Teacher’s attack is untrue, offensive

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 21, 2010

As a father of three Natchez-Adams School District students, a Navy veteran and a Natchez fireman, I take personal offense to the condescending nature of Mr. Shawn Smith’s remarks in his letter to the editor in The Natchez Democrat titled, “Local teachers are out of options.”

For more than a decade, I stood watch at the wall that affords him the comfort to exercise the freedom that he now uses so indiscriminately to spit in my face. How pretentious of him to imply that my wife — who is now currently pursuing a master’s degree in psychology — and I have made such sacrifices and set such high academic standards, only to celebrate “ignorance, defiance and criminality” in our children.

His statements are both repugnant and disrespectful. His audacity to portray the role of a concerned and conscientious teacher, while simultaneously demeaning and undermining both the students he is paid to teach and the parents whose taxes fund his career, is Machiavellian in nature.

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Ignorance by definition refers to the lack of knowledge, learning or information. It’s ironic that it is Mr. Smith who lacks the knowledge to master the pervading language of today’s youth. One of the first things we are taught about the English language is that it is a “living language,” meaning it changes, grows, transforms and adapts. So the same kids, that he so flagrantly calls ignorant, use their mastery of adapting the English language. In both written and spoken form, they have developed a highly evolved method of communication that allows them to openly exchange information with each other while leaving him witless.

Even in our “ignorance” we are aware that, statistically, 90 percent of the NASD population is African-American. As such, his efforts to conceal his true cultural bias are moot.

Additionally, to Superintendent Dr. Anthony Morris, whom we waited more than an hour to see with no response, and the NASD board members, I am forced to question the environment that facilitates an employee’s adoption of such cultural biases.

To allow an employee to spew such vile propaganda and remain in your employment is a great discredit to the entire NASD. His blatant disdain for those he serves is a blight on the many educators who spend countless hours trying to make a difference in the lives of students who fill their classrooms every day.

I am, certainly, not entrusting NASD with the sole responsibility of teaching my children. However, I do expect the values and principles that I instill in my children at home to be reinforced while attending NASD. If this is not the pervading mentality of NASD, then perhaps my tax dollars are not being expended toward their true purpose.

So I challenge my fellow NASD parents to stand with me in holding both Dr. Morris and the Natchez-Adams School Board fully accountable for correcting Mr. Smith’s community offense immediately. An apology is unacceptable and only predicates the belief that his actions were suitable.

In closing, since many of my close friends and family work in the school district, I know firsthand that they work hard to provide a suitable learning environment for our children. It seems that many of the issues in our district stem not from those being led, but from those leading.

Gordon Morrison

Natchez resident