Friday, March 04, 2005

The Defiant Students Vs. The Angry Teacher

It all started when a student refused to stand for the National Anthem in Stuart Mantel's class at Brick Township High School, New Jersey. Things rapidly went downhill from there:
Students at Brick Township High School secretly recorded a video in their third period electronics class. The teacher, Stuart Mantel, was yelling at the students to stop fooling around during the nation anthem. But Mantel's angry tirade didn't end there. When one student refused to stand up for the national anthem, Mantel yanks the chair out from under him.
The story and the video can be seen here. A slideshow can be viewed here.
Corey Zappo, seen mugging for the camera, was suspended for 15 days following the taping. It was his camera, hidden in a sweater, that captured the outburst that Corey then posted on his personal website.
And what did Superintendent Dr. Thomas Seidenberger of the Brick Township School District have to say about the incident?
Brick's Superintendent says the student was well within his first amendment rights to stay seated during the national anthem, but it was the covert videotaping that really bothered him.
I find the Superintendent's comment interesting, because here in my own California school district students are expected to stand-up for for the flag pledge and other patriotic activities. Even though they can exempt themselves from saying the actual pledge and/or singing, they still must be on their feet.

Dr. Seidenberger also made this remark that could be interpreted in a variety of ways:
"You hope that kind of stuff doesn't happen in the classroom. It's certainly something that we don't advocate."
Duh. But isn't this an interesting outcome from this whole affair?
In response to this incident, Brick school officials are reconsidering total ban on cell phones in the school and they plan to restrict the use of all cameras inside as well.
It remains unknown what, if any, disciplinary action will be imposed on Mr. Mantel for his (what we consider unprofessional) outburst. He isn't talking, and the District isn't saying.

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