Walter E. Williams
Several weeks ago, I wrote about Overland High School teacher Jay Bennish's indoctrination of his geography class. In commenting on President Bush's State of the Union address, he told his 10th-graders: "Sounds a lot like the things Adolf Hitler used to say." "Bush is threatening the whole planet." "[The] U.S. wants to keep the world divided." Then he asks his class, "Who is probably the most violent nation on the planet?" and then shouts "The United States!"

After that tirade, which included many other anti-American remarks, he gave the students the "definition" of capitalism -- telling them that "capitalism is at odds with humanity, at odds with caring and compassion and at odds with human rights."

After public exposure by my column and Denver talk-show host Mike Rosen's radio interview with 16-year-old Sean Allen, who recorded Bennish's comments, and his dad, Jeff Allen, the Cherry Creek School District placed Mr. Bennish on administrative leave. The indoctrination story became nationwide news after being picked up by major media and talk radio. The overwhelming response, including that of Colorado's governor, Bill Owens, to Bennish's classroom tirade has been disgust.

Last Friday, Dr. Monte Moses, Cherry Creek School District superintendent, announced that their investigation of Jay Bennish's remarks and complaints against him were complete and he'll be allowed to return to teaching at Overland High School. Dr. Moses did make a mealy-mouthed statement that the teacher's "practice and deportment need growth and refinement."

Like a few others who have defended Jay Bennish, Dr. Moses talked about academic freedom and First Amendment guarantees. Others have criticized and even threatened Sean Allen for recording and making the teacher's comments public. The issue is neither academic freedom and free speech nor public exposure of the teacher's comments.

It's academic and intellectual dishonesty when a teacher, who is supposed to be teaching geography, uses his classroom to indoctrinate relatively uninformed teenagers. Recording the teacher's comments broke neither school policy nor Colorado law. But more importantly, I believe that what teachers say in class should be subject to parental and public scrutiny.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Walter Williams' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.