Jewish World Review Sept. 22, 2004 / 7 Tishrei 5765
Anti-homeschooling bigots strike again
The public school establishment hates homeschoolers. They've smeared the movement as a conspiracy of conservative Christian zealots. They've scoffed at homeschooled kids as social pariahs. They've painted homeschooling parents as uneducated and negligent.
And now, under the guise of preparing students for a violent terrorist attack, educators in one public school district are casting homeschoolers in the role of bomb-detonating militants.
The story about a mock terrorism drill involving a local school district in the Muskegon Chronicle starts out innocently enough:
"Local school district transportation directors instigated the exercise because they wanted to test their abilities to respond to emergencies, said Tom Spoelman, transportation consultant for the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. They eventually hooked up with Muskegon County Emergency Services, and planning for the event has been under way for about a year, Spoelman said.
The exercise will test not only school transportation directors, but also the Muskegon County Emergency Operations Plan, which involves many agencies throughout the county.
About 60 middle and high school students from Reeths-Puffer and Whitehall public schools will be part of the exercise, according to Kristin Tank, public information coordinator for the MAISD. Local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, human service agencies, transportation services and medical services will participate.
Students from Muskegon Community College and Reeths-Puffer will assist in applying makeup to add to the reality of the gruesome scene. Between 200 and 300 people will observe the exercise, including school bus drivers, school administrators, emergency personnel and evaluators from agencies across the state who will provide feedback."
What's jaw-droppingly unbelievable is the next paragraph describing the attackers in the simulation:
"The exercise will simulate an attack by a fictitious radical group called Wackos Against Schools and Education who believe everyone should be homeschooled. Under the scenario, a bomb is placed on the bus and is detonated while the bus is traveling on Durham, causing the bus to land on its side and fill with smoke."
This is not a joke. A taxpayer-funded drill is using public school students to enforce anti-homeschooling bigotry under the guise of preparing for terrorism. Terrorism by whom? By Islamic jihadists who hijack planes and incinerate kids headed to Disneyworld. Islamic terrorists who take hundreds of children hostage in Beslan, force them to drink their own urine and shoot babies in the back. Islamic terrorists who groom toddlers as suicide bombers.
Our enemies are Islamic extremist murderers. Except if you happen to attend the Muskegon County, Mich., schools, where the menacing faces of terrorism belong to parents who make untold sacrifices to give their children the best education they know how by schooling them in the loving environment of their own homes.
I recall the Islamist-sympathizing admonition included in the NEA's touchy-feely, post-Sept. 11 curriculum: "Do not suggest that any group is responsible" for the terrorist attacks, one tip for parents and teachers urged. Unless, it should be amended, you can work an anti-homeschooling hate angle into the lesson.
When President Bush's education secretary, Rod Paige, likened the National Education Association in jest to a "terrorist organization," teachers' union officials and the media became completely unhinged. How dare he make such an odious comparison, they gasped. How dare he make light of the real terrorists, they fumed.
"I can tell you what my first response was: Scary. That's really frightening," said Diana Garchow, a special-education teacher at Highland Elementary School in Bakersfield, Calif., told the Associated Press after Paige's remarks. "It's scary that you can't voice an opinion in this country without being called a terrorist. ...I don't care if it was a joke or what it was, that was a totally inappropriate comment."
Paige was forced to apologize to teachers. What about the Muskegon County, Mich., school system? Will its public education militants apologize to homeschoolers for taking an intolerant swipe at their beliefs? Or will this politicized "Wackos Against Schools and Education" terror drill be coming to a classroom near you?
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