Todd Manzi

Jay Bennish is a teacher who collects paychecks for teaching Colorado high school students about geography.  Here is a sample from one of Bennish’s classes:

“Do you see how this economic system [capitalism] is at odds with humanity?  At odds with caring and compassion?  It is at odds with human rights.  Anytime you have a system that’s designed to procure profit, when profit is the bottom motive, money, that means money is going to become more important potentially than what?  Safety, human lives, etcetera.”

According to Tustin Amole, Public Information Officer for the Cherry Creek School District, the above statement and the other Bennish statements captured on tape by one of his students are within the context of the geography class.  The main issue the school district has with Bennish is that he didn’t provide balance by presenting an opposing point of view.

Apparently, it’s acceptable in the Cherry Creek School District for a geography teacher to use 20 minutes of class time for a left wing, fanatically whacko, socialist diatribe, providing he has made arrangements for Ann Coulter to tell the class what she thinks of communism.  Isn’t public education great?

Here’s a better idea.  Spend the forty minutes in geography class teaching kids about geography.  Then set up an after-school debate to watch Coulter clean the teacher’s clock.

Bennish has hired David Lane as his attorney and takes the position that he should be able to say anything he wants in class.  In an interview with the CBS affiliate in Denver, Lane said, “No action should be taken against someone who is exercising their rights under the First Amendment.”

According to Lane’s logic, when the receptionist of his law firm answers the phone, she should be able to express the opinion that all of the attorneys there are incompetent and then provide the caller with phone numbers of better counsel.

Sane people, on the other hand, would think that since Lane and his firm are paying the receptionist, she does not have free speech to answer the phones anyway she wants.  Sane people realize the receptionist should be fired if she doesn’t answer the phones exactly as her boss directs.  She is not free to speak, she is paid to speak.

Todd Manzi

Todd Manzi is a media critic.

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