Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scoring at the Mets Game

Apparently, it is not unusual for elementary school students to have a crush on their teachers. I say "apparently" because it is not a matter of firsthand knowledge for me. To me, teachers -- even the ones I personally liked -- were agents of The Enemy. As much as I enjoyed many aspects of my grade school and high school experience, I was always, from day one, disdainful of the controlling authority they represented. It was not until college that I had anything remotely resembling an attraction for any of my professors (and the most that ever came of that was, on one occasion, when she gave me a ride in her car to the train station on a foul weather day).

[As surely you gather, I knew quite well the furniture layouts inside the principals' offices of the schools I attended.].

It was only at the verge of my adulthood that I began to realize that the teachers who knocked me around the most for my less-than-optimal attitudes were the ones who believed, deep in their hearts, that I would one day wise up and become a respectable and contributing member of society. It was "tough love" in an era before that term was widely used. Their faith in me was not misplaced, I am grateful to report. And I am willing to bet that, as long as they were able, they followed my career from afar, along with other problem children whom they helped to set straight, just as I take due note of my own former students who achieve in their chosen fields.

No, I did not cuddle up with adoration to my teachers. But some kids do. And such kids are vulnerable, big time, if the teacher to whom the cuddle up has nefarious intentions.

Randy Mudge is one such teacher. Mudge, of the Hunter-Tannersville Central School District in New York was suspended by the Commissioner of Education upon the finding that, on at least two occasions (in 1989 and 1992), he gave favored treatment to certain female students under his tutelage, and then, after they graduated and attained the legal age of 18 years, took them to Mets games and, after the respective games, had nominally consensual sex with the respective young ladies in the back of his vehicle in the Shea Stadium parking lot.

The Education Commissioner found that Mudge had groomed the young ladies for the sex while they were still his students and underage, and, finding that he lacked the requisite good moral character, suspended his teaching certificate for a year.

Mudge appealed, and the Court backed the Commissioner.

My questions:

1. Does the Education Department really expect that Mudge will somehow acquire the good moral character necessary to be a school teacher during the course of his one-year suspension?

2. What took so long for the case to be reported and acted upon?

3. What parent of a teenage girl would allow their daughter to go out to a baseball game, with a male teacher, unaccompanied? [Note: There were several outings to Mets games before graduation, before the ones when Mudge actually shtupped his by then former students.].

On this last one, I have a theory, albeit not a scientifically-tested one: People who are raised to never question authority have too much trust for any authority. Such blind trust is passed down from generation to generation, resulting in a society that is easily led astray by the government, etc.

But, having had an innate disdain for authority, I never had that problem!

The mom of a student who attended my son's day school (but who was not in my son's class) reported to my wife that her daughter had seen my son standing out in the hallway, obviously for disciplinary purposes. At the parent-teacher conference night about a week later, my son's rabbi/teacher told me and my wife that our son had gotten a bit out of bounds, and it was necessary to expel him from the classroom.

The colloquy went something like this:

Rabbi: "Your son has, of late, gotten a bit disruptive in class, so I had to make him stand outside in the hall a few times in the past two weeks."

Wife: "What did he do?"

Rabbi: "He wouldn't pay attention and was telling jokes to the other boys when I was trying to teach."

Wife: "So did you send him to the Principal's Office?"

Rabbi: "No! I just sent him out to stand in the hall. Sending him to the Principal's office would only brand him. I just wanted to get him out of the classroom so I could teach. Unless they are really, really disruptive or dangerous, I keep the Principal out of it"

Me (to Wife): "I always knew that our son was an outstanding student!!"

My wife began to wince, but the Rabbi laughed. And I knew that he would appreciate the humor. After all, we had known him when he was still in high school, and knew that he, in a similar vein, had also been "outstanding" in the hall on more than one occasion. The Rabbi, too, had a healthy portion of skepticism for authority and the government.

Somehow, I think that this Rabbi's daughters are not going to be such easy scores at any baseball game. As it is, they do not blindly accept whatever the government feeds them.

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