Scenes of hapless hostages developing feelings of sympathy or even fellowship for someone who did them wrong, is not a new phenomenon, so when one takes a look at the sudden swell of camaraderie developing in the region of Fayetteville, with a teacher that clearly belittled a little girl over her political beliefs, well consider me unmoved in my assessment.
The can dredge up any number of people and scream “we are all now Diantah Harris” and it wouldn’t matter one bit. The video clearly shows the shock and dismay of this girl, and the Columbine Schools Superintendent William Harrison recognized it as well. Jon Ostendorff, the person who wrote the initial article that got things rolling in N.Carolina, has written a report coming from the perspective of those directly affected by the report.
That is well within his rights to do so, and it is welcomed. It shows just how much people can self delude themselves into believing anything that they set their minds to. As I said, I am not persuaded from my original assessment. The girl was harassed, the camera pictured it, and that speaks for itself. Any little girl caught biting her lips like she did, and her eyes swelling to almost breaking into tears, did not understand Harris’ comments to be “just joking around”. Smart people understand that. Disingenuous people choose not to. KGS
ASHEVILLE – The Cumberland County school system is investigating the actions of a former Asheville teacher criticized for “belittling” a student who voiced support for presidential candidate John McCain.
But the parents of that student, and the student herself, said Friday that teacher Diantha Harris did nothing wrong.
“She is usually messing around,” said Cathy Thompson, who was in Harris’ fifth-grade class in May when a Swedish film crew visited for a documentary on American politics. “When she said that, I knew she was messing around.”
What Harris said sparked the ire of conservative bloggers this week after a clip of her from the film “From Bill to Barack” made its way to YouTube. The film aired Monday on Finland’s Swedish language Channel 5.
“Oh Lord, John McCain,” she says in the film when one child voices support for the Republican nominee. “Oh Jesus.”
After a discussion with one student supporting Barack Obama because of his plan to end the war in Iraq, Harris turns to Cathy Thompson and asks her to speak up about her choice because her father is in the military
Cathy is shown biting her lip and looking upset. She remained silent.
“It’s a senseless war,” Harris says in the film. “And by the way, Cathy, the person you are picking for president said that our troops will stay in Iraq for another 100 years if they need to.”
Thompson still didn’t respond.
“So that means your daddy is going to be in the military for another hundred years,” she tells the child.
Cumberland County Schools Superintendent William Harrison called the statements inappropriate.
“I was shocked when I saw the clip of an interaction between a Cumberland County Schools teacher and her students as posted on YouTube,” Harrison said in a statement.
Harrison said he has started an investigation and would “take appropriate action.”
The superintendent made his own statement on YouTube about the matter.
“Most disconcerting was the military slant that made its way into this discussion,” he said. “We are a military community, serving over 15,000 military students and their families. We value the sacrifices, not only of the military parents but also those of their families.”
Cumberland County is home to Fort Bragg and the 82nd Airborne.
Cathy Thompson said Friday she wasn’t upset at the time. Her parents, Angela Moore and Army Staff Sgt. Robert Thompson, also said they weren’t mad at the teacher.
Moore said her daughter never mentioned feeling as if she was being picked on.
“Mrs. Harris is always active with the children like that,” Moore said. “I have sat in her class when my Cathy was a student, and she was very active with the children. She tries to get them involved with everything.”
Robert Thompson said when he first watched the clip Friday, he understood why some would see it as Harris trying to change his daughter’s mind.
But after hearing Harris’ side and talking with his daughter, he now thinks Harris is “getting a rough deal.”
The video provided fodder for bloggers this week who took aim at Harris.
The Tundra Tabloids, a blog about Islamic extremism, said she “willingly browbeat and belittled a student in class for her choice of a presidential candidate.”
Also: Diantha Harris has stated that the those of us, especially me, since I broke the story, have made an issue of this story solely due to Barack Obama winning the White House.
The Tundra Tabloids posted both the first post about Diantha Harris, and the real video to You Tube almost two full days before I knew who won the election. Try word weaseling your way out of the one Diantha! KGS