My morning started today as it does most mornings with coffee and my local rag and sometimes employer, the Charlotte Observer.  I found one  headline particularly troubling, Facebook venting ensnares teacher.

The story tells of a middle-school teacher in one of the city’s neighboring counties who used the popular social networking site to complain about her young students and their insensitivity to her religious beliefs (presumably Muslim though not explicitly stated) and values.

The teacher cited incidents of an anonymous gift of the Bible at Christmastime, a Jesus postcard left on her desk and spontaneous singing of  “Jesus Loves Me” by the children, apparently done in an attempt to get her goat. The teacher openly disparaged the kids online and some of her teacher friends joined in the fray with one even calling for her to bring a Dale Earnhardt Jr. poster to class, defaced with a swastika on his likeness.

Of course when this all became public the parents were in an uproar, the school  suspended and will likely fire the teacher and childless middle-aged liberals like me get to read, then stew about the whole ugly affair.

How unfortunate that both the teacher and the students involved couldn’t use this situation for a more positive outcome. Enhancing understanding and tolerance of those with differing beliefs and values must be a bedrock principle in our schools. Sadly, poor behavior and judgment exercised by the educator and her young charges in this incident have instead fostered divisiveness, mistrust and animus.

We should expect better from our teachers and our children.

Parents, are you listening?

Michael J. Solender

Michael J. Solender

Michael J. Solender is a recent corporate refugee whose opinion and satire has been featured in The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Winston-Salem Journal, and Richmond Style Weekly. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for The Charlotte Observer and is the City Life Editor for Charlotte ViewPoint. His micro-fiction has been featured online at Bull Men’s Fiction, Calliope Nerve, Danse Macabre, Dogzplot, Gloom Cupboard, Full of Crow, Pangur Ban Party and others.

You can find more of his work at his website and also at his blog.