Freedom of Speech: Shut Your Faces
Bill Nevins, a New Mexico high school teacher and personal friend, was fired last year and classes in poetry and the poetry club at Rio Rancho High School were permanently terminated. It had nothing to do with obscenity, but it had everything to do with extremist politics.Well, I bet those shy youngsters won't have any difficulty expressing their creativity now. Jeesh, we need to rid positions of power and influence of these cretins. It appears as though this is just a regular public high school, so what gives with the "military liaison"? I guess I shouldn't say 'regular' - after all, it is a Microsoft Center of Innovation. I suppose their next innovations will be solitary confinement, caning and book-burning.
The 'Slam Team' was a group of teenage poets who asked Nevins to serve as faculty adviser to their club. The teens, mostly shy youngsters, were taught to read their poetry aloud and before audiences. Rio Rancho High School gave the Slam Team access to the school's closed-circuit television once a week and the poets thrived.
In March 2003, a teenage girl named Courtney presented one of her poems before an audience at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Albuquerque, then read the poem live on the school's closed-circuit television channel.
A school military liaison and the high school principal accused the girl of being 'un-American' because she criticized the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failure to give substance to its 'No child left behind' education policy.
The girl's mother, also a teacher, was ordered by the principal to destroy the child's poetry. The mother refused and may lose her job.
Bill Nevins was suspended for not censoring the poetry of his students. Remember, there is no obscenity to be found in any of the poetry. He was later fired by the principal.
After firing Nevins and terminating the teaching and reading of poetry in the school, the principal and the military liaison read a poem of their own as they raised the flag outside the school. When the principal had the flag at full staff, he applauded the action he'd taken in concert with the military liaison.
Then to all students and faculty who did not share his political opinions, the principal shouted: 'Shut your faces.' What a wonderful lesson he gave those 3,000 students at the largest public high school in New Mexico. In his mind, only certain opinions are to be allowed.[Nitpicker emphasis]