I question the timing…

Middle School Teacher In Trouble Over Presidential Photo?

Shiba Pillai-Diaz, a teacher at Crossroads South Middle School in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, put a picture of George Laura Bush on a bulletin board in her classroom next to pictures of other presidents, the American flag, and the Declaration of Independence.

prespicofdoom.jpgThree parents confronted her over the act,

insisting the teacher either add John Kerry’s photo to the montage of presidents or remove the Bush photo.

Ladies and gentlemen, that just might be the STUPIDEST thing I’ve ever written about on MO.

(Yes, I’ve been called to task in the past for the use of the word “stupid” on my site. At that time, I listed every single instance of the word and its derivatives on MO, and I felt that in each case the usage had been warranted and I stood by them. I’m happy to add this occurrence to the list, and I defy anyone to contradict me in a meaningful way.)

Pillai-Diaz refused to add Kerry’s photo to the collection of pictures or to remove Bush’s photo. She claims that the school’s vice-principal threatened her job at that point. The principal claimed that the teacher had disrupted the school with what he called “inflammatory politics” and ordered her out of the building.

Now, the pic on the news site appears to be one of the pics sent out to prospective GOP donors. That indicates that Pillai-Diaz may have contributed to the Bush campaign or is at least a registered Republican.

No wonder school officials are screaming bloody murder. A Republican in their very midst! And she seemed like such a nice person. (via FR)

I actually first heard about this story earlier today on Joanne Jacobs. Go read more about it there, as well.

A quick glance at the biggies reveals no front-page coverage of this incident. That’s not surprising, really. But I wonder what the coverage would be if a teacher in a solidly red state put a picture of Kerry on the bulletin board and was kicked out of the building when she refused to take it down as ordered by the principal. Think it might get at least a link or two?

Yes, I really did say that demanding that Kerry’s picture be added alongside the pictures of the current and former presidents was stupid. S-T-U-P-I-D.


  1. As an independent voter (and who will likely be voting for Kerry [don’t shoot! I am rather conservative!]) I think the principle of this school should be excused from duty. The Teach obviously just had a montage of /actual/ presidents; a perfectly valid teaching tool. /Potential/ presidents don’t sound like a reasonable addition to the montage. Though I wasn’t there so I can’t say for certainty what is best.

  2. I’ve seen Bush’s picture at my daughter’s school (we’re not far from Monmouth Junction) so I am a bit confused. I seem to recall Nixon’s picture being up in my school when I was a kid…previous to that Kennedy, Johnson…then Ford, Carter… Gee, what’s the difference between all those guys and Kerry? Well, getting elected to the post for one. What a bunch of barking moonbats.

  3. I am a Democrat and certainly no great fan of Pres. Bush, but he is my president. His picture is up in my classroom. There is no picture of Sen. Kerry. If George Bush loses in Nov., Kerry’s goes up on inaguration day, not a moment before or after. If not, than I can save on glossy printer paper for another four years. That’s just the way it goes. I would have, however, chosen a different picture of the president, one that does not indicate that she had supported him in any way. It simply isn’t ethical (or in some places legal) for teachers to abuse their position by telling their students who they favor, what party they identify with, or even what religion they are. Young minds are simply too impressionable to question what their elders believe. Beyond the message at the bossom, this stiry is absolutely absurd.

  4. This is ridiculous… I work in this particular school district…. This woman is pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes… and you’re all falling for it. She is the one displaying this political motivations. When the full story comes out… you’ll see.

  5. O.K., Eric, put up or shut up. What’s the full story, since you’re so obviously ‘in the know’. Bush is the President. So his picture can be up… Kerry is not the President. So why would you put up his picture? If the teacher only put up Republican Presidential pictures, then I would question her motives. But there’s nothing about that there. So what’s the ‘full story’?

  6. Fred…. I think the fact that one particular parent demanded that Kerry’s picture be put up is influencing your decision in this case. That parent made that statement out of frustration because of the teacher’s bias. Think about this for one moment… she’s a Language Arts teacher… not a Social Studies teacher. That bulletin board should have been used for student work or at least what she was teaching. The students and parents are claiming she made very derogatory statements about non-republican beliefs and they were tired of it. The teacher claims she never did such and it was the students who came out of nowhere and put down Bush. She claimed she never responded to the kids… that she doesn’t ‘bring politics in the classroom’. Then why have those items on the bulletin board if she’s not going to talk about them. It’s b.s. anyway… she talked about politics. Also… her stuffed rebublican elephant she had IN THE CLASSROOM also gives a little more information into her bias… and she said she doesn’t bring politics into the classroom… come on!

  7. Don’t fear, the teacher’s union is on the case already, as is the ACLU. Any day now we will be hearing about the big ass lawsuit being prepared against the principal and his free speach denying ways. No school or admininstrator has the right to ever deny a teacher her right to post a picture of John Kerry in her classroom. What’s that? Oh, it’s a picture of the current President of the United States. Well, never mind. Sorry to have wasted your time.

  8. Yes… a ‘big ass lawsuit’ may arise from this… and who will suffer the consequences — the students in my district and me and my fellow teachers. I sincerely hope this woman is proven a fraud before that happens. Hit the link and read the comment by ‘baseballdad’

  9. eric: Thanks for your comments and the heads up about that comment on Joanne Jacobs. I’d like to know if there is documented proof of previous problems with political talk in this woman’s classroom or if that’s just part of a smokescreen. What I’d really like to see is coverage by Big Media. If everything were reversed and this was a John Kerry supporters with a picture of John Kerry, Big Media would be ALL OVER this NO MATTER what the facts were. That’s actually my biggest gripe with this whole story. One thing I agree with you completely on is the mass calling and emailing of individuals. That is poor form and not fair to nearly everyone on the receiving end. I wrote quickly about this here: http://www.murdoconline.net/archives/001609.html I’ll write more on this when I get a chance.