering if this is the new ‘wave of the future’? If, as the dredges of society are coming out from under the rocks since Donald Trump declared that there is no more ‘political correctness’ (another term for civil discourse), they are infiltrating even our schools? And I know that with people like these leading classrooms, it is insanity to consider arming teachers with loaded guns!