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

From: ARON KAY (
Date: Wed Nov 28 2001 - 04:34:49 EST

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

    > ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    > Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 13:15:22 -0800
    > From: radtimes <>
    > 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
    > assembly.
    > 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
    > ago."
    > 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
    > attention.
    > 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
    > thought."
    > 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
    > program.
    > 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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