02 Mar

Denver Highschool Teacher’s Rant Investigated

Denver News

The Overland High educator is on administrative leave. Cherry Creek’s superintendent said a balanced viewpoint will be given to students.
An Overland High School teacher who criticized President Bush, capitalism and U.S. foreign policy during his geography class was placed on administrative leave Wednesday afternoon after a student who recorded the session went public with the tape.
In the 20-minute recording, made on an MP3 player, teacher Jay Bennish described capitalism as a system “at odds with human rights.” He also said there were “eerie similarities” between what Bush said during his Jan. 28 State of the Union address and “things that Adolf Hitler used to say.”
The United States was “probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth,” Bennish also said on the tape.
Bennish, who has been part of Overland’s social studies faculty since 2000, did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday. Cherry Creek School District officials are investigating the incident, but no disciplinary action has been taken, district spokeswoman Tustin Amole said.
Bennish was placed on leave “to take some of the pressure off of him” during the investigation, which could wrap up in a week, Amole said.
Superintendent Monte Moses, who received a copy of the recording on Monday from 850 KOA-AM radio show host Mike Rosen, said it appears “a breach of district policy” occurred.
“Our policy calls for both sides to be present … in the interest of intellectual discourse,” Moses said. Bennish’s presentation appeared to be unbalanced, he said.
The district is looking into whether the incident was an isolated one and will ensure that a balanced viewpoint of the president’s State of the Union address is provided to students, Moses said.
Moses also said the district will be fair to Bennish. “People in life make mistakes occasionally,” he said. “We address them. We learn from them.”
The 20-minute recording of only a portion of the class was made by 16-year-old sophomore Sean Allen the day after the president’s speech. The recording has raised questions about what level of academic freedom is acceptable for high school teachers. It also has generated discussions about Bennish on dozens of websites.
Sean, who appeared on Rosen’s show Wednesday morning, said in an interview he had been disturbed by the “political rants” he heard in Bennish’s class. He added that he wanted to tape the session for his father, who later shared it with the media.
Sean, who described himself as a political independent, said the comments seemed inappropriate for a geography class.
“If he wants to give an opinion in class, I’m perfectly OK with that,” he said. “But he has to give both sides of the story.”
James McGrath Morris, an author who has written about academic freedom issues, said Bennish’s comments are acceptable for an adult audience, but they are hard to defend in a high school classroom.
In a number of legal cases, courts have ruled that “up until the age of majority, children are easily influenced … in a way that they don’t have the faculties to sort out rights from wrongs,” Morris said

Overland highschool teachers rant


Wild Thing’s comment……
I listened to the tape. Not only did the teacher rant and rave, most of the rants were not factual. There is enough evidence on the tape to terminate the teacher immediately.
Our public school system is a liberals dream, and a national disgrace. It’s not a conversation when a teacher stands at the front of a classroom and goes off on a diatribe about the evils of Bush. It’s a lesson in hate speech.
A liberal teacher who tosses out blatant lies and hyperbole designed to shape negative, hateful attitudes toward this country and its president is no different than a Wahabist who teaches exactly the same thing to young Muslim children in madrassahs.
Twenty years ago, the parents in this school would have demanded this guy be terminated INSTANTLY. Forty years ago, he would have been lynched.

TomR says:

You wonder and worry how much of this extreme liberal nonsense goes on in schools that we don’t know about. What is encouraging is that it seems that so many, maybe most, kids see thru this crap by the time they are in the work force. I will resrerve my estimate of those in college tho!

Jack says:

Yes, fire him. His job is to teach not indoctrinate the student with his personal predelictions. If the parents quit behaving like sheeple and act like true pearents they’ll get rid of this aberration and straighten out the faculty and the curriculum.
Most of us get our political, religious and ethical beliefs from our parents, some of us reject those once we become mature enough to decide for ourselves, hold the leaders of the walkout at Overland High School responsible also.

Wild Thing says:

Tom so true, one of my nephews sons is 12 and he can tell the difference big time. Some of his suggestions about the left and those attacking our troops have me grinning from ear to ear.
Thank you so much for commenting Tom.

Wild Thing says:

I agree Jack, my father used to talk about all of these things to me when I was very, very young. I loved it so much (lots of happy memories of those times).
Thank you for replying to this.

Rhod says:

I took a brief teaching job in Florida many years ago, before going off to do something serious and productive, like digging holes and pulling wire as an electrician’s helper. It made more sense and I kept my self-respect. Teaching prejudiced me on teachers forever.
The teachers I knew seem to to be divided between the terminally lazy, who were invisible, and the terminally annoyed. Annoyed about this and that, outraged or indignant about everything…especially where they couldn’t project their self-importance, and resentful that they had no power to make their fantasies real. Put a bunch of them together and they all grew a little larger, like street punks. Bennish is a really bad version of this type.
He’s lazy, arrogant and stupid, a yammering stooge. You could put the words of witch-burners, spell-casters, hate-mongers or deranged end-timers in his mouth and he wouldn’t sound any different. This is the truly scandalous part about this. Years ago we could recognize a Bennish for the tiny bubbling fish he is. But now he has a teaching certificate. Parents get the teachers they deserve.

Wild Thing says:

Hi Rhod thank you well said!
If the parents at that school do not show their outrage and they better, then they will enable more of the same thing. Like you said Rhod, the parents get the teachers they deserve.

My senior year of HS I took a semester of US/state govt(It’s required in Illinois)It was around the time of the 200th anniversary of the Constitutional Convention and Mr. Vazales make it all come alive for us.He also encouraged my love of history and became a mini cheering section for me what things got rocky at school later in the year. I aced both quarters and almost 19 years later-this was the fall of 1987-still consider Mr. Vazales to be the best teacher I had in HS.
I was already a budding conservative and “Vaz”-a Korean War vet-was a liberal democrat
I found this out years later-because it had no effect on the way he taught the class.
The world needs more Richard Vazales’s

raz0r says:

This teacher was discussing Bush’s State of the Union address leading up to his demagoguery towards Bush. His class was geography. What does one have to do with the other. This clown wasted half of a class period ranting to and indoctrinating his students. Had it been a poli-sci class, it still would have been inappropriate as it didn’t invite discussion or allow for rebuttal; it was just pure propaganda. Socialist scum.

Rhod says:

You said Mr. Vazales was a liberal, which makes all the difference. Bennish is something else entirely.
The liberals of the 1940’s and 1950’s made the Democratic Party the success-engine of the middle class in this country for thirty years. They weren’t always right (the 1960’s), but I will never dismiss their importance and influence. But that’s all gone.
Apparently at least one of them survived into the 1980’s and left you with something important.

Wild Thing says:

Hi Barb thank you so much for sharing about Mr. Vazales. That is so neat to have a teacher that so good like that.It sure does make a difference.

Wild Thing says:

Hi razOr it sure was propaganda and he was intense doing it too.
Thank you so much for commenting.