No-Nothing Geography

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Or Spanish teachers of the world unite!

A 7th-grade geography teacher in Colorado was escorted from his class and placed on adminstrative leave for hanging the flags of China and Mexico in his geography class. His geography class.

A new state law says only the flag of the United States can be on permanent display in classrooms. This would've seriously cheesed off my junior high and high school Spanish teachers. I think one even had a sombrero on the wall, too.

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  1. I love the smell of Tommorrowland in the morning……

  2. The janitor was also excorted off the premises after a DHS team discovered a can of Black Flag and assorted flagstones in a basement tool closet

  3. I’d hang the Gadsden Flag out of sheer defiance.

    Snakes on a flag!

  4. “A new state law says only the flag of the United States can be on permanent display in classrooms.”

    If this is the full scope of the law and someone really wants to have fun with this, they should get someone to put up the Colorado state flag and arrange for someone to make a complaint.

  5. This is more evidence that the dumming down of our educational system for the past generation is causing more dumbing down for the present generation.

    Good thing there are literate people in India, wherever that is, to provide tech support for our user-friendly (they better be) computers.

  6. If the teacher just agreed to take down the flags at the end of the school year, they would no longer be “on permanent display”…

  7. … waiting for semiliterate bullshit justification from the “military lawyer” in
    5

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  8. I live in Colorado, and I’m an attorney, and I’d never heard of this law, but here it is:

    Colorado Revised Statutes

    Title 18. Criminal Code
    Article 11. Offenses Involving Disloyalty
    Part 2. Anarchy–Sedition
    Sec. 18-11-205. Unlawful to display flag–exceptions

    (1) Any person who displays any flag other than the flag of the United States of America or the state of Colorado or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or institutions upon any state, county, municipal, or other public building or adjacent grounds within this state commits a class 1 petty offense.

    (2) Any person who displays any flag other than the flag of the United States of America or the state of Colorado or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or institutions in any place where it is likely to be viewed by the public or a substantial portion thereof, knowing that under the circumstances then existing such display is likely to cause a breach of the peace, commits a class 1 petty offense.

    (3) “Flag”, as used in this section, means any flag, ensign, banner, standard, colors, or replica or representation thereof which is an official or commonly recognized symbol of a particular nation, state, movement, cause, or organization.

    (4)(a) This section does not apply to:

    (I) The display of the flag of the United Nations or the flag of a foreign nation displayed to identify persons officially representing such foreign nation or the property or premises of the person or nation;

    (II) The display of an appropriate flag upon ceremonial or commemorative occasions proclaimed by the president of the United States, the governor of the state of Colorado, the board of county commissioners of any county, or the mayor or other chief executive officer of a city or town within this state;

    (III) The display of the flag of any adjacent state with the flag of the state of Colorado at the ports of entry weigh stations, in recognition of the joint state port operation; or

    (IV) The display of any flag or representation thereof described in subsection (1) of this section that is part of a temporary display of any instructional or historical materials not permanently affixed or attached to any part of the buildings or grounds described in subsection (1) of this section.

    (b) This subsection (4) shall be an affirmative defense.

    It apparently criminalizes the display of the flags of other US states too except as specifically permitted at subsection (4)(a)(III).

  9. I’m thinking “I’ll bet the United Nations Flag is o.k.” then, sure enough, SR posts that it is.

  10. With laws like that, is it any wonder that the creators of South Park were the byproducts of the Colorado education system.
    I’m waiting for the inevitable episode based on this.

  11. You know, I could easily spend ten minutes enumerating reasons schools should be private.

    I don’t think I would have come up with this one…

  12. Reading between the lines suggests the law may have been partly derived from a way to ban any kind of confederate flag displays without directly saying so. OTOH its not the south.

  13. So, if in a fit of state pride I carry the majestic flag of Florida onto state property in Colorado, I’m a disloyal, anarchic, seditious traitor? It’s a fair cop, but it’s probably a wee bit unconstitutional. Here’s a for instance. Biff, the native Coloradoian, displays a small Colorado flag in his cubicle at a Colorado DMV office. Ragnar, the native Floridian, sitting in the next cube, displays the awe-inspiring flag of Florida. Biff is okay in the eyes of the law, but Ragnar is going to get beaten with a flag pole. How is that not viewpoint discrimination? I’m not saying that the official flying of “alien” flags on state flagpoles couldn’t be restricted, but this statute appears to go waaay beyond that.

    Note the “breach of the peace” language for 18-11-205(2). That’s a weak attempt to keep that part of the statute constitutional, but I don’t think it’s enough to save the rest of the act.

  14. Ahem. Make that Coloradoan or Coloradonator. I tried to fix it, but, this one time, the server was too fast.

  15. (1) Any person who displays any flag other than the flag of the United States of America or the state of Colorado or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or institutions upon any state, county, municipal, or other public building or adjacent grounds within this state commits a class 1 petty offense.

    Sounds like it’s sedition to have even a sticker of another flag displayed on your car if it’s parked in the lot of a public building.

    How do they come up with this stuff?

  16. Thanks SR.

    (4)(a) This section does not apply to:…

    (IV) The display of any flag or representation thereof described in subsection (1) of this section that is part of a temporary display of any instructional or historical materials not permanently affixed or attached to any part of the buildings or grounds described in subsection (1) of this section.

    Sounds to me like the teacher is not guilty of violating this law.

    It strikes me that it’s pretty tough to get anything but morons out of a school system that is apparently run by morons in a country that I am increasingly coming to believe is governed by morons.

    Poor kids.

    Reading between the lines suggests the law may have been partly derived from a way to ban any kind of confederate flag displays without directly saying so. OTOH its not the south.

    No. I’m pretty sure that this is a jingoistic, xenophobic law passed by jingoistic, xenophobic pricks.

  17. This law was passed to stop Ward Churchill from flying the Al Qaeda flag in his freshman comp classrooms.

  18. …any instructional or historical materials not permanently affixed or attached to any part of the buildings…

    I might bloody add, how the bloody hell does someone bloody permanently bloody attach a bloody flag to to any bloody part of any bloody building?

    Sorry about that but when I get really mad I lapse into Australian Vernacular English. 🙂

  19. (2) Any person who displays any flag other than the flag of the United States of America or the state of Colorado or any of its subdivisions, agencies, or institutions in any place where it is likely to be viewed by the public or a substantial portion thereof, knowing that under the circumstances then existing such display is likely to cause a breach of the peace, commits a class 1 petty offense.

    Could that be any flag in your yard or on your house, up to and including those garden flag with kitties on them?

  20. With a harpoon, my boy. With a harpoon.

  21. Hamlin, who teaches 7th grade, said he believes the national debate surrounding immigration and the Mexican flag has contributed to the controversy. He wonders if he would have caused such a stir if he had hung flags of Switzerland or Australia instead of Mexico. – From TFA.

    Of course these flags would get you in trouble. The have crosses on them. 🙂

    http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ch.html

    http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/au.html

    Kevin

  22. The whole incitement theory bothers me in the best situations. What constitutes me knowing that my display is likely to breach the peace? Certainly, the mere display of the Nazi flag would upset and offend many people. But if one of those offended people decides to meet speech with fisticuffs, is the Nazi bad boy responsible for that violence? The whole heckler’s veto concept just turns speech on its face. Incitement to violence means more than offending someone to the point of throwing a rock.

  23. While we’re on the topic of teaching unconventional topics, is it now going to be inappropriate if a teacher states that Pluto is a planet?

  24. What if the astronomy teacher flies the flag of Pluto?

  25. For an example of speech that is so close to an “act” of violence, imagine a guy who walks into a meeting of families of people killed in 9/11. He points to the back of an Arab guy walking outside and says, “Jesus Christ! That’s bin Laden! Kill the mother!”. And they do. Okay, that’s probably something that can be dealt with without weakening the freedom of speech.

  26. I might bloody add, how the bloody hell does someone bloody permanently bloody attach a bloody flag to to any bloody part of any bloody building?

    Like this: http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/facilities/vab.jpg

  27. Pluto is now the Taiwan of the Solar System. Technically speaking, it no longer exists.

    Since Pluto isn’t a planet, I hereby claim it and Charon as my personal fief. Tremble before the Lord of Pluto!

  28. BARFARKLE GINGERSHNOPS! PHLEG, GULLOOFIE BLECH. ARRRRGGGH

  29. David,

    If your kitty flag is likely to cause a breach of the peace amongst your neighbors, then I feel really sorry for you. I feel sorry for your sorry-assed neighbors too.

    Especially after the storm troopers haul you off to jail for sedition!

    P.S. It could be worse. With your kitty flag, you could get flattened like a pancake by a giant beer can for not realizing that men should act like men.

  30. I’m waiting for the inevitable episode based on this.

    It’s already been done, Deus Ex Machina. Chef Goes Nanners. Ok, it’s not exact, but it is close enough, IMO.

  31. Charon is where the half-black, half-white guys from Cavanaugh’s Star Trek post are from.

    “Just look at him…he’s a half-black!”

    I think we should go Kodos and Tarsus IV the jackasses in the Colorado legislature. Utah is starting to wear off on them.

  32. Yeah, but that episode was more about the Confederate flag issue rather than a ban against flying anything but the Stars and Stripes. One possible plot I had in mind involved Ike displaying a Canadian flag and being arrested.

    BTW, does anyone have any background on this law? Was it created during the Red Scare of the 50’s or during the battle over the Pledge of Allegiance? Or did some senator sneak this one in as a rider in an unrelated apportions bill?

  33. Sorry about that but when I get really mad I lapse into Australian Vernacular English.

    Australian Vernacular English is specifically prohibited under Colorado state law. Even thoughts expressed in foreign idioms in your head is a misdemeanor, while your person is within state lines.

  34. The revolution is successful. But survival depends on drastic measures. Your continued existence represents a threat to the well-being of society. Your lives mean slow death to the more valued members of the colony. Therefore I have no alternative but to sentence you to death. Your execution is so ordered.

  35. You know, I could easily spend ten minutes enumerating reasons schools should be private.

    I don’t think I would have come up with this one…

    Amen. No, I didn’t say that from a public school….

  36. Say, you typed those words like you knew them. You hardly glanced at the paper.

  37. “smackyisaprude”

    WTF is with your screen name? Not funni. Go awai. Hokae? That way, you can resume your spanking to Anime in your parents’ basement. But don’t insult the Smacky. Hokae? Good.

    May you wake up with Gennifer Flowers giving you a face like a glazed donut.

    signed,
    A Moose in the Smacky’s Fanclub (headed by Mr. Darkly)

  38. If the supply ships hadn’t come early, why, history may have remembered your Kodos as a great hero!

    Well, really, the CO law is an affront to the freedom of expression.

    The poor children, being raised by a generation of zombified followers, learning that state-sponsored xenophobia is a viable alternative.

    To think I moved out west because I resented the nanny-state mentality back east.

    Where to go now?

  39. VM, I was hoping to get a rise out of the dear smacky myself…sorry you so sensitive to childish ribbing of your sweet smacky.

    Gennifer Flowers? Smacky might be a prude, but you are a VH1 flashback. 🙂

    Who are you to say what cruelty is captain?

  40. DEM

    “One possible plot I had in mind involved Ike displaying a Canadian flag and being arrested.”

    Please, please, please, use some other country’s flag for your test case. I don’t think I could stand the self-righteous breast-beating that would go on here in Canada if you did manage to get yourself arrested.

  41. I wonder how “English only” laws will affect high school Spanish class.

  42. “Oh, Switzerland. What a coincidence. My brother-in-law is Swedish!”

  43. Juggler,

    I was using the kitty flag as an example of something harmless that a prickish neighbor might bitch about. Since it’s Colorado, let’s say it was an Oakland Raiders flag.

    Since replicas and representations of flags count, can a government worker have a forearm tattoo of a foreign flag?

  44. The key word is “displayed” That means you can wear Chinese or Mexican Flag underwear

  45. What about the poor, backwater Colorado burgs who are so poor they haven’t been able to afford any new flags in their courthouses or classrooms since 1959 when there were only 49 stars? Is a pre-’59 flag still a “Flag of the United States of America” or is it “likely to cause a breach of the peace” and the first step on the dark path to sedition?

  46. “BTW, does anyone have any background on this law? Was it created during the Red Scare of the 50’s or during the battle over the Pledge of Allegiance? Or did some senator sneak this one in as a rider in an unrelated apportions bill?”

    Westlaw’s legislative history shows this was on the books at least as far back as 1963. I’d have to go to the Colorado Supreme Court law library to look up any appearances older than that.

  47. Those who can’t do, teach, and those who can’t teach, administrate.

  48. And those who can’t administrate, legislate.

  49. Apparently the school is offering to reinstate him if he rotates the flags out every 6 weeks. Hamlin is debating whether to go back to his job or just go back to school.
    Teacher In Flag Flap Reinstated

  50. Well, what do you expect from the state that put Tom Tancredo in Congress? I notice, by the way, that KOA (the Denver-area wingnut station) has absolutely nothing on the story on their website…?
    He should’ve hung up a Confederate flag; then the knuckle-draggers would be lining up to defend the poor bastard as a victim of “political correctness”…

  51. Somebody is being a douche for real this time.

  52. I’m surprised they did not order the burning of all unauthorized flags.

    To be followed by the burning of ….

  53. (4) (a) The chief administrative officer of any state institution, school, or court facility described in this section shall not permit the display of any depiction or representation of a flag of the United States that is intended for public view and permanently affixed or attached to any part of the building or grounds of said state institution, school, or court facility, and which display does not conform with 4 U.S.C. sec. 7.

    (b) Nothing in this subsection (4) shall be construed to preclude the temporary display of any instructional or historical materials or student work product included as part of a lesson not permanently affixed or attached to any part of said building or grounds.

    Yawn. Someone got his 15 minutes of fame, huh?

  54. Cecil:

    KEITH SMART.

    How is life on the road with the carnival? “Welcome” back! Should have recognized you by your “Carefree” style, as if in a “Summer’s Eve”!

    What you should do, then, is use your funny handle, but keep the email/URL so we know that it’s you. Then we can tailor responses much better. (That’s one difference between humorous ribbing and actual twaddlenockery)

    So I gather from your comments “..sensitive to…”, that the correspondence courses I’ve been taking on “Sensitivity, Crying in my General Foods International Coffees, and Dedodorant Eating (d’oh, what a giveaway)” has paid off!

    I also yell hysterically during fire drills and eat library paste. But that’s what happens when you score “extremely lousy” on the “Emotional Adjustment Test”! (FYI)

  55. Here’s one way to protest this kind of thing =

    http://www.bustedtees.com/shirt/greece

  56. He talks about challenging it in court, but though IANAL, I don’t think he’s got much of a case. Government employees’ freedom of speech can be restricted while performing their official duties. For example, the First Ammendment does not allow this teacher to preach his religion during class, though it does protect his right to do so in his personal life.

    Stupid, stupid law, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unconstitutional.

  57. bawl till you fall, so to speak…

  58. Coming in late here, but this reminds me of something I saw on a classroom wall when the Little Woman and I were out near San Francisco visiting cherished daughter. I’ve tried to describe it here before.
    It took the standard grading letters and inverted them, with D for democracy at the top and A for anarchy at the bottom.
    Peaceful anarchist that I am, it caught my attention and deeply offended me.
    Peaceful anarchists are not easily offended.

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