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Fired for being conservative? LHS fires a teacher?

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   Fired for being conservative?

What I'm going to write here is based on sketchy information. My hope is that people with information closer to the situation will post here.

This past school year was the first year of teaching for a Lawrence High School teacher in Social Studies, something like history, American Institutions, Western Civ, etc. He came to Lawrence from Arkansas, after teaching there for more than a dozen years.

He and his supportive students learned that his contract will not be renewed. He will be dropped after one year. There is some indication that possibly he is losing his job because he is conservative, and has been open about it in class.

Students of his attended a School Board meeting in late May; they were expected to visit the board yesterday--monday night.

I first learned of this just this evening. I've not been able to get more information on the situation and I hope others with closer knowledge will add theirs here. According to some of his supportive students, they have talked to LJworld about covering this, without gaining any coverage.
Nobody should be fired for being conservative, nor for being liberal. Teachers certainly do have freedom of speech but must balance that with the need to present accurate and balanced presentations of material in class. No student's grade should depend on repeating the indoctrination of a teacher; rather that student should be encouraged to freely arrive at his or her opinions, and know why.

Comments

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

I sincerely hope the teacher in question might be able to post here, or one of his students.

I also know this blog may be quite a target for the hateful left fringie posters, too.

did LHS/usd497 let him go because he is conservative?

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

I should add that all of my information here is second hand. the source has been very reliable before.

fairplay 6 years ago

I appreciate that you have pointed out that a teacher should avoid indoctrinations in class. As you pointed out, the teacher was openly conservative. Could it be that he was let go for preaching instead of teaching? If a liberal teacher had been sacked, would you have the same reaction? Sounds like the school is weeding out the people who are wasting class time by preaching to the students.

RoeDapple 6 years ago

Since a non tenured teacher's contract can be denied for renewal for any reason or no reason at all it may never be known why this teacher was let go. Unfortunately in the present political climate if you have an 'R" on your voter registration card it might as well stand for 'roach' and the extreme leftists of the opposing party will grind their heel on you at every opportunity. And yes, I am aware of extremists in all political affiliations.

Alia Ahmed 6 years ago

BG,

I have a few questions that I'm also hoping someone else might be able to answer. Is not renewing someone's contract the same as firing them? Are teachers hired on a probationary period? How did he do in the classroom, how was his attendance, did he get along with his colleagues, did he volunteer to assist with extracurricular activities?

Ronda Miller 6 years ago

gnome, the real question you pose in this wonderful blog topic may not be able an individual and what happened in his particular situation as much as what our world (as Roe so aptly points out) is coming to.

I also hope that this forum will present itself to anyone with additional insight or information to step forward to shed some much needed light on the topic.

I commend you for having the courage to bring the topic to discussion, gnome.

On a personal note, I would never in my life have dreamed that I would be made to feel ashamed and hated and discriminated against for believing in life.....for believing we should take care of those born with lesser life quality than others may perceive is "acceptable" in order to be allowed to live.

Live and learn....I always loved teachers who expressed strong views, they were often the ones who also allowed me to express mine.

A heated discussion and/or respectful argument usually serves as a useful, helpful tool and allows us all look at differing points of view to make up our minds anew.

BigPrune 6 years ago

I take it the teacher in question didn't have an Obama poster hanging in his classroom during the election?

I remember the Jimmy Carter posters hanging in the classrooms when he was running against Ronald Reagan. As we all know, Jimmy Carter was the worst president of the 20th Century.

I can see a conservative teacher getting canned for being a conservative. Being conservative doesn't espouse the liberal diversity indocrination of the children.

jumpin_catfish 6 years ago

My kids reported to us that many of their South and LHS teachers were openly liberal in their views and on many occasion off handedly mocked conservative views. You expected different in Lawrence. I never lacked an answer for my kids to the lefties indoctrinations. I firmly believe children should be taught how to think not what to think. I have four children who are evenly split, two liberal and two conservative. I love all our kids even when they get their politics wrong.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

I'm having a hard time beieving a teacher was fired for his/her veiws. There are many teachers both past and present that have openly expressed enthusiastic ideas inside and outside the classroom working for USD497.

penguin 6 years ago

My guess is that this could have been motivate by less sinister motives. The most important of which is cost savings. I am guessing that some of his years of service would have been honored when he was hired. He might even have a M.A. Based on the information provided I cannot tell you how high his salary was above the base, but I am guessing it is more than just a few dollars. Also since he was in his first three years in the district, he probably was not given tenure when he was hired.

There is nothing more annoying then a history/social studies teacher with a political axe to grind (regardless of their political beliefs). This slants the class and inhibits learning to mimicry of the beliefs of the teacher. Funny enough, my best teacher in high school taught AP US History. If anyone were to ask me his political affiliations/beliefs...I dont think I could tell you.

However, this seems to be less common in many schools. I have noticed that history teachers let their political ideology guide their teaching. It is understandable...they are human. Overall, I would imagine that the contract non-renewal was motivated by monetary concerns more than anything, but anyone who is a teacher (especially for 12 years) should know bringing your own ideology into a class is playing with fire.

Also on a side note-this non-renewal would have had to take place prior to May 1. After that date, it would be like they renewed your contract. Also anyone not under the protection of tenure can be non-renewed without a specific reason. They can simply say we are non-renewing your contract. If you push they could possibly tell you, but then they are also probably going to pass that on to any future employers. However, if you are non-renewed and look for another job it is generally recognized as a move of workforce reduction.

Kathy Getto 6 years ago

gnome, I would imagine the teacher was non-renewed after the first year based on budget contraints more than political views, however, I would pose this question to you:

Would you want a teacher, let's say a practicing muslim teacher, expressing their religious views to the students? Are we talking about the teacher providing the students with the history of conservatism in an unbiased manner, while, at the same time, providing them with the history of liberlism?

Politial/religious opinion by a teacher does not belong in the classroom. There are rules that forbid it.

Alia Ahmed 6 years ago

My daughter teaches in the Blue Valley school district and was overwhelmingly in the minority as a Democrat in her elementary school. She mostly kept her mouth shut as fellow teachers and other staff members openly bashed Obama. You can look at the election results for Johnson County to validate this fact.

Since Douglas County is one of three counties in Kansas that Obama carried in the general election, that may not be the case in the Lawrence school system. However, I've been friends with many teachers in the k-12 school setting in Lawrence and they have also been overwhelming conservative or Republican (not that those terms are mutually inclusive). I actually know many Republicans who are fiscally conservative but socially progressive (pro-choice, support for gay rights). Certainly at the college level, this trend is reversed and conservatives are in the minority. I agree that spirited discussions at the high school and college level can be useful learning for a student and that both conservative and liberal teachers need to keep their political views in check and be respectful to all students.

purplesage 6 years ago

"since Douglas was one of the three counties Obama carried" . . . .

Why do you think Leavenworth is on the top of the list as the new home for Gitmo detainees. Limits political fall out and helps him keep a "promise" to close the Guantanamo facility.

That said, a public school is a difficult place to maintain conservative values. Why do you think we have these outbreaks of disagreement over what is taught with the public the schools are supposed to serve? Teachers are more liberal, as a whole, than the general population and as such, subscribe to the view so common among liberals that they know better.

A non-tenured teacher is in an incredibly vulnerable position. You gotta wonder if he could teach 12 years successfully whether ideology played a part.

It can't be money; afterall, check out the new artificial turf.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

I appreciate that you have pointed out that a teacher should avoid indoctrinations in class. As you pointed out, the teacher was openly conservative. Could it be that he was let go for preaching instead of teaching? If a liberal teacher had been sacked, would you have the same reaction? Sounds like the school is weeding out the people who are wasting class time by preaching to the students.

---fairplay, please reread what I wrote. however, do you really think a teacher would be fired in Lawrence for expressing liberal views?

but personally I think a teacher should be free to express political opinions in class.

Valkyrie says there are rules against it...it certainly happens anyway. and I think done right it isn't a bad thing if the teacher is respectful and avoids the crazy conspiracy stuff.

and yes I knew that being at the end of his first year those contract issues apply. I'm just communicating in this blog what I learned. I'm hoping for more information on what has happened.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Ronda, thank you very much! yes, speaking generally, I agree our world sometimes seems worse, more petty, than it used to be.

indeed, the government used to always be in favor of preserving life. now, not so much.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Valkyrie asks: Would you want a teacher, let's say a practicing muslim teacher, expressing their religious views to the students?

yes, absolutely. not in a manner that diminishes other faiths, or that seeks to win others to Islam. however, that teacher might be the first practicing Muslim the local students may have met. they ought to learn about it.

like I wrote, my information is sketchy but it doesn't sound like this teacher was "preaching" or trying to indoctrinate.

and I'll repeat from my blog: he apparently has some very supportive students. when I was in high school, my western civ teacher was open about his liberal views but in a respectful way. I liked him, but if the school board there had fired him, I can tell you I wouldn't have marched down to face down the school board on his behalf.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

I agree it is racist to shun a muslim teacher.

jonas_opines 6 years ago

"On a personal note, I would never in my life have dreamed that I would be made to feel ashamed and hated and discriminated against for believing in life…..for believing we should take care of those born with lesser life quality than others may perceive is “acceptable” in order to be allowed to live."

Ronda, have you ever imagined what it would feel like to be accused of either committing, condoning, or advocating murder because you have a different (and thought-out) notion of what constitutes "life?"

I hope it's obvious that I respect you as an individual by now, but you have to be aware that prejudice and hate is just as pervasive and vociferous on both sides of that particular issue, and your shock at receiving negative "feedback" (cough) may be a tool to give you insight into your own bias on this particular issue.

supertrampofkansas 6 years ago

It has generally been my experience that teachers keep their personal views (especially politics) to themselves and focus on their subject matter. I wonder if that has changed now?

Also, historically I think that public servants in general tend to be liberal not just teachers. Does anyone else agree with this or is there evidence to back this idea up? Is the type of person who chooses to do public service tend to be liberal? I think it is an interesting question.

As for the teacher in question, I would suspect that it has more to do with budget cuts and teaching ability and not personal views. I have personally known a few conservative teachers who were excellent motivators and highly regarded as teachers. If he really was a good teacher, he would never have been let go.

Jeff Kilgore 6 years ago

Mr. Nancyboy, I believe that we agree for the first time. I strongly agree that as a teacher, one's political affiliation, like religious affiliation or non-affiliation is a personal matter. Now in class when students have political questions, I'll assume the speaker of each political stance to the best of my ability. I actually walk from one side of the room for one view and then to the other side for the other opinion.

Kathy Getto 6 years ago

gnome my point, which seemd to get lost on those that like to sit and spin (not you, gnome) was that you wouldn't want a person of a particular faith giving their opinion of, or teaching about one religion to your student without giving equal time to other religions. Same goes for politics in the schools - a teacher can certainly teach about the political process, discuss all candidates without inserting personal beliefs.

Alia Ahmed 6 years ago

Here's a link to a teacher being fired for expressing extreme leftist views in the Denver public schools. Obviously, there is a lot of debate about this topic across the country and probably no simple answer. I disagree with gnome's assertion that "government used to always be in favor of preserving life, now, not so much". Governments have waged wars and executed criminals and political dissidents for thousands of years. Look at the loss of life by government-led wars in the past 100 years alone. Hitler used the German government to perpetrate the Holocaust.

http://volokh.com/posts/1141331570.shtml

http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/dailystar/168607.php

sinverguenza 6 years ago

I second what Jonas has said and send it back to Rhonda and Roe.

"Unfortunately in the present political climate if you have an 'R” on your voter registration card it might as well stand for 'roach' and the extreme leftists of the opposing party will grind their heel on you at every opportunity."

Do you really feel that way, Roe? Because I think it's hard to look at the majority of serial posters on this site, or talk with many Kansans (outside our liberal haven) and come to that conclusion. I certainly don't have any problem with the (R) in front of anyone's name. I personally take issue with the issues, not the party. I can certainly be considered "extreme" by some because of my views on civil rights, foreign policy and personal choice.

I would like you to think about how framing "extremists" on the left might do more to hurt your cause than help it. Let's focus on attacking positions, not people. And remember that just a few short years ago the shoe was certainly on the other foot. It's taken a terrorist attack, two wars and significant infringement of civil liberties/human rights to get us where we are today - a place you seem to think is a liberal paradise and a conservative hell.

I just have to disagree.


To the topic - I doubt a teacher was fired for conservative views, but I'd have to know more information. It would be much more likely that the teacher - if fired for his views - was fired for the way in which those views were presented.

For example, I have a young cousin in 7th grade. During election season, her social studies teacher told students that Obama was a Muslim and presented that non-fact as a great danger to American principles. He also told his students that the war in Iraq was over.

These are views (although factually incorrect) that many conservatives share (or at least did, at the time). But teachers should be presenting facts, and that particular teacher was expressing personal views presented as fact. That's wrong, and that's why I voiced my concern with her school board.

If the LHS teacher in question was doing something similar to what my younger cousin's teacher was doing, then I absolutely support his removal. I'm for debate, not indoctrination, and for facts, not supposition.

SandCoAlmanac 6 years ago

Somewhat in the order in which points were brought up in this blog, I offer the following: As I understand it, few schools have the time, nor the inclination, to monitor and then evaluate teacher's political views during their first year as a teacher in the district. I would almost bet the farm that this teacher's contract was not renewed because of budgetary restraints. Kansas doesn't have much money for education after all, and are cutting what little they have. B_G, I'm not sure what you meant by "There is some indication that possibly he is losing his job because he is conservative, and has been open about it in class." If I had heard this, I would also consider the source. Do you mean that he might have lost (the May 1 deadline is real, by the way) his job because: 1) he is conservative, 2) he was open about being conservative, or 3) both? None of these reasons seem realistic to me. "... indoctrinations ... preaching ... " are unethical to the educational profession, so if this teacher had 12 years experience, he likely wouldn't have done that. Besides, high school students are smarter than most people think they are. They know when a teacher is being one-sided. After all, their parents had that child for a much longer time than the teacher did, and have their parent's views for contrast and comparison. On the other hand, I know an individual who had to give up teaching because he insisted on teaching something other than his assigned subject. Students don't like that, either. Autie, at 8:14am has it exactly right. Purplesage, at 8:54am, I think has this wrong: "It can't be money; afterall, check out the new artificial turf." I think most school districts keep wage funds separate from facilities funds. Once the district budget is determined, I don't think they can switch money from one fund to another. Finally, regarding comments about Muslim teachers: I sure wish I had one when I was in high school. Well, actually, I wish my current boss had been one of my teachers in high school. He might be the hardest working person, other than my daughter, that I know. I don't know how much influence his religion has on his work ethic, but working for him is a genuine pleasure. He leads by example. 'nuff said.

Mary Darst 6 years ago

Maybe he wasn't teaching "The Test". At my school, if you are not engaging the students the way the new thought goes..you are out!! Maybe his conservative views are not the real problem...The people hiring and firing don't have to tell the real reason..Usually they are told nothing. Arumer..Yes, they get paid by our taxes..but not enough to pay for their student loans and buy groceries. Obviously they do this out of the kindness of their hearts. They put up with sooo much in order to do something they really care about...kids. And believe me ..most is only about the test..Not the kids.

gphawk89 6 years ago

This for some reason brings back memories of an English 102 teacher at KU. He spent the entire semester doing a reasonably good job teaching English. The last day of regular class, he spend the whole hour in an anti-American, anti-government tirade. Literally screaming some of the time. The hour ended with him informing the class that he was renouncing his US citizenship and walking out, slamming the door closed behind him. Everyone was so shocked that we all just quitely filed out of the room without saying a word.

beawolf 6 years ago

ArumerZwarteHoop (Anonymous) says… "Of coarse teachers are liberals, they make money from other peoples taxes, and belong to the most powerful union in the world.They do their part to keep the populous ignorant, docile, liberal zombies." "Teachers are always indoctrinating students with crazy leftist ideas of world peace. multiculturalism and other BS."

You need some help. Seriously. I certainly hope there are no children in your household who may have to endure this insanity.

SandCoAlmanac 6 years ago

Two more comments. First, from Arumer..., 8:40am: "... liberals, ... make money from other peoples taxes, and belong to the most powerful union in the world. They do their part to keep the populous ignorant, docile, liberal zombies." Really? Two examples confuse me on this point: 1) my son, who is in the Marines, might have created some iraqui docile zombies during a firefight, but I doubt if his targets were liberal, either before or after the battle. and 2) the Colorado police officer who gave me a ticket for running a red (actually orange, fading to pink) light did his best to educate me on traffic laws. Both of these gentlemen make money from other people's taxes. Supertrampofkansas ("Is the type of person who chooses to do public service tend to be liberal?), does this help? Second, from Arumer..., again, at 8:51: "... having 50+ cultures in the USA somehow makes us stronger is also a lie ..." Really? So we're not the strongest nation in the world? We're not a superpower? I'm not sure I follow this.

Fort_Aubrey 6 years ago

Some right-wing bloggers have taken this cause up.

If Bearded Gnome or others have personal knowledge let him tell us about it. But I doubt it.

If not, this all passes under the bridge (sewer) as right wing blogoturds and propoganda.

This_just_in 6 years ago

oh boy.

When you get blogs like "Liberty Kansas" "Kansas 912 Project ( http://www.Kansas912.com ), and Kansas Meadowlark carrying an agenda, like that involving this teacher, you get some big yellow flashing lights.

And if I am a teacher and am depending on these groups to agitate and create news articles and reader blogs like this one, I am already in deep trouble. (just read the blogs)

Mr. Gnome, you really ought to start depending on some credible sources of information.

KansasVoter 6 years ago

This just sounds like wingnut BS to me. If your only sources are the "Kansas 9/12 Project" and other crazy right-wing sites, nobody is going to believe you except for other wingnuts.

FreshAirFanatic 6 years ago

KansasVoter...

Maybe. However, IF there is some truth to what gnome posted and what seems to be confirmed by the 9-12 article written last month and student's attendance at the school board meeting last night, then my question is "why can't I find information anywhere but those sources?" Shouldn't any self-respecting journalist ask some questions, verify the story, etc? How many other times have students attended school board meetings? Maybe it is just a bunch of "wingnuts" complaining. If that's the case, should be easy to prove. If it isn't, then I have some concerns about how the LHS school board operates and would like an explanation.

beatrice 6 years ago

This whole thing is completely asinine! Fired for being conservative ... in Kansas. Sure. We believe it.

So let's break this down: I heard about a guy who might have been something but maybe not who could have been fired for something or maybe he wasn't, and I don't know him or anything substantive about the issue, but I heard about it from someone who told me something once before I believe to be true so that means this must be true too! I know -- I'll write a blog about how terribly conservatives are treated in the Kansas public school system!

Brilliant!

LJWorld, your bloggers far too often write hateful garbage and you provide them with legitimacy by allowing them to link to your publication. What an embarrassment to real journalism.

What next, a blog about little green men from Mars? Or what about the one concerning Richard Gere and his gerbil? I mean, I heard from this girl who's roommate's sister's best friend works in the emergency room at a hospital, and this one night Richard Gere was brought in with a pvc pipe sticking out of his ...

Well, you get the picture.

Ronda Miller 6 years ago

Well, gnome, congrats on getting a terrific discussion going...and for the most part everyone is being respectful in expressing their varied views.

roe and I need to change our names to get rid of the "R" ! :)

jonas, I have always felt that you have treated me with respect regardless of the topic, and I hope I extend the same courteous to the rest of you. I understand what you refer to in respect to people who are pro life "judging" other people who have the ideology of pro choice in their minds. It is difficult for those of us who are opposed to late term abortion to perceive it as ever being anything less than murder and/or less than wrong though. Killing is killing...regardless of terms...procedures...etc.

This_just_in 6 years ago

uh huh, Fresh Air.....

but seeing you like to post on issues of Jesus, faith, global warming being fake, and Roe v. Wade......you appear to me to be just one of those people who want to inject far too much religion into our public schools. You are also probably a member of that obscure 912 site.

On the 912 site there is a note from a forum member who is just shocked, shocked, mind you....that USD 497 won't let her monitor all the classrooms to do ideological screening herself. How better to advance this cause than declare this individuals non-renewal as being ideological.

Also on that forum a note complaining that a phone call to a LJW reporter did not instantly result in an article on this issue!

How dare the LJW use its news judgment to not be be manipulated by a small set of individuals claiming political bias.

Thank you LJW.

This_just_in 6 years ago

A burning issue for the 912 group. The "S" word:

"Thanks so much for sounding the alarm on this one. I agree the time is now for us to make a stand and demand our state Legislators call a special session to take action on a resolution that protects our sovereignty and State’s rights in accordance with the 10th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. We must insist that our representatives put Washington on notice immediately on our behalf, that Kansas does not recognize the federal government’s authority in their escalating effort to socialize our country. We cannot afford to wait until next January for the next regular state legislative session to begin."

penguin 6 years ago

This is the danger any teacher runs during their first three years. Also it highlights how easy it is to be dismissed during your first three years in a district. This story also shows why it would be crazy for any union to agree to give up tenure for more pay/ other benefits.

However, this sort of thing happens to those on both sides of the political spectrum. I know of liberal teachers I had in high school that were let go before being tenured. Also just like this situation, there was no expressed reason for the non-renewal...because it is not really required.

I know it stinks, but during those first three years it is better just to be as reserved as possible.

M. Lindeman 6 years ago

My son was one of his students and also one who attended the board meeting to speak on his behalf. My son tells me, this teacher would expect you to have your facts. It didn't matter to this teacher what side you were on, as long you could explain the reason. This teacher was told that he didn't fit in like the other teachers.

Kathy Getto 6 years ago

"However, I find this game being played by Project 9-12 and Kansas Meadowlark and bearded_gnome to be just that—a game. Talk about manufacturing an issue about which to become indignant."

THIS

"This whole blog and subsequent comments giving any credence to the unsubstantiated, baseless rumor about Mr. Latham's release are a farce."

AND THIS

jonas_opines 6 years ago

Well, only one thing really sticks out to me.

The only difference provided between this one individual and the many other teachers that are dismissed (per comments and blog) is that he is conservative. Students in support is nothing. For the most part, any given teacher who is not a total @#$% or totally incompetant will have certain students who like them and certain students who don't, with others who are indifferent. "Not fitting in" could refer more to relationships with other faculty and administration, and frankly, given this somewhat manufactured stink being raised, I find that significantly more likely.

jonas_opines 6 years ago

"It is difficult for those of us who are opposed to late term abortion to perceive it as ever being anything less than murder and/or less than wrong though. Killing is killing…regardless of terms…procedures…etc."

Believing that you have a lock on the Truth is, to my mind, the basis of most forms of prejudice. But truthfully, it was not my intent to isolate LT abortions, and the rhetoric is not exclusive to that type in one little bit. Also for the record, I generally don't support LT abortions for any reason other than medical necessity, but it has yet to be shown to me that the majority of LT abortions are for any other reason, or that the viability of the fetus is not considered before the procedure is done. The closest it came was with the Klein case, which failed in that purpose, and the only ones defending him or complaining about "conspiracies" are the most ideologically bent people that I see on here.

Kathy Getto 6 years ago

I was agreeing emphatically with you.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

Now that the teacher has been named I can comment in a more specific manner. I heard this teacher was leaving, but was not aware it was due to dismissal. I can tell you that this particular teacher worked well into the night for the sake of his students. I personally had conversations with him on the telephone in the evening & received emails at late hours for the sole reason of him keeping a parent informed. Yes he was also a tough teacher, but those are the ones we remember forever.

Kathy Getto 6 years ago

I should have been more specific, however, when I gave a specific example earlier it invoked the forum bully and his/her minion to chime in. Makes one a bit gun shy so to speak.

And... you are most welcome, logic!

brujablanco 6 years ago

artichokeheart (Anonymous) says…

Now that the teacher has been named I can comment in a more specific manner. I heard this teacher was leaving, but was not aware it was due to dismissal. I can tell you that this particular teacher worked well into the night for the sake of his students. I personally had conversations with him on the telephone in the evening & received emails at late hours for the sole reason of him keeping a parent informed. Yes he was also a tough teacher, but those are the ones we remember forever.


And.. so? Has nothin' to do with this. I heard different stories about this guy. Gosh, who to believe, who to believe?

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Blueharley, thanks.

Purplesage, I agree.


Ravens: “the teacher was openly conservative”

what does this phrase mean?

I don't have much more info than that, I assume it meant that he was communicating his conservative values openly.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Artichokeheart: I agree it is racist to shun a muslim teacher.

well, not racist, as there are muslims of all races.

it would indeed be prejudiced, and intolerant of religion.

situveux1 6 years ago

There is a more indepth story at www.kansasmeadowlark.com. There is also a story at www.kansasliberty.com, but it is subscription only.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Valkyrie and kilgore, I agree teachers in subjects that connect to politics like civ, history and institutions should certainly give both sides. however, I've been in many classes from junior high through graduate school where teacher/prof did communicate personal beliefs/opinions--we are human and it is natural.

90% of these were done respectfully, did not refer to the president or his parenthood.

live in class and between class subjects naturally come up, and teachers live a complete life beyond their classroom work.

no indoctrination is wrong precisely because teachers have much power and influence over kids and shouldn't take advantage of that. but at the same time, I think its fine for a teacher to say "I voted for Obama," "I believe life begins at conception" etc. it is good for students to be exposed to the real world beliefs, and its gonna happen anyway.


Also, historically I think that public servants in general tend to be liberal not just teachers. Does anyone else agree with this or is there evidence to back this idea up? Is the type of person who chooses to do public service tend to be liberal? I think it is an interesting question.

---supertramp, I think this is correct. but also the educational programs, like those for journalism, are quite strongly stilted toward liberal perspectives.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

One of Mr. Latham's actions that stuck out for me was during the presidential election. Mr. Latham encourage older students who had turned 18 to register to vote. He gave credit for both proof of registration and voting. Before election day he also created packets for students to study. This included a list of all canidates along with their veiws on issues. Both Republican and Democratic were represented equally and factually. Mr. latham encourage students to discuss the canidates with their parents and give feedback in class. If Mr. Latham was openly consevative he hid it pretty well because the only thing I saw was accuratre information.on all sides.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

logicsound09 (Anonymous) says…

What a piece of garbage.

You actually put time and effort into this crap?

---LS09, ... and yet, you posted here too! and thank you for worrying so much about my time and effort.

it is actually the liberals who seem to be opposed to free speech. as exemplified in your post LS09.

did you note the use of "apparently" and question marks in my blog? apparently noticing them would've gotten in the way of a great emptyheaded rant.

I posted this blog to bring this to the community's attention, get more information, see whether it was for real.

so, by your comments, you would feel the same way if I'd posted such a blog about a liberal teacher being fired for being liberal situation being conjectured about and discussed? you wouldn't care to know the facts?

your lack of concerned for your fellow citizens' rights to free speech and freedom of assembly is obviously demonstrated.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Alia, you're making the tired liberal conflation error of killing innocent life as in the womb with killing a prisoner duly convicted of a capital offense.

furthermore, if you actually read the Bible, you'd find just wars in the old testament all over the place.

by your logic no one should take up arms to go to war at all. problem with that is the evil wins by default.

thanks for posting that link about the extreme liberal teacher in Denver. yes, this is an increasingly discussed issue around the country.

a couple years ago a prof at KU, in I think physics said he was denied tenure because he is a conservative

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

GPhawk89: This for some reason brings back memories of an English 102 teacher at KU. He spent the entire semester doing a reasonably good job teaching English. The last day of regular class, he spend the whole hour in an anti-American, anti-government tirade. Literally screaming some of the time. The hour ended with him informing the class that he was renouncing his US citizenship and walking out, slamming the door closed behind him. Everyone was so shocked that we all just quitely filed out of the room without saying a word.

wow, what year was that if you don't mind saying? yeah, that's a memory that'd stick with you!


multi, you mean that the teacher was teaching evolution, or creation?
hope you can find something on that situation/history.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

This_just_in (Anonymous) says…

oh boy.

When you get blogs like “Liberty Kansas” “Kansas 912 Project ( http://www.Kansas912.com ), and Kansas Meadowlark carrying an agenda, like that involving this teacher, you get some big yellow flashing lights.

And if I am a teacher and am depending on these groups to agitate and create news articles and reader blogs like this one, I am already in deep trouble. (just read the blogs)

Mr. Gnome, you really ought to start depending on some credible sources of information.


did I indicate my source? no I didn't. and your comments fall into the category of a typical liberal smear totally devoid of any facts at all! by attacking this merely by association, you imply that your knowlege of this situation is nill, and your motivation is only partisan smear tactics.

my source was none of those you listed, but thanks, I'll have to check them out. I don't often check meadowlark.

as I remarked early on this thread, I knew this would attract comments like yours. you imply that all liberals are morally pure, free of sin, and would never ever engage in such low petty behavior.

you are in error.

and again I repeat, this teacher seems to have some very supportive students. they didn't get that way because of those evil dreaded conservative blogs you site. if you're gonna run with the big boys, try harder next time.

RogueThrill 6 years ago

If they were a quality teacher you wouldn't know their political affiliation.

Alia Ahmed 6 years ago

BG, I disputed your comment that government used to "protect life" and it no longer does. The victims of holocaust only crime was being Jewish, many innocent civilians of numerous wars only crimes were being born in the wrong time and place. I've never said no one should ever take up arms and just recently wrote a tribute to my father about his service to our country in WWII. In your mind, there is no doubt that abortion at any gestational age or under any circumstance is murder. There are many people who respectfully disagree with you about that. I think your comment about me "actually" reading the bible was unnecessary. I don't think you should make presumptions about my faith or anyone else's.

As far as your question about whether teachers or other public servants are more likely liberal, it is an interesting question. I tried to find some research about political party affiliation among teachers and couldn't find anything specifically about that. There was a lot of literature that suggested many teachers view teaching itself as a political act, perhaps a calling. I personally know many public school teachers and more of them tend to be conservative and Republicans. At the college level, faculty I know tend to be more liberal and Democrats, but that is my personal observation, not a scientific study.

I have friends who home schooled their children for religious reasons and wanted to teach their children in a way that was congruent with their religious beliefs. I also have friends who are very liberal and home schooled their children because they felt like public schools stifled children's creativity and indoctrinated children. My children attended public school and it felt like the right decision for us. The interesting thing is all of us are proud of the fact that are children have turned out to be responsible, well accomplished adults. The fact that we all wanted what was best of our kids and set good examples for them was a stronger influence than whatever school setting they attended. Sorry, this may be a bit off topic but we all have to remember we are the primary influence over our children and they'll turn out just fine whether they have teachers whose political or religious views vary from our own.

RoeDapple 6 years ago

RoeDapple (Anonymous) says… " Unfortunately in the present political climate if you have an 'R” on your voter registration card it might as well stand for 'roach' and the extreme leftists of the opposing party will grind their heel on you at every opportunity. And yes, I am aware of extremists in all political affiliations."

justbegintowrite (Ronda Miller) says… "gnome, the real question you pose in this wonderful blog topic may not be able an individual and what happened in his particular situation as much as what our world (as Roe so aptly points out) is coming to."

sinverguenza (Anonymous) says… "Do you really feel that way, Roe? Because I think it's hard to look at the majority of serial posters on this site, or talk with many Kansans (outside our liberal haven) and come to that conclusion. I certainly don't have any problem with the (R) in front of anyone's name. I personally take issue with the issues, not the party. I can certainly be considered “extreme” by some because of my views on civil rights, foreign policy and personal choice.

sin, You have asked in a very civil way, thank you, and so I shall reply. I try to stay out of political arguments as they seldom lead anywhere. For 8 years I have listened to bashers of Bush and Company, knowing mistakes were being made. Costly mistakes in money and lives. My more liberal friends, neighbors, family members and associates would shout to the world how wrong the Republican administration was and went to great effort, many of them, to make sure I knew it. I did know it. I will go so far as to say the astronaut and the moose were not what I would have replaced Bushco with. A few days ago a friend asked if I still did not like the new administration. I said 'No'. Unwilling to leave it at that he asked why. As soon as I started to respond he turned his back to me, mumbling about something unrelated. After listening to his rants for 8 years, he had cut me off in the first sentence.

(continued)

RoeDapple 6 years ago

(continued)

On top of what the last administration left us, the present one has put us in additional debt to the tune of $3600/year/30 years. In his first 6 months. I'll be 91 with any luck when this is paid off. My children will be nearing retirement paying this off. Grandchildren who may or may not come along will be saddled with this debt. I'm not going into the 'end of the world, sky is falling, black helicopters, paranoia thing, but where is the end to it? If you take away business profit by taxing the wealthy who control most big business, they will pass the cost on to the customer, increasing our cost of living, or shut down the business and live off the proceeds, leaving jobless the multitudes who depended on those jobs. So there you have it. Not sure if I answered your question satisfactorily, but I'm sure by this time tomorrow I will have been taken to task, ripped limb form limb, drawn and quartered, gutted and hung out to dry by my fellow posters, R or no R next to my name.

That ought to feed them for a few hours.............

SuperSnot 6 years ago

What does any of that have to do with a teacher being dismissed from their job? I don't care if a teacher is conservative or liberal, as long as they keep their political and religious beliefs out of the classroom. It sounds as though this teacher was one of the few good teachers in this school district and perhaps made other teachers look like the mediocre drudges they are. That's probably the real story.

tolawdjk 6 years ago

"Also, historically I think that public servants in general tend to be liberal not just teachers. Does anyone else agree with this or is there evidence to back this idea up? Is the type of person who chooses to do public service tend to be liberal? I think it is an interesting question."

Why?

Because a predominance of conservatives strongly advocate small government. In order to take a public servant position, they must recognize that some portion of a government is useful.

Public servants are paid by taxpayers. A conservative must acknowledge and accept the fact that some other conservative is going to view thier paycheck as a complete waste that should be eliminated.

Public Service is pretty much seperated from all tenants of a free market. In times of abundance, a public servant is usually makes less in total compensation than a similar position in the private sector.

Most jobs in the public sector are social service related. Many conservatives feel that most social services are best served by volunteerism and religious organizations and not taxpayer funded.

jonas_opines 6 years ago

"a couple years ago a prof at KU, in I think physics said he was denied tenure because he is a conservative"

I'm sure there are no conservatives in the physics department, or any other department at KU.

wait. . . hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

There are plenty of conservative teachers at KU. There are plenty of people willing to give a crap excuse when things don't go their own way also.

camper 6 years ago

No matter if you are liberal or conservative. Whatever you believe or teach, or how history is interpreted, there is going to be some truth and misrepresentation to a degree. As Mark Twain said, "Get your facts first, then distort them as you please". The best thing to do is keep an open mind, and beware of falling into one ideaology. It is a trap.

This_just_in 6 years ago

Bearded Gnome says "your comments fall into the category of a typical liberal smear totally devoid of any facts at all"

How can I be smearing if I am providing sources which claim the very same thing as the author? These may not be his direct sources, but they certainly sound authored in an echo chamber.

Oh, and I'm a "typical liberal" just because I don't want Kansas 912 project monitoring my childrens classrooms? I don't think so.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Jonas, I was simply reporting what his claim was.


and dear little Bea wrote: So let's break this down: I heard about a guy who might have been something but maybe not who could have been fired for something or maybe he wasn't, and I don't know him or anything substantive about the issue, but I heard about it from someone who told me something once before I believe to be true so that means this must be true too! I know — I'll write a blog about how terribly conservatives are treated in the Kansas public school system!

Bea, this is epic reading comprehension problems! please, take the needle outa your arm, give it a coupla hours, and come back and read what I wrote above! geez, Bea, whenever I argue against you I at least have the courtesy to accurately reflect what you wrote.

this wacko response of yours implies I've hit a real weak nerve?

and read that pdf, apparently the local NEA, and the supportive students, believe he has an issue.

is your problem actually with freedom of speech-that you disagree with? you liberals constantly trying to shut down speech that disagrees with you, proves the falsehoods of liberal notions.

btw Bea, heard Obama's "Mission accomplished today" it was "we've created 150,000 jobs."

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

LS09: I will admit that it is possible but not probable that the teacher in question was dismissed “for being conservative”. However, I find this game being played by Project 9-12 and Kansas Meadowlark and bearded_gnome to be just that—a game. Talk about manufacturing an issue about which to become indignant.

This whole blog and subsequent comments giving any credence to the unsubstantiated, baseless rumor about Mr. Latham's release are a farce.

--and yet, you continue to post on this "farce. I do note that you admit that the teacher may have been fired for being conservative. all the rest of your comment is simply dross after that.

LS09, you presume to read my mind? are you now an all-knowing liberal? wow, I should bow in your presence!

as I've written, those eeeeeeevil websites did not include my source. second, the NEA apparently thought something serious was happening here.

the NEA is well known as a rather far-left organization. however in this local case they're defending the rights of Mr. Latham, or at least were.

is the local NEA also manipulated by meadowlark/ks912/the evil bearded-gnome? LOL.

LS09, you're now starting to sound like Marion Sidney Lynn the drunken bear.

camper 6 years ago

I truly believe that if you are ever going to find the truth, you must disregard the left and right way of thinking. Once this is dismissed, try to navigate the facts as best as possible.

bliddel 6 years ago

Bearded_gnome made no allegations in his original post, and mostly asked for information. Unfortunately very little additional information was forthcoming. As could be readily expected, many posts appear to indicate that people already have their minds made up one way or another, and that they don't need any of the additional information for which bearded_gnome asked .

I can't help but notice how similar this behavior is to the kind of wild speculation that occurs whenever an airplane crashes. People seem to genuinely believe that it was shot down, or there was a terrorist attack, or there was a manufacturing design flaw, or the pilots were all on psychotropic drugs, etc, etc., even though an honestly educated opinion takes months of very tedious investigative work to develop.

The sad truth is that our city, and yes even our school district, are still rife with intolerance. That doesn't mean that I have any secret facts in this case, nor will I speculate about what happened here. My observing that our civilization still has a long way to go doesn't make me an extreme conservative or liberal. For better or worse, ours is not only a right to work state, but also a right to be fired state - for any reason or for no reason. There will probably not be any official investigation of this case, and probably none of us can change that.

Regardless of why, the teacher is still suddenly out of work, like a great many other Americans these days. Isn't that sad enough?

shopgirl 6 years ago

My son says of this guy, "All we did in class was watch movies" and "He says he got a better job in Johnson County." Nothing about his political beliefs ever came up. My son tries to pretty much maintain an "F" average, and he pulled out a D- in this class, so I am infinitely grateful, myself, that he was here when we needed him.

jonas_opines 6 years ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says…

Jonas, "I was simply reporting what his claim was."

that's fine. I was simply reporting what my opinion of his claim was: complete and utter bull@#$% brought about by injured spite and a desire to get even. In my experience at KU, both as a teacher and a student, I have found the claim of any sort of aggregate bias in one direction or another to be a total fabrication.

maxcrabb 6 years ago

So was I the only one to see the article mentioning another $350,000 being cut from the school budget...?

chloemercer 6 years ago

The big rumor around LHS about Mr. Latham was that he was very opinionated and didn't let anyone else have their own opinion. I was in Mr. Latham's government class, and there was never one minute where I felt that he was pushing his opinions on the class or that I was not allowed to have an opinion. Mr. Latham made sure to look at both sides of every argument. When his students debated about hot button issues in class he let each student decide which side of the issue they wanted to be on.

When the presidential election was going on, Mr. Latham took time to go through all of the candidates and looked at their views on the issues to help the students decide who they wanted to vote for based on how the candidate's views matched their personal views. Also during the election, Mr. Latham assigned his students a project where they were able to divide into groups and make an election campaign video supporting whichever candidate the group chose.

Mr. Latham frequently uses the quote by Lady Bird Johnson, "Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.". Mr. Latham is the only teacher that treated my class like the 18-year-old high school seniors we are. I knew whenever I entered his class that if I had a question, or a comment about something, he would listen and would try to help in any way he could.

Mr. Latham is a great teacher, and I think he is a great teacher because he has a passion for what he teaches. He would often get excited during in class discussions on various topics.

When Mr. Latham was informed that his contract would not be renewed, the reason that they gave him was "because of budget cuts", but yet there is a posting for his job on the USD 497 website. I think that the real reason why Mr. Latham was not renewed is because he does not fit into the "mold" of the typical Lawrence High School teacher. On several accounts Mr. Latham was told that he just didn't fit in.

kansas912er 6 years ago

I just found out about this discussion and have been reading some of your comments. It is great to see so much interest and participation. I wrote the original piece and posted it on line after questioning many people about this issue. The two articles I did together with an article by Kansas Liberty and coverage from kansasmeadowlark.com including student interviews and a video clip, plus my last night's interview on the Darla Jaye radio show, are all chronicled at www.kansas912.com .

Some of the basics are this; the school district has acknowledged Tim Latham was an outstanding teacher. They have also acknowledged budgetary concerns were not involved in the decision to not renew the contract. In fact, the open position is currently being advertized on the district’s website. Yesterday, the teacher filed an official grievance with district and later met with the superintendent. The superintendent then withdrew the teacher’s name from the list of other teachers the school board approved for nonrenewal at last night’s board meeting. The withdrawal is only temporary to allow the board to investigate the situation themselves instead of just acting on the Lawrence high school’s staff recommendation.

Please check out all the information available as mentioned and I encourage you to all get involved in this matter. The evidence appears overwhelming that this is about intolerance and eliminating diversity from LHS! Regardless of political ideology, we should all demand that our schools be about what’s best for the kids, not whether the staff all has the same world view.

If tolerance and celebrating diversity is something you advocate, help keep hypocrisy from being the lesson students learn in Lawrence schools!

kansas912er 6 years ago

I put the references regarding the evidence in my articles. That is why I noted them in my blog but perhaps you haven't had the chance to look at them for yourself.

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

Sorry Gnome. After reading this thread of stuff, I still don't know anything.

What ever is going on here, we just will not be able to learn or examine both sides in this kind of a forum. It simply will not happen.

Since it is a personnel matter, USD 497 is virtually legally obliged to not share any details, and what rumors/details here, we are learning from third parties, mostly anonymously, from the side of the conflict which has a natural bias. It's pretty simple.

This teacher will want to protect his right to privacy. As such, I doubt he (or his legal counsel) would allow him to sign a hold-harmless agreement allowing the school district employees and board to discuss this issue in public. If this dispute goes to trial, some things may be placed into public record, but not before then.

But I wouldn't want to ruin a good conspiracy or anything.

4getabouit 6 years ago

Conservative.......Liberial.......Who knows. Maybe he is just a substandard teacher. Occam's Razor ...The principle states that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible, eliminating those that make no difference in the observable predictions of the explanatory hypothesis or theory. In short, he's most likely a poor teacher who needs to go.

Stephen Roberts 6 years ago

His contract was not renewed because the district had to do some more cuts. Did the district choose to let the crappy teachers who are tenured go? No, they let the newer teachers go. I blame the LEA. All they do is protect the crappy teachers and promote mediocricy. Maybe one day the teachers will wake up realize that the LEA is not looking out for the good and great teachers but the average and crappy ones.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

well, I'm getting back to this, haven't been able to attend to this all day. I see this blog has been in the top-ten for something like 44 hours of the past 47 that its been up.

apparently this was a useful topic despite the whining. and again, I was not playing a game; if I'd gotten my info from the 9-12ers or meadowlark, my blog up top would've had waaay more info!

I also am noting this blog has gone well over one hundred posts. another indicator that this is of interest.

my first and most important reason for posting this was to try to get more info about this, and put it out publicly. that's happened. those who say oh it was just school finance, or he must not have been a good teacher. you so casually dismiss him? I posted the blog because teachers are valuable, all teachers who teach.

from the info posted here it seems the local NEA has taken Latham's side and believes he has a grievance.

I have a lot of posts on here to catch up on!


artichokeheart (Anonymous) says…

One of Mr. Latham's actions that stuck out for me was during the presidential election. Mr. Latham encourage older students who had turned 18 to register to vote. He gave credit for both proof of registration and voting. Before election day he also created packets for students to study. This included a list of all canidates along with their veiws on issues. Both Republican and Democratic were represented equally and factually. Mr. latham encourage students to discuss the canidates with their parents and give feedback in class. If Mr. Latham was openly consevative he hid it pretty well because the only thing I saw was accuratre information.on all sides.

---thank you Art.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Alia, I was responding to your reference about going to war and indicating that that is not contradictory wwith a prolife belief system. also, that a criminal who takes life wantonly should pay with his or her life, this is viewed by some of us as prolife: you take a life that way, you pay the highest penalty, with your life.

I agree with you 100%, parents must remember they can be the most important force to shape their children, beyond any teacher.

parents rightfully desire to protect their children from teachers who would use their power position wrongfully.

Mike Blur 6 years ago

It's interesting how Chloe Mercer would stand up for Latham in a public forum such as this, and yet flash a gang sign in her facebook profile picture.

First impressions are everything, Chloe.

elimenopee 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Boston_Corbett 6 years ago

Despite the noble intention of those wishing to stimulate public debate of a supposedly important issue through this forum, I suspicion in the end, the teacher will be the one to lose the most from its existence.

This occurrence, his name, and this discussion are now all easily publicly accessible by Marion-King-of-the-Googlers and other more normal people.

case_the_wonder_dog 6 years ago

Yes, mike_blur, good idea. Let's look at the first impression: with 'chloemercer' we have a well-spoken 18-year-old taking a public stand on an issue she obviously believes in and is confident and convicted enough to use her real name. From her FB profile we find an [apparent] prom picture of her and a friend making a goofy face and flashing what you call a "gang sign", which to me looks like a peace sign... Searching the ljworld, you find she's a scholarship recipient, has been on countless honor roll lists, and served on the ljworld teen advisory board [details you conveniently left out of your background check report. The omission says more about you than her.] Personally, I'd like to see a whole crop of 'chloemercers' engaged in their communities. She's doing something positive rather than running people down.

maxcrabb 6 years ago

Ah, facebook. Giving people who don't know any better more reasons to not like people they wouldn't have a reason to not like otherwise.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Okay, catching up again.

*Alia, sorry about that: "open up your bible" I was not meaning to imly that you are a christian, lots of nonchristians own Bibles.

*was thinking today: when I was in high school, there was a Mr. Latham then too. seems like a common name for teachers?

*and, the now former Miss California says that she was fired for politics.
she says that the cal people and the national people wanted to get her out. in her contract she's supposed to go to events as they arranged. however, they arranged for her to go to an event promoting homosexual marriage. this was obviously setting her up given her statement and beliefs. she of course refused to go. I wonder how safe she would have been if she'd gone, too.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Alia, thank you for the links! had a chance to look! I remember that with Stan Roth, and indeed the treatment of him was lousy. though I don't personally put my faith in the theory of evolution, I think Stan Roth certainly deserved much better.

multi, was this the situation you remembered?

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Part of the smear from those uncivil on the left is that this is a “hateful” blog. Just what exactly is hateful in what I blogged above or posted? @@@ Bliddel: I can't help but notice how similar this behavior is to the kind of wild speculation that occurs whenever an airplane crashes. People seem to genuinely believe that it was shot down, or there was a terrorist attack, or there was a manufacturing design flaw, or the pilots were all on psychotropic drugs, etc, etc., even though an honestly educated opinion takes months of very tedious investigative work to develop.

The sad truth is that our city, and yes even our school district, are still rife with intolerance. That doesn't mean that I have any secret facts in this case, nor will I speculate about what happened here. My observing that our civilization still has a long way to go doesn't make me an extreme conservative or liberal. For better or worse, ours is not only a right to work state, but also a right to be fired state - for any reason or for no reason. There will probably not be any official investigation of this case, and probably none of us can change that. ---very well said Bliddel. Also made me laugh out loud.

I agree quite seriously though: it is sad, a good teacher is not teaching now, is out of work.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

chloemercer (Anonymous) says…

The big rumor around LHS about Mr. Latham was that he was very opinionated and didn't let anyone else have their own opinion. I was in Mr. Latham's government class, and there was never one minute where I felt that he was pushing his opinions on the class or that I was not allowed to have an opinion. Mr. Latham made sure to look at both sides of every argument. When his students debated about hot button issues in class he let each student decide which side of the issue they wanted to be on.

When the presidential election was going on, Mr. Latham took time to go through all of the candidates and looked at their views on the issues to help the students decide who they wanted to vote for based on how the candidate's views matched their personal views. Also during the election, Mr. Latham assigned his students a project where they were able to divide into groups and make an election campaign video supporting whichever candidate the group chose.

Mr. Latham frequently uses the quote by Lady Bird Johnson, “Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.”. Mr. Latham is the only teacher that treated my class like the 18-year-old high school seniors we are. I knew whenever I entered his class that if I had a question, or a comment about something, he would listen and would try to help in any way he could.

Mr. Latham is a great teacher, and I think he is a great teacher because he has a passion for what he teaches. He would often get excited during in class discussions on various topics.

When Mr. Latham was informed that his contract would not be renewed, the reason that they gave him was “because of budget cuts”, but yet there is a posting for his job on the USD 497 website. I think that the real reason why Mr. Latham was not renewed is because he does not fit into the “mold” of the typical Lawrence High School teacher. On several accounts Mr. Latham was told that he just didn't fit in.

@@@ poor ls09, here we have information and personal experience. seems my blog might've worked. plus, again you presume to read my mind.

Thank you Chloe, this is precisely why I posted this blog. I’m so glad you had a good experience with Mr. Latham and he treated you like an 18-year-old.

It is interesting that LHS has posted a position being available.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Kansas912er, Thank you for your 3;24p.m. post from Wednesday.

And thanks for the links.

It is good to read that Mr. Latham is not necessarily going to lose his job now.

Please feel free to post any update, or rather you can click on my screen name and send me a private message; I’ll be happy to put up another blog if there is further news.

You are correct, the most serious issues here don’t include Mr. Latham’s particular political orientation. The most important issues include: what environment is there for the students; can a teacher keep his job despite being different?

Bob Forer 6 years ago

Great post, Logic, and very well articulated. I don’t expect Gnome will follow your advice. While he claims to be an aspiring writing, he revealed himself months ago as a garden variety right wing, simple minded Christian conservative. Unfortunately, for Gnome, there is a limited market for right wing, simple-minded Christian Conservatives writers

Gnome, you wanna be like Rush and Anne? Develop copious amounts of intellectual dishonesty. But before you attempt that, you’ll need to understand the concept of intellectual dishonesty. And no, I won’t explain it for you. Look it up in your Funk and Wagnells.

Second, Gnome, you need to develop a marketable persona. Anne exploited her tits and invested a few dollars in a gallon of bleach. Rush woke up one day and discovered the entertainment value of the proverbial loudmouth drunken bully persona typically found amongst the inhabitants of Arkansas trailer parks.

You describe yourself in your profile as a “gnome.” WTF is a gnome. Perhaps I am missing something, but I think you might be well-advised to 69 the “gnome” persona and go back to the drawing board. Understood?

case_the_wonder_dog 6 years ago

Well, Fox News has picked up the story. Wonder if the LJWorld will continue to keep its head in the sand? http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,526060,00.html

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Case-the-wonder-dog [great name] said: making a goofy face and flashing what you call a “gang sign”, which to me looks like a peace sign… Searching the ljworld, you find she's a scholarship recipient, has been on countless honor roll lists, and served on the ljworld teen advisory board [details you conveniently left out of your background check report. The omission says more about you than her.] Personally, I'd like to see a whole crop of 'chloemercers' engaged in their communities. She's doing something positive rather than running people down.

"running people down accounts for nine-tenths of Mikie-blury's posts. he obviously has serious problems and vents his liver on these forums regularly. sad that he chose an outspoken teen girl.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

LS09 earlier said "I will admit" that such a firing might have happened for this reason. worth repeating.

also, please note that when given links ls09 automatically dismisses them, there is none blind as those who will not see.

of course LS09 will also dismiss Fox News, too. I wonder if he only trusts what he or she reads in the dailykos/newyorktimes? are those the only allowed sources?

worst of all, LS09 and the-psychofont show how little the far left crazies actually care about this teacher or his students, or the teaching environment at LHS. they're the ones always preaching tolerance and compassion.

yet, here the rubber meets the road, and they have neither tolerance or compassion. they apparently applaud the school district for considering discharging this teacher.

they clearly do want the school administration to be thought police. for that is what they would be if this is true.


I wonder if my little blog had a hand in getting this story on to Fox News.

btw, you loons ls09/psychofont/this-just-in et al, fox news is the highest rated cable news channel, typically beating all others combined. so, I'm sure you'll be on foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of fox news, but it garners far far more viewers than CNN/MSNBC[obamahq]/CNN-headline/CNBC, combined.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

psychofont, you really crack me up! "revealed himself?" WTH.

you go and look when I started posting five years ago and you'll see I was conservative then too.

back then, there weren't many of us on here. and the far-left fringies like you were posting total BS about people like me.

it made me mad, so I decided to speak up here consistently. since then, many others have come up as conservatives on ljworld, so that frequently we outnumber you loons on some somment threads.

you are a very sad individual. you engage in such negative social comparison to build up your own sagging ego, and you demonstrate that you don't care one little bit about this teacher; you're glad if he did get fired for being conservative.

you, psychofont, are the subject of this blog! if Mr. Latham was considered for firing because he was open about his politics, then LHS/USD497 has somebody with an attitude problem similar to yours. one of hate. one that wishes to strike out at conservatives no matter what. an attitude that says "to hell with the best environment for the students." and "to hell with what's the right way to treat this teacher."

if this is true, there is at least one psychofont working there, wanting so bad to grind a heel in the face of a conservative, and d--n the consequences.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

from the Fox News link Casey-the-wonder-dog provided above: Latham claims school officials violated his contract by not conducting proper reviews — four 20-minute in-class evaluations throughout the year — and says they were looking for a way to get rid of him due to his personal politics.

During Latham's brief meeting with Gentry, he claims Gentry told him his school-affiliated Web site was "too patriotic." The site has links to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Air Force, the U.S. Army and other military-and history-related sites.

"I mean, I teach American history and government," Latham explained. "We had been in school not even a month."

He claims the critiques took a personal turn in October, when class lessons began focusing on the presidential race between Obama and John McCain. One student, whom Latham declined to identify, complained to Gentry that he had been too critical of Obama.

"I had been called into [Gentry's office] and was told I was picking on Obama in class," Latham said. "But I didn't cover anything else that wasn't already covered by anybody else in the news."

Latham says he supported McCain because of the Arizona senator's military service and lengthy political experience. He admitted to offering students critical viewpoints of Obama due to his lack of experience compared to McCain.

"When you try to show two sides of an individual, sometimes people don't like that," he said. "They want to hear all of the sunshine, but none of the rain. I aligned more with [McCain's] values than I did with Obama, but I treated Obama with fairness."

Latham also said that Gentry asked him about a "McCain-Palin" bumper sticker on his car.

"She said, 'I don't know how you could support that woman,'" Latham said. "That was the beginning of what was going on. They were trying to find a reason to get rid of me."

@@@ apparently LS09 believes that if Tim Latham is a member of kansas912ers, he doesn't deserve the rights of an american citizen. the statement I have excerpted here is primarily Latham's own statement.

just watch, the usual antiFox ranters. loonie left try to deny Latham's own words. just watch.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

and finally for tonight, I just want to contrast my response to Chleo to that of little Mikie-blur. when I wrote my response to her, I had not yet read down to Blur's post.

you will note I treated her and her observations with respect and thanked her for speaking up. Blur, on the other hand, slanders her.

Katara 6 years ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says…

and finally for tonight, I just want to contrast my response to Chleo to that of little Mikie-blur. when I wrote my response to her, I had not yet read down to Blur's post.

you will note I treated her and her observations with respect and thanked her for speaking up. Blur, on the other hand, slanders her. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ That may be true about the one poster you responded to but you respond in many derogatory ways to many others who question that nonrenewal of his contract being because of his political affiliation.

Logicsound09 explained his view pretty well to do but you seem to try to smear him or paint him as a "loony". He makes some good points and I wish you had addressed them in a better manner.

One of those points that he made that I feel is very valid is that the blog began confrontational and frankly, sounding more gossip-y than really just idle curiosity about the situation or honestly wanting to find out the facts behind this. This does not promote a good discussion which I think this subject does warrant.

We can never really know why Mr. Latham was not renewed as it is a personnel matter and those are not public disclosure. Speculation about it does not assist Mr. Latham in appealing this because it makes it more confrontational and potentially puts Mr. Latham in a bad light. I think he deserves a fair shake but it is something he needs to pursue and not involve obviously seriously biased sources such as the websites listed. It does not lend him the credibility he needs in order to appeal this.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

BG don't let the hecklers get you down the truths of this situation will be exposed in a bright light. I do find it ironic though that the individual who spearheaded this dismissal against Mr. Latham has a tainted history of her own as it is related to school district employment and behaviors therein. My hope is that at the least Mr. Latham will gain adequate compensation from the district for the persecutions he has had to endure. On a personal note I am sorry that as a parent I was not aware of the injustice that was taking place. Now that I am aware Mr. Latham has my support 200%.

esteshawk 6 years ago

Maybe this was budget related and had nothing to do with ideology. Typically, when layoffs occur, it's last hired first fired.

And maybe this teacher is angry about that.

jonas_opines 6 years ago

Gnome, you complaining about derogatory comments from anybody else is hypocricy at its most pure. You have earned a great deal of the contempt that you spent some time raging about through several years of low and often infantile insults to many people, frequently as blanket statements concerning all people who are not conservative. You are in no position at all to condemn or criticise anyone else for less-than-civil behavior on this forum until you clean up your own act. Trying suddenly to play the high road is ghastly.

I will continue to have generally good memories of some of our discussions together, on here and in person, but the above is simply the truth, at least as I, and I assure you many others, are going to see it.

burnu 6 years ago

I was in Mr. Latham's Government class first semester, and I believe if I remember correctly that I was in Cloe's class who posted above.

The student in question who was not identified got the ball rolling in my opinion. This student was not in my class but I heard all about him/her through friends that were in her class. The student went to administration for childish reasons stating that "Mr. Latham was being too critical of Obama." After this event Mr. Latham changed his class drastically reviewing everything he had stated and taught to us prior. This man is thoughtful, kind, and intelligent.

I can say first hand that he kept his political views out of the classroom, only after I bugged him about it enough did he even state his opinion. Being the most radical liberal in his class I definitely respected his opposing views. To be quite honest most of my class completely agreed with his views most of the time because they were so well thought out.

In no way did this man push any of his views on any member of the class. I also think the student that reported him to the administration should grow up and realize that America is full of opposing views.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

thank you Burnu for your post. I wish you well in your future academic adventures. a good teacher is quite valuable. I remember some who mattered to me, some were liberal and some were conservatives. some did not state their politics.


katara, one reason I posted this blog was that bits and pieces of the details of this situation were out there, and ljworld was not covering it. you can diminish the "websites" but now on the fox news link you can access what Mr. Latham himself has claimed and filed. I quoted some of it above. since I didn't have much information, I stated that in my blog posting. and I think that differs from being gossipy in that I tried there to keep the language plain and uninflamatory. I stated that I was hoping for more information. I agree that exposure may or may not help Latham's case with the school district, I hope it was obvious from my blog posting that I've never spoken one word, never e-mailed, never communicated with Mr. Latham at all. so, he did nothing to generate my posting this.

katara, I have always respected your views, though you are liberal you haven't engaged in the crazy far left behavior so common among posters on this board.

beatrice 6 years ago

bearded at 11:25: "worst of all, LS09 and the-psychofont show how little the far left crazies actually care about this teacher or his students..."

and again at 11:33: "and the far-left fringies like you were posting total BS about people like me."

and again at 11:57: "just watch, the usual antiFox ranters. loonie left try to deny Latham's own words. just watch."

finally coming around five minutes later with: "you will note I treated her and her observations with respect and thanked her for speaking up. Blur, on the other hand, slanders her."

Exactly what part of calling anyone who doesn't agree with you part of the "far left fringies," "far left crazies," and "loonie left" seems civil to you?

I understand it is your way to just dismiss those who don't agree with you as something other than rational individuals, but when you consider how many you try to paint with that broad brush, hopefully you begin to recognize that you are really talking more about yourself and your own views rather than those of others.

Regarding how you responded to a poster with respect, I'm just curious, are we supposed to be impressed if you had been civil? This is your blog and you are an adult, are you not? Acting like one isn't that impressive, especially when you do so only on rare occassions.

Apparently, you are just so used to calling people names and categorizing them as "loons," or worse, that you apparently don't even know when you are doing it anymore. Time for a reality check bearded.

To this story, it remains a lot of nonsense without substantiated facts, just things people supposedly said to one another. Conservatives getting the short end of the stick in Kansas. Sure they are.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Katara, part of what I was referring to, and your post highlights the issue: Chloe mercer is 18-just finished high school perhaps. she spoke up about the situation having direct experience.

mike blur smeared her for that.

ls09 had no useful information, admitted that such a firing for politics could have happened, yet attacked me for posting this. furhter, he/she thought he/she knew what was in my mind. Those are the reasons I responded harshly to LS09.

if you read the blog I posted, and my first two posts, I don't think they are confrontational.

I can't help but wonder what LS09 and others would do if they heard word of possibly a teacher being fired from a jefferson county school for being liberal? that despite their protests to the opposite above.


Artichoke-heart, thanks to you and shopgirl for contributing to this discussion. I agree with you that I hope Mr. Latham will be rehired.


estes, note that latham's position is apparently being advertised for the fall so seems not to be a budget issue.

allateup 6 years ago

Jefferson county has PLENTY of liberal teachers!

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Bronzie, that's comedy, right?

you've been thrown off of the LJWorld comment boards at least seven times! Seven times has to be a record! and you are so filled with liberal hate you complain about other's posting on here. do you realize how insanely silly that is?

I've been posting under the same screen name for five years, am the #7 poster for total number of posts. Obviously, I'm the one between the two of us who is posting in the limits!

furthermore regarding LHS, subject of this blog, you agitated up a frivelous lawsuit costing the district$10,000 or more. you have posted outright lies and lots of harrassment trying to oppose ssports field improvements at the two high schools but mostly at LHS. You, like some of the liberal posters above, demonstrate how little you really care about the students and their needs.
Your battle with the school district seems to have really been all about you Bronzie.

And you come on here and complain about my behavior? LOL!


Jonas, in the first couple of years of my posting I did go too far and since have improved my posting.
when I make generalizations, it is often not even of liberals in general. there are some on the left such as Dailykos and Moveon.org members who really are crazy and deserve to be railed against.

I too remember fondly some of our discussions Jonas.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Okay Beatrice, look at your first post on here, you purposely misstated my blog comments to dismiss them. I called you on that. apparently I was right since you don't dispute that.

beatrice, please see my reply to Katara. there are also some conservative nutbags too, i.e. james Vonbrunn. sadly, the democrat party's presidential candidates actually visited the Dailykos convention and spoke to there. Michael Moore had a place of honor at the Democrats' convention. Rev. Wright "the jews won't let him talk to me" is accepted by the left. there, I have listed examples of the far-left crazies in control of the democrat party.

btw, Beatrice, Obama said "we've created 150,000 jobs!"

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

p.s. Beatrice, so you are ready to discount Latham's own words, his grievance filing?

I know it might make you toss your cookies but try reading the Fox News link above. there's lots of facts there.

do you suppose a principal ever says anything to a teacher in lawrence about her Obama-Biden bumpersticker? if so, I got some swamp land to sell you in your state of arizona Beatrice.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Allateup: really? I hope that they do respect conservative teachers. that a teacher can have a McCain-Palin sticker on her car.


LG40, you are a flaming idiot. just go away, you don't help the discussion at all.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

OK I.m just going to say this, at least 90% of the UDS497 employees are like stepford wives going with the flow and doing the minimum required to educate our children. The same percentage fail to practice what they preach. I know this because I have worked with them as a peer and have put 4 children though this district. Let me tell you it is so rare that a teacher comes along that cares enough to challenge our children to use their brains rather than parrot information that has been memorized. It would seem USD497 would rather push the numbers rather than send out students with a quality education. That is why enrollment is down and teating scores too. I would love to blame Randy Weseman for all this, but really the fault lies in the lap of our local school board who simply want to appease the bean counters. The rate of pay for teachers in this district just sucks and because of that we get the bottom feeders to educate our children. Here is what I know for sure, there have only been a handful of teachers that took the time to challenge my children to think critically and Timothy Latham was one of them. For the record i would like to thank Timothy Latham, Jan Dicker, Don Binns , Brian Macaffery, Steve Nilas and Berl New for being real educators and mentors in the lives of my children.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

I am happy to say that this blog was a complete success. we've heard from a few people with direct experience with Mr. Latham, apparently a dedicated and caring teacher.
More of the details of the situation have appeared in this space. now, many people in lawrence won't just have bits and pieces. yes this is a personnel matter, but also Mr. Latham has filed a grievance. too. This situation if true impacts the learning environment and the teachers' working environment at LHS.

Yes, I am a conservative and often oppose the liberal posters on the comment threads of LJWorld. Please reread my blog, I stated honestly that I believed it would be wrong for a teacher to be fired for liberal politics too. We had a link to such a story in Colorado on this blog.

I also will note that the number of posts indicates quite a bit of interest in this story that LJWorld hasn't covered. Fox News has covered this story since I posted this blog.

I hope Mr. Latham is rehired. I hope that if there were politics involved in his possibly losing his contract, that somebody at USD497 is wiser now.

You think the ACLU would step in to such a case as this? I would like to see it but am not holding my breath.

Thanks all for participating here, even you who attacked me for posting this. I did predict your appearance in my first couple of posts under the blog.

God bless good teachers. We sure do need them. And thanks to students like Chloe and Burnu who felt strong enough to speak up. I'm sure Mr. Latham and your good teachers are proud of you.

dpowers 6 years ago

Lawrenceguy40- What liberal litmus test? I am a teacher and I do not recall taking that test. I did not know that a "liberal litmus test" was required. I must have iseed that one AND STILL RECIEVED my teaching certificate.

Like most teachers, I don't preach my political views in the classroom, but I do save them for forums like this. So, here I can tell you to pull your head out of your Fox News rear, and get with the real world.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Bea, "fox news ranters": dpowers (Anonymous) says…

Lawrenceguy40- What liberal litmus test? I am a teacher and I do not recall taking that test. I did not know that a “liberal litmus test” was required. I must have iseed that one and still recieved my teaching certificate.

Like most teachers, I don't preach my political views in the classroom, but I do save them for forums like this. So, here I can tell you to pull your head out of your Fox News rear, and get with the real world.

you know Beo, Agnostic and others will go on and on ranting against Fox News, sometimes when no one has even referenced Fox News. Ranters is the right word.


Tim Latham was just interviewed on Kansas City radio KCMO 710am.

good interview. only one item I heard to add to the above in Latham's interview: it does seem one student was angry with him, and went to LHS administration saying Latham compared Mr. Obama to Hitler.

Latham said that anyone curious about this should freely question other students in his class, because it "never happened."

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

What are the facts?

Is this person using his students who do not have the facts?

Usually human resources cannot reveal to the public what was the motivation.

Hey students be very careful of manipulation. You like us out here have zero information.

If the teacher has a case then legal counsel should be hired. Simple as that.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

yo Merrill, you want facts?
read the link above to fox news. also, primarily the students posted their own experience.

because you don't like what they posted you call them manipulated. very disrespectful Merrill

Chloe is old enough to vote now it seems, or serve in the armed forces.

you have no evidence the students have been manipulated.

this actually reflects that because perhaps a "liberal" took a very questionable decision as a supervisor in a public school, you reflexively attack the charges instead of being concerned for teacher or students.

Merrill, your liberal noncompassion/tolerance is showing--again.

Ralph Reed 6 years ago

I've followed this blog for a few days and have seen little substance, a lot of anecdotal "evidence", and even more argumentum ad ahominem. Once again I'm shown that the majority of posters (liberals, conservatves, flat earthers, evolutionists, etc ad nauseum) seem to be incapable of discussing things and even (gasp) agreeing to disagree. (OK, I'm done ranting.)


Now, one very important thing. Mr. Latham came to LHS after 8+ years teaching elsewhere. He did this for reasons of his own that really have no impact on this discussion. When he came here, because he was not tenured to start, he had three years probation. This means that like it or not, the district is not not bound to renew his contract. It can do so without cause and without recourse. He knew this. period. In my opinion, the tempest resulting from 'his being fired for being too conservative' is little more than an attempt to point the finger and fix the blame. I would say this same thing if Latham's contact were non-renewed for being too liberal.

I've been a union steward. The only way to save a job in a case like this is to catch the administration in a technicality. That has not been shown to have been done.

Short of public opinion causing the School Board to reverse the decision, I don't see how, in terms of the contract, how they can legally do that.


I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

Ralph Reed 6 years ago

BG. Your original blog post had the following. "Nobody should be fired for being conservative, nor for being liberal. Teachers certainly do have freedom of speech but must balance that with the need to present accurate and balanced presentations of material in class. No student's grade should depend on repeating the indoctrination of a teacher; rather that student should be encouraged to freely arrive at his or her opinions, and know why."


In danger of causing the LJW servers to crash, I agree with what you said .. except for the word "indoctrination". I take issue with that because I think this makes an assumption or generalization that can't be proven. It doesn't negate your whole statement, but in my opinion it does color it. I realize you were probably a little incensed when you wrote this, but perhaps a better word choice next time. Other than that, it was a good opening argument.


I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

beatrice 6 years ago

Bearded: "What I'm going to write here is based on sketchy information."

That is what you started your blog with, and you think I don't stand by my comments that your blog is nothing but a lot of he said, she said, type of reporting with no real substance? Please. I'm not about to back off of criticizing "sketchy information" when it starts to be written as facts.

And just because stories are reported by FoxNews, or MSNBC for that matter, doesn't mean they are based on facts. They are just based on what they think they know at that time.

Later, you wrote: "You think the ACLU would step in to such a case as this? I would like to see it but am not holding my breath."

Are you really saying that the ACLU only takes liberal concerns? Well, for just one example, here is the link to the time ACLU came to Rush Limbaugh's defense: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,108140,00.html

The link comes from your source for news, too, so you know if must be absolutely and completely true, as well as fair and balanced, because they never slant their reporting. Need I say more on that one?

What this blog really points at is something much larger among conservatives. Ever since Obama won, conservatives are lost in the woods not knowing what to do nor where to turn. Rather than looking inward, they are lashing out at others. The latest trend among some conservatives seems to be to play the victim card, which is just pathetic. Look at Sarah Palin going on national television to get David Letterman to quit telling jokes about her and her family. Poor, poor Palin, the victim of the vicious liberal elite media! You are just trying to stir the "poor, poor conservative guy can't get a break in this town" pot, and most of us see right through it.

KU_cynic 6 years ago

The teacher and two former students appeared on a segment on the (national) Fox News morning program today. I can understand the reticence of USD 497 to respond to any LJW requests for information about a personnel issue, but the cat is now out of the bag.

When will this story appear in the print version of the LJW? If the answer isn't Tuesday June 16th, I'll smell a coverup.

storm 6 years ago

It could be the students are mis-informed. Many youth erroneously think being Republican is the same thing as thinking conservatively. And the teacher may not know better if s/he is spewing talk-radio hype, in which case s/he shouldn't be educating students.

Amy Heeter 6 years ago

For starters with the school district has no personal issues. USD 497 belongs to the community, parents and students. Next USD 497 has yet to show any of the previous cited that they do weigh these issues in the best intrest of those who fund them. One example is the case of Merideth Kane who was reported for inappropriate teacher student contact while serving as a substitue teacher at central jr. high. Not only were the reports not investigated by the district but the woman was actually hired as a full time teacher. Subsequently reports continued to both lawrence high school and the district office by students,parents and co-workers to no avail. You may recall that Merideth Kane was convicted and is currently serving prison time for the crime that was allowed to continue without action on the part of the district for years. This is not the only case in which such disregard has been present within the district.

Mr. Latham has clearly been targeted by USD 497 internally based on his political affilations. If this is to be acceptable then there are quite a few current staff members that should be immediately dismissed. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard district employees speak in bias about politics. This includes teachers, principals, assistant principals, associate principals, para educators and even a school nurse. In every case the comments were directed at the republican party, When I was employed by the district I received countless chain letters containing jokes about the republican party. These conversation and communications are common still. As a parent I have received many of the same communication via e-mail and have heard countless comments related to the republican party especially during the Bush years. It seems that the rules about political affilation are only applicable when the person in question is conservative rather than liberal.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

RalphReed, please read the foxnews link there's a lengthy discussion of Latham's claims.

and as a to a technicality, yes, he was not assessed on his in-class performance as required. you will find LJWorld has an article on his grievance hearing, held today, in today's paper [at least online].
yes, as I posted at the beginning I knew this would draw one heckuva lot of attack. and it has from people who had even less information about the actual situation than I did.

I wonder if they now will attack the LJWorld for publishing today's article?


Ralph, to answer your last item, I'm delighted I am anonymous. I have received about seven overtly threatening private messages, and yes, five of them were from obvious liberals. the other two seemed to be on islands of their own minds.
I am very happy to be anonymous. I'm the #7 poster on ljworld for number of posts. in the top ten only two have their actual names.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

RalphReed (Ralph Reed) says…

BG. Your original blog post had the following. “Nobody should be fired for being conservative, nor for being liberal. Teachers certainly do have freedom of speech but must balance that with the need to present accurate and balanced presentations of material in class. No student's grade should depend on repeating the indoctrination of a teacher; rather that student should be encouraged to freely arrive at his or her opinions, and know why.”


In danger of causing the LJW servers to crash, I agree with what you said .. except for the word “indoctrination”. I take issue with that because I think this makes an assumption or generalization that can't be proven. It doesn't negate your whole statement, but in my opinion it does color it. I realize you were probably a little incensed when you wrote this, but perhaps a better word choice next time. Other than that, it was a good opening argument.

---Ralph, thank you, and I think your agreement is what's brought tonight's severe weather!

perhaps you are not aware there is somewhat of a word (character) limit on postings.
using the word "indoctrination" I didn't intend a generalization. you may have seen my later post on the comment thread in which I said that 90% of my teachers handled the politics well. I also mentioned my own high school Western Civ teacher whom we knew was liberal but he respected other opinions.

when I wrote "indoctrination it went through my mind to qualify that. I chose to leave that strong in defense of the students' freedom of thought in any classroom, but also out of concern for the length. Not incensed when composing that. I got a little incensed by the amazing attacks this simple blog elicitted, this "piece of garbage"--LS09

anyway, thank you Ralph.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Oh Bea, there you go again, misrepresenting my own words, remember it makes you look desperate.

Bea: with no real substance? Please. I'm not about to back off of criticizing “sketchy information” when it starts to be written as facts.

yes, I wrote it was sketchy information, its called being honest.
if anyone with an open mind read my blog posting they'd see that I presented the small information I had tentatively. as noted more than once in my comments under this, please note the use of "apparently" and questionmarks. never once did I say it was certainly fact. in fact, by starting with the term "sketchy information" in my blog, I told the reader what I understood, and that was "sketchy." do I have to look up the meaning of "sketchy" for you?

Bea, your attempts to smear me on this, as Roe said, the shallowness of your arguments, look silly and defeat your own purpose.

finally, please note that LJWorld has covered this too, and other outlets have.

it seems that you, like Merrill, are simply reflexively responding when someone who might be liberal is put in a bad light for possibly making a questionable choice in a public job.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

KU-cynic, I saw your post under the monday online article regarding Latham's grievance hearing on monday. so, you see, the ljworld just met your deadline. note Dennis Anderson's smarmy cop-out statement at the end of that article!


Storm, if anybody thought liberals are without blinding prejudices, they should look at you.

there is more than students' word here.


BABBOY (Anonymous) says…

This beard gnome guys seems to have a lot of time on his hands. I think he is the teacher who got fired and he is trying to posion the jury pool for his pending lawsuit by going all in with this blog.

---not a lot of time on my hands, just gifted [lol].

Babboy, you got that foilhat shiney-side out? I appreciate my anonymity, but please look at my profile before you accuse me of being Mr. Latham himself ROTFL. furthermore, what I wrote above is entirely true, I have never communicated with Mr. Latham, not by any means.

funny how you crazy liberals hear speech you don't like, makes you uncomfortable you automatically resort to smearing and conspiracies.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

from the original blog: He and his supportive students learned that his contract will not be renewed. He will be dropped after one year. There is some indication that possibly he is losing his job because he is conservative, and has been open about it in class.

"there is some indication that possibly ..." sure doesn't sound like I'm presenting as settled fact! Bea is sure desperate.


Okay, this has been up and running a week. during monday this blog popped back on the top-ten listing.

I tried to wind this down Sunday but posts kept coming.

as I write this, there are 154 posts displayed, 165 attempted posts; 11 posts got pulled, or those posts came from users who got TOSsed off.

There is an article from the Monday online.

Again, this blog has been quite a success. I do hope Mr. Latham keeps his job, he seems to be a good teacher who connected with his students.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Today Superintendant Randy Weseman ordered renewal of Tim Latham's contract.
A few days after the grievance hearing, Dr. Weseman found for Mr. Latham. He will have his contract renewed for 09-10.

Good job Randy Weseman, thanks.

publius 6 years ago

The reason that the the superintendent gives for renewing the contract--that the dates for some or all of the 4 required evaluations werre missing--is only a glimpse of the real reason for overturning the principal's decision.

The PRINCIPAL EVALUATING MR. LATHAM COMPOSED SOME OR ALL OF THE EVALUATIOINS AFTER THE NON-RENEWAL DECISON WAS MADE--i.e., she tried to cover her rear when she or another realized that she had not followed proper procdedures.

Now, will anything happen to a principal who LIES about teacher evaluations and when she composed them?

She needs a public reprimand at the very least, and some ethics training.

ashleys091 6 years ago

I had this teacher for US Government. I could care less that he was republican However he pushed his beliefs strongly on us and shunned the ones who thought differently. He compared Obama to Hitler. He is sexist. This is what he told the class "I Wont go to a church with a woman pastor" So he drove clear out of town. Also when we had a christmas present drive each class was assigned a family to buy presents for Mr Latham laughed about how big the kids were asking things like what their parents are feeding them and about how "fat" they were. This teacher makes me sick and I wish he would of got what he deserved! He offended me several times. and countless others. He is a teacher not a preacher. His job is not to force others to belive in what he does. Everybody is saying its because he is republican and a democratic teacher wouldnt have been in this situation well I, in my 13 years of school have never had a teacher push his beliefs on me. And have never seen such a horrid teacher as him. I hope he uses this second chance to change his ways he could be a great teacher if he put his views asside. I loved his teaching methods and its a shame he cant control his need to turn his students into republicans.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

Ashley, thank you for speaking up. there was word of one student who said Latham compared Mr. Obama to Hitler, and in Latham's comments elsewhere he said he would ask people to ask his students. He said that was one student making the claim, and apparently that was you.

don't worry about your english, I've seen worse from adults on here!


LS09, for the umteenth time, the post I put up at the beginning of this blog was clear and quite honest about the lack of knowledge and the uncertainty of what information. once again, you think yourself a mind reader and you the great LS09 can devine my motives!

well, plainly I will tell you, you are wrong about my motives.

furthermore LS09, I've received praise from someone drawing an ljworld paycheck for what I wrote at the beginning of this blog, "a good bit of citizen journalism." that person suggested I might've made a couple phone calls first before posting. but I chose not to, because my goal in posting was to put up what was then commonly being discussed around the community about Mr. Latham's situation.

apparently LS09 you are either seriously impaired in the area of reading comprehension because I've explained this several times, or you are unduly suspicious.

as to the links, I didn't provide them. the fox news coverage came along four days after this blog was started.
regardless of your opinion of Fox, they are reporting what Mr. Latham claimed in that news story.

finally, there seem to be some of the crazier people on the left who simply want to shout down conservatives whenever they post or put up a blog. and LS09, I wonder from your actions. I already know Bea is in that group. Lawrence's so tolerant nutty liberals.

much of what you saw in this blog that you described as one side vs. another was me responding to such drivel.

beatrice 6 years ago

bearded, may I say this one last time: I find that any blog based on few facts and a lot of hearsay - which you yourself have admitted of your own blog - to be of little to no worth. The fact that it was written by you had no bearing on this. (I recall jumping all over a blogger who repeated the rumor that Trig wasn't Sarah Palin's child, but was Bristol's. It isn't just about political views.) Blogs about rumors and unclear facts are like a blog about an urban legend, such as the story of Richard Gere and his gerbil. It has no real worth. This was exactly my point from the very beginning. Re-read my first comment to your blog if you don't believe me.

Here, we have a teacher apparently claiming to have been fired for being a conservative. (Or were others claiming it for him?) The reason for his reinstatement, however, was because procedures weren't followed. The renewal of his contract had absolutely nothing to do with his politics, or the politics of the superintendent. All the rest of the stuff written was just that ... stuff. If you want to believe your blog had anything to do with his being reinstated, then more power to ya.

That is what I said all along, and that is what I will continue to say. Spin that as hard as you like, and get upset about it if you want. I'll keep calling silly blogs silly when I read them.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

LS09, as to the other links, again I didn't post them. furthermore, some of them seemed to be media where Latham himself chose to tell his story.

your posting implies you would deny the subject of community interest and a situation concerning many in our community the freedom to choose where to tell his or her story.

I know that there are TV stations in our area that, were I in such a general interest story, I wouldn't give them the time of day. wouldn't want to tell them my story.

further, I never would presume to get in the heads of those who made the initial choice to nonrenew Latham.

However, in hindsight (you know, 20/20) it seems that somebody in LHS admin really did screw up.

and, as you yourself admitted, Latham's scenario is plausible. Some of your liberal brethren have also admitted it to be a plausible scenario.

so, you are: beating a dead horse; hammering a useless point; and striking at he air rhetorically.
rather makes it look like you are more responding from bass hatred of conservatives, and the afrontery that one should post a blog that might put someone who might be a liberal in a poor light.

bearded_gnome 6 years ago

actually Bea, I correctly described your first post as intentional misstatement of what I posted.

the Dailykos smear was posted as if fact. furthermore, it was clear I was presenting the bits and pieces of what was not mere rumor.

I caught you several times purposely misstating what I and others wrote. people would take you more seriously if you didn't do that.

but sometimes with your personal jihad, it seems I am the red cape and you are the bull.

ashleys091 6 years ago

Also, there is more than one student saying that he compared Obama to Hitler. You should read some of the comments on the facebook group "Save Mr. Latham" He address a student in what I think is an exteremly rude response. Here is a link to it. Look under the wall. http://www.facebook.com/wall.php?id=199597085332 There are people posting on this from all over the country. People who have no idea what he does and says are defending him. Its pathetic. But yea just thought I would add that.

dandelion 6 years ago

This is the first time I've read the facebook blog. Only 1 person went on to criticize the teacher. "Brittany wrote at 1:10pm on June 21st, 2009 boo. i was in that class and he definately compared obama to hitler. his sole purpose in teaching government was to convert everyone in to republicans. so he deserves to get fired" Then this threat was posted "Melissa wrote at 11:18am on June 22nd, 2009 peice of advice, brittany: i'd be careful on what you say." I guess the students like Ashley091 on this forum would be afraid to state their opinions in the open.

Most of the posts seem to be from conservatives from out of town, not from students. Maybe they just signed the petition and didn't comment. It would be interesting to see how many signatures on the petition were really students of Latham.

If he really was making fun of the family that the class adopted, and a student called him an insensitive jerk, then that student would have been disciplined. Were they allowed to make fun of his looks? of his kid's looks? Why was he discussing where he goes to church? That has nothing to do with studying history. If I had a student at LHS, I think I would ask for them to get a different teacher.

beatrice 6 years ago

bearded, I've never once misstated what you wrote. You simply can't handle the criticism of having written a blog based on rumors with no actual facts to support it. The conclusion of this case proves this out, as the teacher was reinstated because procedure was not followed.

I wish you would stop lying about what I am writing.

beatrice 6 years ago

logicsound, it appears that we both had the same general issue with bearded's blog -- rumor meant to suggest fact. I was genuinly surprised that Bearded took the criticism so personally. I guess that will happen when you aren't trying to tell a story, but instead have a political axe to grind.

Too bad none of the rumors proved worth while in the end. It all came down to procedures, and absolutely nothing more.

If bearded still believes his blog had merit, them I'm sure he will enjoy the blog about that guy who heard from his sister's roommate's cousin who was the nurse who was working the night when the incident involving Richard Gere and his gerbil happened.

Ralph Reed 6 years ago

This is old news. Let it alone. What we've been withness to is the following.

  • A teacher on probation was non-renewed, and claimed he was non-renewed because of political beliefs.
  • This was followed by a flurry of outside support all the way up to Glenn Beck which painted Lawrence as a bunch of flaming liberals willing to do anything to get rid of an honest, decent conservative teacher.
  • A grievance went forward to the School District asking for his contract to be renewed because of procedure (not enough valid evaluations).
  • The superintendent renewed the contract because of procedure. This was all we were told the teacher and his attorney argued in front of the superintendent.
  • The lawyer immediately states that this was a tremendous political victory and a triumph for our form of government. Nothing is said about the contract being renewed because of precedure.
  • End of story.

In my opinion, had the teacher, his attorney and others, not chosen to make this a political, nice conservative vs evil liberal, battle, the story might not even have made the LJW.

Additionally, the teacher did not deny his attorny's statement. This indicates to me that he saw it as a well laid out (planned) political battle from the start. That, to me, is the real bottom line.


I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

Satirical 6 years ago

Beatrice…

Yes, procedure and a contractual agreement is the reason why this teacher was reinstated. Procedure and a clause put into place to prevent either arbitrary or disguised discriminatory firing. The requirements exist so teachers won’t be fired for no reason, or for the unstated reason of being too conservative, liberal, black, Hispanic, gay, atheist, etc. When procedures clearly aren’t followed, there is normally some underlying reason.

While the specific reason may be unknown to everyone but in the minds of the employer, I think suspicion is reasonable if, for instance the school had all white teachers and they fired the only black teacher without cause, and didn’t follow typical procedure for evaluating teaching performance, whether or not it is contractually required (this isn’t a comparison, it is an example).

When procedures for evaluating a teacher’s performance aren’t followed and the teacher was fired, it raises red flags that perhaps teacher performance wasn’t the reason he was fired (whether or not it was contractually required). So, if teacher performance wasn’t the reason, then there must have been some other reason he was fired, and speculation on that topic is fair game, and reasonable inferences are valid.

Ralph Reed 6 years ago

The good thing is that the LHS administration will now be very meticulous with evaluations, especially for those teachers on probation.


Unintended consequences.

This case has set a precedent which will be hard to stop. Short of being called "dishonest and ignorant" (look above and on the article, you'll find it), the only thing a teacher on probation, whose contract is non-renewed, has to claim is that it was non-renewed because his/her (insert belief here) beliefs.

That is the true tragedy in all this mess.


I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

Satirical 6 years ago

beatrice...

Also, you must have some sort of superpower to be able to know the minds of the school district when it comes to why he was reinstated, (i.e. it didn't have anything to do with the national media attention and local discussions, such as this blog), and are also able to use that same power to look into the minds of the school district officials who decided he should be fired in the first place, and know his personal politics didn't play any role in that decision.

That is amazing!

Ralph Reed 6 years ago

A couple of last thoughts. Sorry.

The teacher's contract was non-renewed.

He was not fired.

There is a distinct and legal difference.


In general, principals are advised not provide a reason when a probationary teacher's contract is non-renewed. This follows from the fact that there is no requirement for them to provide one.


I'm me. Who are you behind your hood of anonymity?

Satirical 6 years ago

RalphReed... "He was not fired"

Thank you semantics police!

beatrice 6 years ago

Sati: "When procedures clearly aren’t followed, there is normally some underlying reason." Do you think that reason is usually nefarious in nature? I don't. I think procedures usually aren't followed in most workplaces because people are just too darn busy trying to do the job previously done by two or three people. People cut corners to save time, and procedures aren't followed. If they wanted to "fire" this teacher, then following proper procedures would have been helpful.

Thanks also for finally recognizing my superpowers. I knew you would eventually come around. ; )

Seriously, as I've stated many times, I have no idea why the teacher's contract wasn't renewed. It may well have been based on the bias of liberal administrators who loathe conservatives. I don't know -- and neither do others, and there doesn't appear to be any proof other than "he said / she said" contradictory arguments. That has been my one and only point all along. It has nothing to do with either conservative or liberal views.

I don't claim to know the truth of this case, so why do others? Where is the proof to support the claims? It certainly isn't in the final ruling. However, when I questioned the validity of hearsay and what amounts to nothing more than rumors written as truth, I'm the one called into question. Now that is interesting, don't ya think?

I liken this whole thing to the time someone wrote a blog questioning whether Trig was the son of Sarah or Bristol Palin. It was just ugly rumor, and I called the author on writing something without having actual facts to support the claims. Even if it had turned out to be true, and we now know it wasn't, that still wouldn't have justified the original blog. Same here. Even if everything turns out to be true, the original blog started off with the author proclaiming ignorance about the facts of the case!

The final hearing in which the teacher's contract was renewed made clear that the ruling was based strictly on the school's failure to follow procedures. Liberal or conservative viewpoints were never raised. Why should I, or you for that matter, try to guess what the "real" reason was? To do so is to continue to respond to the rumors.

KansasVoter 6 years ago

I hope that this rightwing crybaby of a teacher gets down on his knees every night to thank his Union for saving his job.

Satirical 6 years ago

Beatrice… “Do you think that reason is usually nefarious in nature?”

Of course not, but you are only focusing on the fact the procedure wasn’t followed and ignoring fact that this guy was conservative in a largely liberal school district. As my previous example illustrated, if teacher performance wasn’t the reason, and the person non-renewed was the only black teacher, I think a reasonable inquiry and even public speculation (rumor) is understandable and perhaps justified. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to not ignore certain facts, and only focuse on the fact procedure wasn’t followed?


“Where is the proof to support the claims? It certainly isn't in the final ruling.” - beatrice

Even if this guy was not-renewed because he was a conservative, do you really think the school district would come out and say that? I think it is likely that the national media and local interest may have facilitated a quicker resolution. As to the proof, I haven’t read much of this blog, and only know the claims made by this teacher, but I do know Lawrence. Based on the claim and my personal knowledge of Lawrence, I think the claim MAY have some legitimacy.

I don’t dispute most of what you say. I think it is wise to look for proof before coming to any conclusions, but I think you are ignoring certain evidence, and would be much more zealous in finding the truth and supporting a blog trying to find the truth, if this happened to the only black teacher in the school district.

These question are of course moot now, but I think it is silly that you are questioning gnome for wanting to know more since, if the allegations are true, it should be troubling to all of us. And, I wouldn’t want someone to be discriminated against because of their race, religious, or political beliefs in my community, and live with the knowledge that there was something more I could have done to prevent injustice. If the allegations are false then the truth will out. But a preliminary fact-finding of circumstantial evidence is a reasonable place to start for a lay citizen.

“Why should I, or you for that matter, try to guess what the “real” reason was?” – beatrice

Because the claim, if true, would have grave implications. Therefore I feel justified in wanting to know more facts regarding this incident. Since there is no way (for most of us) to look into the minds of whomever made this decision, we have to look at circumstantial evidence.

beatrice 6 years ago

Sati, so you -- and several others including the writer of this blog -- think it just might possibly be true that he was fired for being a conservative in a "liberal" school district, even though your feelings is all you have to go on on this matter. Thanks for clearing that up.

Just so you know, I agree that if I thought he were fired for being conservative, I too would think he should be reinstated, compensated for his troubles, and the administrator released.

However, I actually think it might possibly not be true. Looks like we split at that fork in the road where the facts end. Fair enough.

Since we don't have the facts, have you also considered the grave implications if the claims against the administrator aren't true? How would you like it for someone to make claims about you if they weren't true?

Personally - and I know I'm just speaking for myself - if I truly felt I had been wronged by the system because of my beliefs and political leanings, I wouldn't just stop at having my contract renewed. I would feel it my obligation to keep the fires burning in order to get to the truth to make sure others weren't also dismissed for their political beliefs. Perhaps that is just me.

At any rate, we weren't sure and didn't have the facts going in -- as is clearly stated in the opening sentence of this blog (unless it gets edited) -- and we don't have any further facts coming out. All we have is a teacher who gets to be in front of students.

I hope the students aren't the losers in the end.

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