[sixties-l] Residents Express Outrage Over Howard Zinn (fwd)

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Date: Wed Nov 28 2001 - 03:28:09 EST

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    Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 13:15:22 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Residents Express Outrage Over Howard Zinn

    Newton Residents Express Outrage Over Leftist Speaker at High School


    Howard Zinn Is Leftover from Radical '60s

    By Ed Oliver
    November 27, 2001

    Newton residents lined up at a school committee meeting last night to
    express their anger over an incident at Newton North High School on
    November 9 where many students were forced to attend an anti-war

    On that day, a controversial leftist professor, who is a holdover from
    the 1960s named Howard Zinn, gave a speech to high school students
    saying US military operations in Afghanistan were morally equivalent to
    the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    News of the incident enraged townspeople already upset with the radical
    school system's disdain for traditional displays of patriotism such as
    flags in the classroom and the Pledge of Allegiance, in addition to its
    legendary embrace of the homosexual agenda.

    Several residents commented on the poor timing of the Professor Zinn
    presentation and the disrespect to veterans' families displayed by the
    incident. There were also many comments about the embarrassing
    reputation of the Newton Schools.

    Comments were also made about an underlying hostility to America
    displayed by the Newton Schools, such as patriotism being drowned out by
    multiculturalism. Several people asked the School Committee to get out
    of the 60's mode and start teaching patriotism again.

    The school committee, which included Mayor Cohen and Superintendent
    Young, sat stone faced under the verbal assault.

    Residents Speak

    A resident, Will Rogers, pointed out that the school committee grew up
    at a time when it was very popular to protest. However, he said, "This
    is now. I urge you all to get over it. There are certain fundamental
    things this country stands for^why you would pick someone like Zinn to
    come and talk I have no understanding. It's wonderful to have dissenting
    views, but we do that very well without having extremists^Get over it
    please. We are in the next century. The 60's and 70's were long, long

    A student named Willie Gassett who attends Newton North High School told
    MassNews that students had to attend the speech if their class teacher
    signed up for it. Although none of his teachers signed up, his friend's
    history teacher did and told the class, "I signed up for this assembly.
    You have to go or else you fail this class this day."

    A resident named Cindy, who asked that her last name be withheld, told
    the School Committee that her nephew, a ninth grader at Newton North
    High, told her on Thanksgiving that the presentation by Professor Zinn
    was not optional and that his entire class had to attend.

    She told the School Committee that a speaker with an opposing point of
    view should have been presented immediately. "Today I contacted Jean
    White, who is the enrichment coordinator on campus in charge of this
    specific presentation. When I asked her if she had scheduled an opposing
    point of view for the children who attended the Zinn presentation, she
    said they did not have anyone, and asked me if I had any names. Why
    would the administration go ahead and allow such a presentation without
    first arranging for an opposing point of view?"

    She said she believes in exposing children to other viewpoints. "I feel
    very strongly, however, that when opposing viewpoints on very
    controversial issues are not given equal consideration, your teaching
    feels as though it becomes an agenda, not an education."

    Donna Mazzola wanted to know why parents were not notified about the
    Zinn speech. She said she found it ironic that neither of her two
    children were present for veteran ceremonies, but both were brought to
    the Zinn speech.

    "The only positive thing that came out of this event was that my
    14-year-old said he and his friends stopped listening and my 17-year-old
    said his peers were very angry and hurt. But they felt helpless to
    comment. Apparently there is more hope for our young people."

    Brian Camenker told the committee that he spoke to several kids. None of
    them told him going to the Zinn speech was optional. "The idea that this
    was mandatory is true," he said.

    Camenker told the Superintendent he remembers sitting in his office two
    years ago asking why there were no flags in the classrooms. "You gave me
    this bored look," said Camenker, "because there were much more important
    things I'm sure." He also said the Pledge of Allegiance is routinely
    ignored although it is required by state law and parents ask about it.

    Jim Epstein said, "Why don't we get with it. We are in a new age now and
    there is a role for the schools to teach patriotism. As far as the age
    of cultural relativism, we're beyond that now."

    Anthony Pellegrini, a World War II veteran, pointed out that the school
    committee room where they were meeting was without an American flag.

    Marsha Ciccolo said a young man from the high school told her that
    Professor Zinn said we are as bad as the terrorists. He told her that no
    facts were presented, only moralizing.

    "What on earth did you hope to accomplish by bringing this traitor, this
    maggot thriving in this country off the backs of others whom he
    despises, to lecture our community's children? Did you really think he
    would present a factually sound other side? Or is it that none of you
    have been willing to grow up and admit that maybe the sixties are gone?"

    Ciccolo said she calculated that, "Fifteen thousand dollars of school
    time was wasted on the so-called voluntary assembly. Let's see, Howard
    Zinn spouting nonsense, or art and music? Do us all a favor, hold
    someone accountable for this blunder."

    Thomas Mountain professed his profound disappointment in the city's
    school leadership for knowingly bringing Zinn into the school to "spew
    his anti-American rhetoric."

    Some in Favor

    A student representative named Benjamin Heidlige defended the school and
    Professor Zinn. He said the fact that the speech was voluntary was made
    perfectly clear and those who say it wasn't were probably not paying

    Ted Mahon said everyone has the right to be wrong and he is proud of the
    school system.

    Sherry Moor, from a large family of veterans, said the right to dissent
    is inherent patriotism. She thanked the Newton schools for bringing an
    array of opinions.

    Faye Ruup also said patriotism encompasses our right to listen to other
    opinions. She urged the school committee not to prevent "diversity of

    However, George Caruso said, "You couldn't have done better with the
    Taliban" by bringing Zinn in to speak. He said he only learned about the
    matter an hour ago and was outraged. He said the meeting should not have
    been mandatory and there should be an alternative speaker offered.

    Lindsay Dahlben, a student representative, said students should not have
    to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it has "God" in it, and some
    Americans do not believe in God.

    Supt. Young Says It Was Voluntary

    Before anybody was allowed to speak, Superintendent Jeffrey Young read a
    prepared statement to the packed meeting room.

    Young said that in order to get a better understanding of the issues
    involved in the Sept. 11 attack, two faculty members at Newton North
    High School discussed with the school's "Human Rights Board" the
    possibility of hosting a series of speakers. The faculty was then
    surveyed for ideas about topics and speakers.

    Young said a plan was developed for a full year voluntary program to
    bring in an array of speakers with different points of view. He said
    that attending the speeches is not mandatory. But it was later revealed
    that a student was required to "opt-out" of the session if the teacher
    assigned it.

    Young said one of the speakers invited by the Human Rights Board was
    Professor Howard Zinn, who spoke to a full auditorium. Afterward,
    students stayed to ask questions he said.

    Several students and faculty asked whether there would be an opportunity
    to hear speakers with opposing points-of-view, said Young. They said
    yes, explaining there would be plenty of speakers with the full year

    A week later, after the Zinn speech, there were four voluntary
    assemblies coordinated by the Office of Veterans' Services, said Young,
    which were attended by students and faculty as well as veterans of World
    War II, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.

    "At each of these assemblies, the principal invited the audience to
    stand in honor of veterans and observe a moment of silence for the
    victims of September 11, and to join the principal in reciting the
    Pledge of Allegiance."

    Young did not say, however, if there were any speeches given by veterans
    as part of the ceremonies. He said a photojournalist who covers the
    Middle East was invited to speak the next week.

    "All events presented by the on-campus program are voluntary. Teachers
    sign up as they get notice of events, and students have the right to opt
    out^moreover, in no way does the content of Professor Zinn's remarks in
    any way represent a particular bias on the part of either the faculty,
    nor the administration of the public schools."

    Young said he surveyed the 21 school principals shortly after September
    11 about the number of classrooms where the American flags were either
    missing or in such condition where they needed to be replaced. He said
    he ordered enough flags to equip every classroom in Newton and they are
    expected to arrive within four weeks.

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