Somebody Flipped Their Lid
With all the hoopla about destroying and desecrating anything and everything related to the Confederacy these days, it seems that rationality has gone out the window. Here is another example.
McBain Rural Agricultural School conducted an investigation after a teacher was filmed taking a hammer to a former student’s art tile with a Confederate flag on it.
School superintendent Steve Prissel said the school found out about the video when someone brought it to the attention of high school principal Ryan Biller.
In the video you can see the teacher take down a tile with a Confederate flag on it that the teacher said was “offensive.”
Biller began an investigation to address the incident as the school had not pre-approved the removal of the tile, the superintendent said.
Prissel would not identify the high school teacher involved in the incident or go into details about the investigation due to confidentiality reasons.
McBain senior Jackie Coleman said in a Facebook message that she took the video of the teacher.
Coleman said she was in the school’s art room during her study hour to work on her final piece. Some kids were making their senior tile and were viewing the ones already on the wall made by the 2007 seniors.
Students were making comments and ideas as they looked at the tiles and the one with the Confederate flag tile was particularly a conversation starter, she said.
When the teacher heard about the Confederate flag conversation, she said she didn’t agree with the tile being displayed and said she would take it down. She grabbed a hammer, pulled a table up, climbed on top of it, and started destroying the tile, Coleman said.
When Falmouth resident Kasia Vasser saw the video on Facebook, she recognized the tile. It was identical to the one she kept in her house and now has in her truck.
She was a senior at the McBain school in 2007 and made the tiles as part of an art project, she said.
She said all the seniors made the tiles, one for the wall and one to take with them. The teacher told them to put something on the tile that represented themselves.
What represented Vasser was horseshoes, her initials and the Confederate flag, she said.
Those items together represented freedom for her too. She loved horses and loved to ride them.
“When I ride I don’t think about problems, I just enjoy the ride,’ she said. “Enjoy the freedom of the ride.’
As for the flag, she said she believes it stands for history, freedom and respect.
She lived in southern states for a while and said that they were the best days for her family financially, academically and health wise.
No one said anything about the flag when she was making it and a lot of people have their own opinions and think of the flag in multiple ways, she said.
In the video’s Facebook comments, Vasser saw negative comments toward the teacher’s actions and negative comments toward her. There were also praises toward the teacher and praises toward Vasser.
“It’s whatever you believe and your opinion,’ she said.
Prissel said this was a “passionate’ subject and was handled accordingly.
It was a controversial piece and because there are differing views on it, it brings up different emotions, he said.
He consulted with the school’s attorney who supported that it was justified that the tile be taken down if it was bothering students.
The reasoning for taking it down was because students were offended by it and did not want it right on the wall. It was a disruption in the classroom and that had to be taken into account, he said.
As of now, Prissel is not aware of other tiles being taken down.
A handful of people did reach out and parents were concerned about the situation. They’re not used to seeing McBain on social media for something controversial, he said.
There is a process in place for removing something like this, but in this case it was not followed and the teacher did not ask for permission beforehand.
“The staff needs to follow protocol,’ he said. “So will they be reminded of that? Absolutely.’
At the school they support different viewpoints, that’s part of being an educational institution. They are also responsible as a school district to hear students’ concerns, he said.
“I think people need to be sensitive on both sides,’ he said.
An attempt to contact the teacher involved was unsuccessful.
The real issue here, as in similar incidents, is the rule of law and due process vs vigilantism and censorship. For generations the notion that people can take the law into their own hands and attack those persons and objects that they find offensive or hate was condemned by most Americans and the media. Now, it seems, if someone doesn’t like something, they can vandalize and destroy to their heart’s content–just as long as they do it in the name of political correctness! Wasn’t vigilante behavior exactly what was so heinous about the post Reconstruction/Jim Crow South? A person accused of a crime, instead of being given due process and letting the law decide their guilt or innocence, is taken out of jail and summarily hanged by a MOB who are convinced they are doing the right thing. But how is that any different than what we are seeing now? Individuals take the law into their own hands–generally without knowing the full story–and engage in violent acts of destruction. Today it is property; but once vigilantism becomes an acceptable alternative to rule of law–it is only a short step to the taking of lives of people whom someone finds offensive. Just remember, Political Correctness is a two edged sword; those who cannot tolerate other’s ideas and beliefs may soon find their own ideas and beliefs also being violently attacked and censored.
Thank you so much for your comment, Mr. Coleman. I completely agree. It is a double edged sword, like you said. There are so many instances in history where monuments were destroyed to erase past history. It is alarming, in my opinion, and the biggest mistake our country could make.