MILWAUKEE, WI- According to Fox Wilmington, a public school teacher based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was placed on leave this week after he allegedly described Rush Limbaugh‘s advanced cancer diagnosis as “awesome”.
Travis Sarandos, an English teacher at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, became the subject of severe scrutiny after he Tweeted quite the controversial commentary this past Monday.
The Washington Examiner hosted a screenshot of a post from a now-deleted account on Twitter that stated the following:
“rush limbaugh absolutely should have to suffer from cancer. it’s awesome that he’s dying, and hopefully it is as quick as it is painful.”
And THIS is what is teaching our children – Travis Sarandos, a teacher – twitter handle Mr. s (@travis_mke) – said horrible things about Rush Limbaugh. Shame on him – hope he gets relieved of his teaching duties!! https://t.co/VvfJAukaUT
— Theresa T. (@tlc102462) February 6, 2020
Sarandos was replying to someone on Twitter who had posted their hopes that Limbaugh speedily recovers from his diagnosed cancer.
The comment written by Sarandos came shortly after news of Limbaugh’s advanced lung cancer, and just the day prior to him being awarded the Medal of Freedom at the State of the Union.
Being the personality that Limbaugh is, he’s not lacking in the critics department. He’s made comments like referring to the NBA as the “Thug Basketball Association” in 2004, and described a college law student as a “slut” for trying to advocate for birth control being provided by the government – which he later apologized for those comments.
However, more often than not, Limbaugh is just making humorous jabs with this kind of commentary.
— Chris Stimart (@ChrisStimart) February 4, 2020
Yet, despite the critics that Limbaugh has acquired throughout the years, not many were entertained by Sarandos’ words on Twitter. Robert G. Donovan, the District 8 Alderman in Wisconsin, was one of those not pleased.
Donovan stated the following on a statement released on his Facebook page:
“It would be easy enough to dismiss ill-written, juvenile nonsense like this were it not for [Sarandos’] role in teaching our City’s young people. He is supposed to be an example of the inclusive, tolerant, and respectful spirit of the Milwaukee Public schools. He is clearly nothing of the sort.”
After the backlash, the school finally responded to the controversy and placed the English teacher on leave:
“We are aware of Mr. Sarandos’ actions and can confirm that he was not speaking on behalf of any students or staff of Milwaukee High School of the Arts or Milwaukee Public Schools.
The district is following policy and procedures related to personnel matters. Mr. Sarandos has been placed on leave pending further investigation.”
It’s hard to say whether this conduct will result in the termination of the teacher or not. While the officials within the school district are investigating the matter, it’s hard to understand what more would really require investigating.
Hopefully, the district makes the right choice, and keeps this individual out of the classroom for good.
Student-teacher fired after making students recite graphic, violent methods to control slaves
NASHVILLE, TN – A student teacher was recently relieved of their duties from Waverly Belmont Elementary School for what’s being noted as a controversial assignment covering slavery.
In a lesson that taking was place during Black History Month, a fourth-grade classroom was administered an optional assignment inspired by the 1712 speech “The Making of a Slave” by slave owner William Lynch.
Needless to say, parents were not thrilled about the assignment’s graphic subject matter reaching the eyes and ears of their young children.
Kristen Lockert was one of the parents who was confused and disturbed by the classroom assignment, concerned that the graphic content was simply too much for her black, fourth-grade son.
The student-teacher's lesson plan, given to youngsters at Waverly Belmont Elementary School in Nashville, was centered around the notorious — and perhaps apocryphal — 1712 speech by slave owner William Lynch, "The Making of a Slave," officials said. https://t.co/Zg3BCWWShU
— Tony (Silverback King) Morris (@TA_Morris) February 7, 2020
Lockert spoke to a local news crew about the troubling assignment delivered in the classroom:
“Monday my child was like, we learned about slavery. The teacher gave them a choice. She said the info was very graphic and violent and you have a choice, to read it or not read it. If you don’t want to read it, then you go to the other side of the classroom.”
What’s interesting is that if the student-teacher doling out the lesson was aware of the graphic content, why weren’t parents informed initially instead of informing a room full of 9 and 10-year-olds?
Lockert held the very same observation during the broadcasted interview with local News 4 NBC:
“If the students have a choice [on the assignment], then they have to have parent permission.”
The history of slavery, both in America and abroad, is an important subject that students should learn the history of.
But some parents argue that students having the question: “To keep their slaves subservient, plantation owners should” – followed by a series of blank bullet points to fill in – is not an appropriate way to teach youngsters.
A Tennessee school district fired a student-teacher after the young educator taught a Black History Month lesson to fourth-graders, asking them to recite graphic, violent methods to control slaves, officials said Thursday.https://t.co/7tfgbuC8iu
— Brother Voodoo🦉 (@Mental_Mastodon) February 6, 2020
Lockert noted that her son was curious about the assignment, after being warned that it might be too graphic.
So the young man opted to read the first few paragraphs and reported to his mother what he read. The mother recounted what he relayed reading from those first paragraphs:
“You need to whip a black man just as you whip a horse and break them as a horse. You need to inbreed them and then take their child away.”
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It’s not difficult to see how someone so young would have a tough time digesting those realities of slavery, especially considering they’re also black.
With things like having to contemplate the history of the era of slavery, the dynamic between owners and slaves and so much more, it can prove to be a complex lesson plan for elementary-aged kids.
The mother of the young boy is worried that the lesson delivered might have caused identity issues. Lockert stated:
“Just knowing he had to be subjected to reading something like that could make him feel like he was less of who he is.”
Metro Nashville Public Schools took the concerns seriously, and released a statement following their actions to dismiss the student-teacher:
“A student-teacher was dismissed and asked not to return to Waverly-Belmont as a result of teaching material that was not age appropriate or within the scope of sequence for the 4th grade class.”
Apparently, the class’ full-time teacher was also placed on administrative leave after the incident, according to district spokesman Sean Braisted. Braisted also stated that the student-teacher is an African American female student from nearby Vanderbilt University.
Vanderbilt University released the following statement after word broke of the student-teacher hailing from the school:
“The student teacher experience, where seasoned classroom teachers serve as mentors, is an invaluable one. This was an unfortunate situation for all involved.
We will continue to work with Metro Nashville Public Schools to ensure that students, student-teachers, and mentors benefit from engaging in the classroom and working together.”
Topics like slavery or learning about the Holocaust are invaluable to learn and understand. While these subjects might be slightly covered in grades as early as 4th or 5th, there’s typically a little tact applied and children are usually spared the more gruesome realities of the times.
In fact, Common Sense Media suggests that discussing the details of any horrific act of violence – like rapes, beheadings and so on – should transpire after someone is 12 years old at the earliest. There’s a fitting colloquialism that can be applied here, and that is young children just need to be “spared the gory details”.
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