Sunday, October 4, 2009
Obama Youth -- Junior Fraternity Regiment,
A middle school teacher in Missouri was suspended Monday for putting a video on YouTube of his students chanting lines from Barack Obama speeches and wearing military fatigues.
The video, called "Obama Youth -- Junior Fraternity Regiment," was posted by a YouTube user named "keepitwildtv" on Oct. 2. The school learned the video was on the Internet and took action against the teacher Monday morning.
Joyce McGautha, superintendent of the Urban Community Leadership Academy, a charter school for students in fifth through ninth grades in Kansas City, Mo., said that the video was probably taken last May during the Junior Fraternity's morning meeting at the school.
She would not disclose the teacher's name. "At this time because of the legal action that we'll probably have to take against the teacher, I'm not going to give his name," McGautha said.
Students at the school have 30-minute group sessions four times a week during which they are supposed to work on reading and writing. Once a week they are allowed to have "activities," McGautha said. There are 12 groups at the public charter school.
The Junior Fraternity students studied Obama's economic plan with the teacher, and the superintendent did not know whether the teacher or the students scripted the routine. The group should have also studied John McCain's economic plan, the superintendent said.
In the video, eighth- and ninth-graders wearing military camouflage pants and navy t-shirts chant and perform a routine in the style of a step show, a dance popular among African-American fraternities at universities.
The students enter the room chanting "Alpha. Omega. Alpha. Omega." Then, one at a time, they state things they were "inspired" to do by Barack Obama, including becoming an architect and a sheriff. At the end of the video, the students make statements about Obama's healthcare plan. "Obama's healthcare plan will be able to provide participants the ability to move from job to job without taking their healthcare coverage," one says.
"People are upset that possibly taxpayer money is being used to support one particular candidate," McGautha said, "and now I can understand that. And I didn't condone them. I try very, very hard to remain within the limits of the law. I think this is unfortunate."
She said she was aware of the video, and that many of the school's activities are recorded, but that the teacher had been warned in a letter not to put it on the Internet. If he did, she said, he should seek legal counsel.
The teacher's fate will be taken up by the charter school's board, she said.
"Certain things don't happen in public schools anyway, but there area lot of other ramifications when you take it public," McGautha said.
"As far as [the teacher is] concerned, I think he gets what was supposed to come to him. But I don't think the children should be the victims of his stupidity."
(From axis4peace Youtube)