North Carolina High School Teacher Tells Students That They May Not Criticize President Obama, Because It Is a Crime

|

Happy Monday! Here is some audio of a high school teacher in North Carolina telling her students that it is illegal to criticize President Obama: 

Some transcription, via the Salisbury Post:

One student asks, "Didn't Obama bully someone though?"

The teacher responds: "Not to my knowledge."

In response to the Romney story, conservatives have recently been pointing to a passage in Obama's book, "Dreams from My Father," in which the president writes that while in grade school he shoved a little girl, the only other black student in his grade, after other students called him her boyfriend.

When the student tells the teacher that Obama admitted to bullying a girl in school, the teacher goes on the defensive.

"Stop, no, because there is no comparison," she says. Romney, she says, is "running for president. Obama is the president."

When the student says they're both "just men," the teacher continues to argue that Romney, as a candidate for president, is not to be afforded the same respect as the president.

The teacher tells the class Obama is "due the respect that every other president is due."

"Listen, let me tell you something, you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom," she says.

The student replies that he'll say what he wants.

"Not about him you won't," the teacher says.

Later in the conversation, the teacher tells the class it's criminal to slander a president.

"Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush?" she says of former President Bush. "Do you realize you are not supposed to slander the president?"

Advertisement

NEXT: Police Tell Woman to Pay Son's Bail in Cash, Then Steal it

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I’m sure many of Obama’s fans would gladly make it a crime to “slander” him.

    1. I did not think it was possible for me to think any less of American public education.

      Now I know better.

  2. The kid destroys her in this debate. But I think generally civics teachers in this country aren’t exactly top shelf, considering how little everyone seems to know about their own government(s).

    1. the kid gives me a glimmer of hope for the future. And he doesn’t really seem to be Team Red as much as not Team Stupid. He never defends Bush or says people shouldn’t have criticized him. He just says it goes both ways.

    2. She’s a goddamn social studies teacher. It’s not like the kid was talking to his math, English, or even Phys. Ed. teacher.

      He was talking to the school’s supposed expert!

      The teacher has proven herself incompetent. She should be fired and have her teaching licence revoked. The principal and social studies department head should also come under serious review for hiring her.

      1. In other words, she’ll get a raise and a promotion.

        1. They’ll place her in administration.

          Fuck up – move up.

        2. Five bucks says the kid gets the disciplining for swearing in class.

          1. Five bucks says the kid and his friend get arraigned for recording in class.

      2. this is public education. Incompetence does not mean what you think it means.

      3. The teacher is a black woman – that is definitely a black accent, for anyone who doesn’t know – so no one is going to touch her.

      4. This video makes me wish we had camera phones back when I was in high school. One day my biology teacher told us that evolution was an extremely flawed theory, but the school made her teach it even though DNA proved that we all came from Adam and Eve.

    3. But I think generally civics teachers in this country aren’t exactly top shelf

      FIFY

  3. I sure hope that teacher retires at 45…that’s idiocracy-level stupid. On second thought, I hope she stays in the classroom so more teenagers can see what dumb really sounds like.

    1. Have no fear. The increasingly rapacious teacher’s union will guarantee, if anything, that she eventually retires with full honors, and a special commendation.

      1. No matter how cynical I become, I just can’t keep up. Mere hours after my previous posting:

        Teacher Suspended, With Pay: North Carolina Incident is Perfect Storm of Educational Indoctrination, Media Malpractice

  4. The teacher tells the class Obama is “due the respect that every other president is due.”

    So he isn’t due any respenct then, right.

    1. *respect*

      1. He’s not due any respenct, either.

    2. That is every President except the evil Republican ones.

      1. Only democrat presidents deserve respect.

    3. C’mon, he deserves at least some basic human respect. I wouldn’t trample him if he was in my way on a busy sidewalk. (I wouldn’t stop to help him up either, but hey…)

      1. That’s racist, straight up

      2. If he was on fire, I wouldn’t piss him out.

        1. That’s one hell of a kidney stone.

          1. one hell of a day for the doc who reviewed that x-ray.

          2. I wonder if an extracorporeal obamotripsy would help?

      3. If we were both being chased by zombies, I would totally trip him.

        1. Zombie Barry? No, thanks. That’s almost as bad as what we have now.

  5. I wonder if any courageous students will t-shirts critical of the great O to her class.

    1. Maybe tarran could make t-shirts, too.

        1. Was it kinnath who made the bumper stickers? “Obama: Dumber than Carter, Dirtier than Nixon”

          1. Possibly, I have a defunct Cafepress account I created back in 2008 when I was toying with the idea of doing some humorous culture-jamming propaganda.

            I didn’t pursue it then, but the idea is still pretty attractive.

          2. As a matter of fact, yes I have some bumper stickers available to anyone that wants one.

            Barack Obama: Dumber than Carter; Dirtier that Nixon.

            I am not looking for a payment. I want to see photos of these stickers in prominent public places. And I want to see the photos linked in the morning links here at HR.

            1. I could perhaps place a few of those around DC. How many you got?

              1. I have 30.

                They cost just under 2 bucks a piece. An envelope and postage won’t be that much. I’m not the slightest bit worried about the cost. I just look forward to seeing these out in the real world.

                DC would be great.

                Just send a mailing address to my email account shown under my handle.

  6. At some point in time Americans forgot their own history and started revering their president more than even royalty is revered in other countries nowadays.

    1. It was a slow process. Part of the blame rests with John Wilkes Booth. Thanks to that fucker people mythologized Lincoln. The real blow came with FDR and then Kennedy. The worst thing for the country is for a President to die in office. It allows his supporters to forget his flaws and furthers the cult of the Presidency.

      1. Martyrdom is a powerful thing.

      2. I honestly wonder when the mythologization process started with Lincoln. Obviously, the founding fathers were mostly revered in mid-19th century, but I’m curious as to when exactly the cult of Lincoln began in full force. I have a feeling it really didn’t become prevalent until around TR’s time, when the idea of a powerful chief executive became increasingly popular, but I just don’t know for sure.

        1. It started pretty quickly. The country was completely shocked by his assassination. And he was killed just at the right time for his legacy. Right after war was won and his policies were vindicated and right before the really hard political problems of reconstruction.

          1. and right before the really hard political problems of reconstruction.

            BAM! I was all a lie, Lincoln pulled an Elvis!

            errr, rather, I supposed Elvis pulled a Lincoln.

            1. I thought he drove a Lincoln.

      3. I was thinking about FDR the other day. In America, the policies of expanded federal power, stimulus of the economy through war production, and forced relocation of a prosperous minority are idolized in the form of FDR. In Germany they are hated in the form of Hitler.

        Yes, Hitler went farther, but is that really why people hate Hitler, because even though the directions he took Germany were fine, he crossed a line by killing the members of the prosperous minority he disenfranchised?

        1. I generally agree, people really fail to see how much Fascism or Nazism is like contemporary mixed socialism type ideas. But to be fair, the internment of Japanese Americans is not generally cited as a good thing that Roosevelt did.

          1. And the interment of the Japanese, while not good, was nothing compared to what the Nazis and Communists did.

            1. I agree. It is not a good comparison. The economic policies, on the other hand…

          2. I’m reading one of those “history you know is all wrong” books, by a British author, and he goes on a rant about how the Nazis were socialists and how today’s left is the closest thing we have to them these days. What’s interesting about that to me is that the guy made comments in other chapters that made him sound anti-right. Nice when the truth seekers are willing to go after everyone, not just “the opposition.”

        2. Hitler did more than that. If you are a German, he also started a war that killed millions of your people and ended in your country divided and under foreign occupation.

          FDR did nothing like that. But the war saved FDR none the less. He was very unpopular in 1938. Had the war not happened, he would have not sought re-election in 1940 and been generally remembered as a failure.

          1. So another item to add to the list of Hitler’s evil deeds: FDR’s third term.

          2. If you are a German, he also started a war that killed millions of your people and ended in your country divided and under foreign occupation.

            Yeah, Hitler lost, and FDR won, but that doesn’t make their policies any more or less different.

            1. The fact that FDR never sought to enslave the lesser races and didn’t stick millions of his own citizens and others from occupied territories in ovens also makes them different.

              Stop it.

            2. Yeah, Hitler lost, and FDR won, but that doesn’t make their policies any more or less different.

              Oh please!

              Someday sit down and read Mein Kampf. Mass murder in a quest for racial purity was Hitler’s primary goal. It’s all laid out in that fucking monstrosity.

              Yes, FDR was a fascist, but Hitler wasn’t merely a fascist. He was a fascist who thought fascism was the best way to accomplish his goal to extirpate the enemies of his ethnic group. FDR’s fascism was intended for a much less malevolent purpose.

              1. Yeah, he really did have a personal hatred for Jews that informed his entire political career. It wasn’t just a side issue that came to prominence coincidentally.

      4. Part of the blame rests with John Wilkes Booth.

        He was the first in a long line of actors who thought their popularity meant that they had special insight or a following.

        That guy really thought that the country would rise up and thank him for offing a tyrant. It has to be one of the most spectacular own-goals in the history of “direct action” in politics.

    2. At some point in time Americans forgot their own history and started revering their president more than even royalty is revered in other countries nowadays.

      If that were true, this story wouldn’t be news.

      One idiot teacher does not represent all of America.

      1. No, but she represents more than just one teacher in all of America.

    3. At some point in time Americans forgot their own history and started revering their president more than even royalty is revered in other countries nowadays.

      I had an interesting conversation at my last job, which was at a small (6 employee) engineering firm just outside of I-495 in MA during the Thomas controversy.

      Everybody there loathed Obama, one was even a soft birther. But when Thomas announced his reasons for declining to visit the white house, they went ballistic. They were very upset that he had disrespected the office.

      I had a real fun time defending the republican principle that the state has no business in the entertainment industry. 🙂

      1. Yeah, I had the same issue defending Thomas to my friends (I too am in MA). Of course, they all agreed that if he’d objected to a White House visit on the grounds that he was (say) of Afghani ancestry and lost a relative in the drone bombings, then that would be a Principled Stand. Surprised I got that far.

  7. This topic is being discussed on WBAL talk radio now. Listen.

    1. Am listening and was about to make same comment.

  8. I’ll give the teacher credit:

    If she keeps it up, she’ll contribute greatly to future generations of anti-authoritarians.

  9. what do you mean what’s wrong with the quality of America’s public schools?

  10. “I think what this broke down to was a perceived personal slight by an instructor against someone she sees in a positive view, and things just went out of control from there,” Bitzer said in an email to the Post.

    Well, yeah–when “the personal is political,” you best not dare criticize President Butt Naked.

    Bitzer said he thinks the teacher did go a “bit overboard in being rude towards the student.”

    When you subscribe to a cult of personality, any criticism of the figurehead will not be tolerated.

    “I think the student was also trying to pick a fight, honestly,” he said.

    The left’s “QUESTION AUTHORITY!!!” meme provokes blowback. Who could have seen that coming?

    1. How can anyone who grew up in the during the Reagan years and in the aftermath of Watergate listen to the Left talk about the need to “Respect the President” and not burst out laughing?

      1. What’s so funny?
        Everything about the left is hypocritical.

        Tolerance means they are obligated to be intolerant of anything/anyone that disagrees with them.
        Inclusive means they are obligated to exclude anyone who disagrees with them.
        Equality means they are superior to anyone inferior person who disagrees with them.
        “Respect the President” means they are obligated to disrespect a president who disagrees with them.

        They define words in terms of them doing the opposite of what the word actually means.

      2. Don’t need to go back that far. Bush Derangement Syndrome covers that topic pretty handily.

    2. “I think the student was also trying to pick a fight, honestly,” he said.

      This is infuriating. Excusing the teacher for acting like a child while expecting the child to act like an adult.

      1. Exactly. Also, how was her “Fact of the Day” not picking a fight?

      2. Excusing the teacher for acting like a child while expecting the child to act like an adult.

        there’s something in this statement that relates to the interaction between gov’t and citizens, but I can’t put words to it.

  11. With a union thugette social studies teacher like that, all of those kids would be better off slinging on them corners.

    (signed, Bunny Colvin)

    1. …at least they’d have a chance.

      1. They would learn about supply and demand, marketing, business processes, making payroll, etc…

  12. “Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush?” she says of former President Bush. “Do you realize you are not supposed to slander the president?”

    You’re not supposed to slander anybody. I don’t think she’s entirely off there.

    I’m trying to think. Was anyone arrested for criticizing president Bush? A lot of people have gotten a little paranoid, what with warrantless wiretapping; no one knowing how people get on the no-fly list; the Patriot Act; all those Muslim men who were forced to report to the INS shortly after 9/11–who were subsequently deported…

    For too many people, what they’re most afraid of becomes their reality. It’s possible this woman wasn’t intentionally lying–she may really think there were people arrested for saying bad things about Bush.

    That being said, I can’t think of any specific instances of people being arrested specifically for criticizing Bush, although there was the Dr. Wang Wenyi case…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Wenyi#Protests

    …in which, in front of Bush, she was arrested for daring to ask questions that embarrassed a visiting Chinese president. She was arrested at the White House, that is, for asking questions–despite having press credentials.

    Bush apologized all over himself for letting such a terrible thing happen to the Chinese president–incredibly disgraceful behavior from Bush, but even she wasn’t arrested for criticizing Bush, specifically.

    1. The “People were arrested for criticizing Bush.”* line probably came from a liberal source that she (the teacher) failed to fact-check, and she has probably harbored this misconception for several years now.

      *MediaMatters?

    2. Was anyone arrested for criticizing president Bush?

      Officially, no.

      A number of protesters would say yes, but they were arrested for the manner of their speech rather than the content: had they said “OMG BUSHITLER!!!!1111!!!!!” at the grocery store in a calm voice, for example, nothing would be done.

      Nor were any nespaper editorialists writing “OMG BUSHITLER!!!!1111!!!!!” ever arrested.

      But, wander into the prosecution of QWEST’s CEO for income tax fraud, and the coincidence that he was the only telecom CEO not to allow the NSA to vacuum all the data going accross their network becomes disturbing.

      The U.S. attorney in PA, Mary Beth Buchanan, I think was her name, loved her political prosecutions, and was hoping it would lead to higher office. But she always struck me as a loose cannon hoping to please her masters in DC while operating without their previous knowledge, kind of like the knights who ventilated Thomas Becket.

      1. had they said “OMG BUSHITLER!!!!1111!!!!!” … in a calm voice

        How do you utter all the “!!111!1!1” calmly?

        1. Think Liam Neeson in Taken.

          1. gotta hand it to him, he really pulled off that role far better than I expected.

      2. ‘No, but I can make some inferences that are designed to put that ‘no’ into question even though the answer’s still ‘no’.’

        Simplified that for you.

    3. Well since the President is a public figure, you essentially cannot slander him in the legal sense- certainly saying true things (like that he bullied someone in school) about him isn’t enough. See NY Times v. Sullivan.

      1. Getting away from the legal distinctions, isn’t it safe to say that all kids, being the self-involved assholes that they are, have engaged in bullying at least once in their lives.

        …I mean, if we’re willing to be intellectually honest, unlike the political hacks that are attacking Romney.

      2. Right, you “slander” isn’t a crime, even. If you someone slanders you, it’s up to you to go seek redress in court.

        But still! What she said was that you shouldn’t slander the president. And in a strictly moral sense, that’s true–we shouldn’t say things about people that aren’t true.

        1. like quoting their own words at them. straight up slander.

  13. I was there in 1964 when Goldwater refused to run a campaign ad because it, in his words, “demeaned the office of the president.” No matter how badly LBJ had treated him, he wasn’t going to be party to a campaign ad that showed LBJ abusing his beagles,
    showing his appendectomy scars, or tossing beer cans out of the presidential limo.

    If this student had been in Thailand, he would have gotten twenty years in jail for disrepecting the nation’s leader.

    1. If this student had been in Thailand

      Give us time, creech. We’ll get there eventually.

      1. A second Obama term might make it happen sooner…

  14. Not surprising. I remember having to teach our teacher how to do the math problems in our 4th grade class.

    1. I remember having to instruct my 8th grade “Science” teacher on the difference between a Nuclear Bomb and an Nuclear Reactor (he actually believed that they were the same thing internally)

    2. Hah! I still remember three of us teaching the other students Geometry my soph year in HS while the “teacher” (baseball coach) figured out batting averages.

      At least he knew SOME math…

      1. My Geometry teacher was horrible–by that time, a lifer who happened to be the track coach who basically checked out in the spring for track season.

        In fairness, I guess, there aren’t very many good math teachers out there. I think I had one really good one the entire K-12 stretch. It seems to be one of those subjects that you REALLY have to have a passion for, like Jaime Escalante, in order to teach it effectively.

  15. I certainly strongly suspect that she is an Obama devotee defending her guy, but there are also people who are that deferential to authority and probably believe shit like this no matter who is president. There are a lot of authority loving bootlickers in the center and right as well.

    1. I had a German teacher in high school who somehow made it out of Leipzig as a child. I believe it was before the border was fortified, but I don’t know the details and she never said. Either way, she taught us more than German.

      1. she taught us more than German.

        *wink* *nudge* *winkwink*

        1. Is your German teacher a “goer”, eh? Does she like photography, eh? CANdid photography??

          1. ask NoVA, I took French.

            1. “Photography, eh? Photographs, eh? He asked him knowingly…”

        2. Mein Gott. say no more

      2. I had a teacher who escaped Hungary in ’56 with his parents. He didn’t tolerate Leftist BS in his class.

  16. The behavior of the other kids in the class and her childish responses most likely show how often she’s challenged in class for being spectacularly wrong.

  17. That teacher has no business teaching. Her insistence that the POTUS is legally beyond critique is actually one of the less troubling things about that exchange.

    I think she must not be representative of the rest of the faculty though. Somehow the kids learned to articulate their thoughts and defend their positions in spite of such grotesque incompetence.

    1. I think she must not be representative of the rest of the faculty though. Somehow the kids learned to articulate their thoughts and defend their positions in spite of such grotesque incompetence.

      Way to discount the kid’s parents. No, no, It HAD to be a public school faculty member.

  18. “Stop, no, because there is no comparison,” she says. Romney, she says, is “running for president. Obama is the president.”

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve read today.

    1. It’s good to be the king.

    2. And he’s been running for his second term the entire time he’s been in office.

  19. Thank you for the article / video. I feel much better about the $1k a month I’m doling out for parochial High School now.

  20. Please tell me this was part of some sort of “The Wave” type experiment.

  21. I was listening to this yesterday evening when my wife walked by my desk and overheard it. She asked me who is that lady and what is she yelling about? My wife was a teacher for 15 years, but not in the USA. When I told her that the lady was a teacher and that she was arguing with her students, she was in total disbelief that this person could possibly be a teacher and behaving that way in a class room.

    What I am really curious about is what the reaction is from her and the school after seeing this recording all over the internet. I bet they have already banned cell phones from class and probably suspended the student as well. I hope there is some follow up on this story, should be very interesting. I doubt that there will be any blowback at all from the parents in a school district that would continue to employ someone like that.

    1. The teacher is a black woman. She would have to murder a student to be kicked out of the system – and even that may not be enough. To insist on minimal competence would be counted as “racism”.

  22. Teachers are like cops: 95% of them give the other 5% a bad name. This is really pathetic, and sadly par for the course. I think hate public education more than any other public travesty.

    1. *I think I hate

      I really suck at this whole typing thing.

      1. Type-os pretty much get ignored around here since there is no edit feature, unless they are accidentally really funny, then you will get heckled without mercy.

  23. She is clapping after every word THAT IS HOW YOU KNOW SHE IS SRSZ BOUT THE PREZ

  24. Same teacher – if she still has a job – but replace Obama with Romney – should we be unfortunate enough to have either man in that office, but I digress…

    How would she act if Barry loses?

    1. Race riots?

      1. Oh, those are coming… ginned up by liberals, of course.

  25. so is this teacher average, below average, or above average?

    1. I thought they were all above average. Isn’t it something like 99% of public school teachers consistently get the highest possible rank on their performance reviews?

      1. In Illinois, ~90% meet or exceed expectations.

  26. The teacher has now been suspended with pay whilst they investigate the issue, according to a report in the Salisbury Post; the article is reachable via the link in the OP.

    There are no public sector unions in NC, but there are rules governing disciplinary processes that can take a long time to work through, unless there is gross misconduct. The video definitely indicates a lack of competence in both subject matter (public figure libel requiring “actual malice” and in classroom skills, but that may not be gross enough to avoid the full process, in which case if she learns from this experience and improves her performance, she would be ok.

    It probably does not reflect well on the school district either that they did not suspend the teacher when they heard the video on Friday, or in the alternative, that they did suspend her today simply because the video went viral.

    I do fault the student recording the incident. There is no dynamics processing and no eq applied. No production values :-p

  27. Weirdly, the student is composed and rational, and the teacher is hysterical and bullying. Student sounds like HE should be the teacher, and the teacher should be the student, albeit a rather dense one.

  28. It would also be interesting to know if this teacher had hectored students in the past for “slandering” President Bush.
    In fact, at one point, when the student said people had criticized Bush, she starts to say, “Because Bush was a shitty pre….” and stops.

  29. Irrational trash. I CANNOT believe she is a teacher.She can’t even speak properly, let alone argue rationally. SHe is so wrong. It is despicable how she is force teaching this kid lies.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.