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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Have Liberals taken to beating up kids?

According to an article in TownHall, Libs' new strategy: Assault 7 year old , Jun 18, 2006, by Kevin McCullough, one has to ask the question, are liberals beating up children of their political opponents?

This story started several months ago when Joseph Estabrook Elementary School, Lexington, Massachusetts, decided to have second graders read a "fairy-tale" about two princes involved in a homosexual lifestyle, "King and King."
A teacher at Joseph Estabrook Elementary School used the children's book, ''King & King," as part of a lesson about different types of weddings. A prince marries another prince instead of a princess in the book, which was on the American Library Association's list of the 10 most challenged books in 2004 , because of its homosexual theme. Source:
Several of the parents protested use of the book and felt that the book as inappropriate for 2nd graders. The parents told the school district that they wanted parental notification and a way to opt out of controversial subjects.

The superintendent told them in no uncertain terms to "buzz off." The superintendent issued a news release that,
"Estabrook has no legal obligation to notify parents about the book. We couldn't run a public school system if every parent who feels some topic is objectionable to them for moral or religious reasons decides their child should be removed. Lexington is committed to teaching children about the world they live in, and in Massachusetts same-sex marriage is legal."
One of the parents was arrested because he refused to leave the Estabrook school grounds until administrators allowed him to opt his son out of discussions about families with same-sex parents. According to TownHall, alternative lifestyle advocates jumped on the parent's position and mounted a nasty letter writing campaign to a local newspaper in an effort to get the parent to back down.

Turn the calendar forward to May 17, 2006. There was an assault at Estabrook Elementary School. Townhall claims that:
10 children grabbed the parent's 7 year old son, dragged him behind the corner of the school, well out of sight from the school officials, and proceeded to punch him in the groin, stomach, and chest, before he dropped to the ground when they then kicked and stomped on him. Several of the alleged were supposed to be children of the adults who had been protesting the parent's position (against alternative lifestyle instruction), several of them - not even in the same class as parent's child. The article went on to say that the school district "investigated." Shockingly the school decided no punishment necessary for the 10 children involved with the assault. Source: Townhall
Turn the calendar forward to June 16, 2006, and a news release from Paul B. Ash, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools

Some of you may be aware that the press has received a news release related to a playground incident at Estabrook. The Estabrook principal has investigated the issue over the past two days, talking to the adults and children involved. The following are the facts as she understands them.

On May 17, several first graders were involved in a disagreement over who would sit where in the cafeteria. As a result, upon going outside one child took another by the hand and brought him to a third student in an area of the playground that is somewhat difficult for the adults to see. (The student who was hit said that he went willingly.)

All children who saw agreed that the third student then hit the student who had been brought to him two to four times in the chest/abdomen (children’s accounts vary) and he fell to his knees. The student who was hit says he was hit when down; the other children say he wasn’t. One child reports that one student held the arm of the student who was hit; however, the child who was hit and the other children did not report this. The children involved named five children who were nearby watching but not directly involved. Several other students were close enough to see a cluster of students but not close enough to see what was happening. The student who did the hitting suggested that others also hit, but none of them did so. Based on the children’s accounts, this all may have happened in under a minute. The aide on duty saw a group of children gathering, and as she walked toward them was approached by a child that said someone was being bullied. When the aide inquired what was going on, the child who was hit identified one student who hit him, and the other children agreed. The child who was hit said he was not hurt and did not want to go to the nurse. He reported that his feelings were hurt, because the child who hit him was his friend.

The child who did the hitting was sent to the assistant principal’s office and while talking with her acknowledged his behavior. As a result, he filled out a “think sheet,” to reflect on his behavior and choices, missed recess on two days, and wrote an apology. In addition, the classroom teacher called both sets of parents and a class discussion was held about not hitting and speaking up when there is a problem on the playground. The teacher indicated that both parents took the matter seriously and seemed satisfied with the outcome. Following the incident the boys were observed arm in arm at school and subsequently the child who was hit went to the house of the child who hit him for a play date.

On May 31, the parents of the child hit casually inquired of the assistant principal as to the consequence given to the other child, and they were told that the child’s parents were informed and a consequence given. Other than this brief interaction, between the times of the phone call by the teacher to the parents on May 17 until June 14, there were no complaints of injury or dissatisfaction with the process to the teacher, nurse, or the administrators. On June 14, school administration received a call from a local paper stating that they had received a press release that a child had been assaulted at Estabrook.

In this case, we followed all of our usual procedures and worked with both sets of parents to resolve this issue. We are surprised that it has resurfaced in a press release issued by a group calling itself Mass Resistance without any prior contact with the school. The press release states that the incident was "fueled and incited by adults (and yes, school officials).” We have found nothing in our investigation that would support this allegation in any way. Nonetheless, in the interest of an open and thorough review of the incident, the matter has been referred by the superintendent to the Lexington police, District Attorney’s office, and the Department of Social Services for independent investigation.

The two versions of the story are somewhat different. Everyone agrees that an assault occurred. Where Townhall got its information is unknown. Now it is in the hands of the Lexington Police, District Attorney's office, and Department of Social Services for independent investigations. Was this an overreaction? Was it a rush to judge? Or, was it something else? One has to hope that the real story will eventually come out and clear the air in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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