May 22, 2012
The social studies teacher from Spencer, North Carolina that shouted down a student who voiced his opinion has been suspended with pay.
The quarrel began when a discussion about Mitt Romney’s alleged bullying led Hunter Rogers, the student who arranged the now viral recording, to ask if Obama didn’t also bully, as mentioned in his book.
Here’s a transcript of some of the audio from the heated exchange:
Teacher: Did you know, do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush?
Student: It doesn’t matter
Teacher: No, do you realize? You are not, you can’t, you’re not supposed to slander…the President.
Teacher: And let me tell you something else about me. As a teacher, I’m not supposed to allow you to disrespect the President of the United States. I’m not.
Student: I didn’t disrespect him, I was just asking a question.
At one point the teacher tries to make a distinction between criticizing Obama, President, and criticizing Romney, challenger: “He’s running for president. Obama is the president,” to which the student replied, “He’s just a man. Obama is no God.”
Below is an interview with Hunter and his mother from Fox News:
The school sent out a statement trying to spin the national media event as an education point for other teachers: “The Rowan-Salisbury School System expects all students and employees to be respectful in the school environment and for all teachers to maintain their professionalism in the classroom. This incident should serve as an education for all teachers to stop and reflect on their interaction with students.” – Rita K. Foil, PIO
As Hunter Rogers knows, it is not an arrestable offense to make critical remarks about the president – hundreds of media outlets do it each day. We supposedly do not live in an authoritarian government. The ability to criticize our government is protected by our constitutional First Amendment freedom of speech right, but as American scholar Leonard W. Levy has argued, the right to criticize the government “has always been an accordion-like concept, expandable or contractible at the whim of judges.”
Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson covered news of the event: