March 23, 2005

Running amok at West Seattle High

At West Seattle High School, the organization Operation Support Our Troops provided three pro-military speakers for what they were told would be a balanced presentation of issues surrounding the war. Instead, they walked into the most moonbattish spectacle you could imagine:

Three invited pro-military speakers were shocked last Friday when they arrived for a West Seattle High student assembly to confront a theater stage strewn with figures costumed as Iraqi men, women and children splashed with blood. It was a warm-up for the "Iraq Awareness Assembly" so no students except the actual actors saw the skit before the military guests complained to principal Susan Derse and she put a stop to it. And here comes the crucial part: no teachers or advisers were on hand or evidently even aware of the content although that part is one of several things still under investigation...

For Nadine Gulit of Operation Support Our Troops, the spectacle was sickening. She had been asked by student organizers to provide three speakers and she delivered. "I was told there would be three on each side. No debates. No rebuttal," she said in the e-mail she fired off to members of the Seattle School Board. "At no time was I referred to a teacher nor did a teacher contact me. As I walked into the theater there was a young girl wearing a mask and crawling on the floor. And, over the loud speaker (someone) was denouncing our military, saying 'Americans are killing my family!' "

...With her speakers in tow, Gulit saw the bloodied figures on the floor. Stage right were students in orange Abu Ghraib-style prison jumpsuits, hoods over heads, pounding on plates with spoons. Next, a student dressed as a grieving Iraqi woman knelt near a bloody body while, over a microphone, a narrator wailed the story of civilians shot, kicked and beaten by American soldiers.

Not exactly the civil, balanced forum that Operation Support the Troops was led to expect. Matt Rosenberg lets fly:

Seattle's flailing, public schools are seeking to "stave off bankruptcy" of more than one kind. It's a disgrace that time best used for core subject mastery is squandered to advance an anti-American, anti-military political agenda. Please note that I am talking about the loaded, unbalanced depiction of our country's role, and our military's essence in Iraq; not the different, and entirely acceptable expression of opposition to the Iraq War. Both sides were in fact aired at the speaking forum, which continued as planned, after the principal pulled the plug on the stealth "performance art" planned for the event.

A post-forum writing assignment on the war would have been a good idea, as opposed to politicized theatrics beforehand. As the State Superintendent of Public Instruction reports, only one-third of the West Seattle High School 10th graders tested last school year could pass all three mandatory sections (reading, writing, math) of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL); which will be required for graduation as of 2008.

The seque from this disgrace to the low passing rates is a nice touch. Brian Crouch of Sound Politics has a follow-up that quotes in full a letter written to the the Seattle school board by Major Terry Thomas, USMC, who was present for the whole shebang. This paragraph says it all:

Within the auditorium, numerous adults appeared to have been supervising this behavior and children were literally running amok. What is going on in your classrooms and auditoriums? Who supervised this program? Who are these grown adults dressed as prisoners and performing such the attics on the stage of our public schools? Since when has it become Seattle School Board policy to take an official anti-troops position and declare returning combat veterans from Iraq such as myself as killers of innocent women and children as if this war were some sick sport. As an Iraq war veteran I am outraged by what I witnessed going on at West Seattle High School!

My only complaint is that Major Thomas should have put the words "grown adults" above in double-quotes, as any person who would have willingly participated in this type of outrageous ambush is neither a grown-up nor an adult.

(Everybody scooped me on this, because it happened last week while I was bogged down and getting sick, but here are a few more takes on it: Michelle Malkin, The Prickly Pear, and Hennessy's View, who actually has some emails from WSHS administrators.)

Update: Lots of comments over at LGF on this topic.

Posted by kswygert at March 23, 2005 08:29 PM