Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nate Fisher case is still in the news

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I found this posting on a blog called, The Beat. It is a posting of the facts from the mother in the Nate Fisher case. After reading it, I now have some of my questions answered:

Here is what she wrote:

"I am the mother of this student. I can tell you the facts on our side of this, and you can make your judgment from there, but at least your facts will be right.

My daughter arrived in her English class on the second day of school, (the first day was used for books and roll taking ect)

Since she was not in the school system the year before she was not assigned a summer reading assignment before arriving in her new high school.

Her brand new English teacher asked her to stay after class so he could give her an assignment to read over the labor day long weekend and give him an oral report on the next school day. He gave her a choice of 5 books, 4 of the books were about civil war, the lone ranger and Tonto and military fighting. One book was about shooting pool, or so she thought - This would be Eightball (issue #22). The teacher pointed out eightball and told her this is the one he thought she would like the most. He also told her it might have a little bit of mature content in it.

She said okay and put the comic in her bag and off she went. - The comic stayed in her bag until Saturday when we were all driving in the car heading to a family picnic - My younger children and a friends child are in the backseat with my daughter and I hear a strange giggling coming from the back. Any parent knows the kind of giggling I’m talking about (the kind where you should immediately ask what’s going on). So I said to the group of children - “what’s so funny you guys!” So the kids reply - We are laughing at the reading assignment from her teacher - “The two kids are doing it” - So I said - Give me that!

I took the comic from the kids, and I started reading it.

Now let me tell you, I am not shocked by much, but the first page I turned to was the fluffy blue bunny page - and I was shocked. Why would this teacher think my 13 year old would want to read this! I could not imagine what this teacher had in mind with my daughter by giving her this comic. I was fearful that I knew what might be on his mind!

Also let me tell you that when I went to the police and the school, we were not on a witch-hunt - we weren’t out to get anyone fired and we were really hoping this was all a big mistake. We thought possibly that maybe some kid stuck this in his classroom as a joke and that happened to be the one she picked up thinking it was about playing pool.

I showed the school and the resource officer what was given to my daughter and they were very surprised, this is not part of the allowed reading material for teachers to give. They said thank you and we will be in touch later and let you know what we find out.

So the afternoon goes by and my Daughter gets off the bus, I ask her what happened in his class that day and she tells me that - He pulled her aside after class and asked her how reading that comic made her feel.

She told him that she really thought it was disgusting and inappropriate and he said yes, I told you it might be a little bit mature.

Well when I heard this, I was really disgusted. What can I assume in this day and age was this teachers motives?? I put her back in the car and I went back down to the school. I asked to see the principal again and I told him what was said to her after class.

Now I want to say - this next piece of information was just what I was told by the school - I didn’t hear the teacher say this personally.

I was told that the teacher gave it to my daughter because he thought she would like the material. But - He said he had it as a college graphic Adult reading assignment in a college class several years before.

That was a college class he signed up for and he knew the course material. Not something handed to him by a teacher in high school and told to read.

`Again, I would like to STRONGLY attest to the fact that I am not against mature reading material being discussed in a classroom setting. I have no problems with nudity, violence, or any other topic discussed in a setting that promotes learning. Had this piece of material been given to the class as a whole as an assignment on modern day graphic novels and the literary benefits of them, there would be no problem.

There would be no problem because it would be part of a curriculum, clearly meant for learning.

Had the teacher suggested this graphic novel to my daughter, advising her that it is of mature content, and asking her to obtain it on her own with her parents consent, then I would have no problem with it.

This is where I have a problem. This teacher gave my daughter, and ONLY my daughter, a graphic novel of mature nature, without the knowledge of the administration, as an extra curricular assignment. This was done after class to my 13-year-old daughter. Yes she was 13 at the time of the incident. She has since turned 14. That may help to alleviate any confusion about her age. In dealing with these situations, parents these days can’t take chances. I will never know this teachers true intent, but I do know that he is at least guilty of extremely bad judgment.

I do not have the blind faith to assume that everything is OK. My duty is to protect my children. I will not compromise that."

Now, I still walk away with the same conclusion:

One of our jobs as parents is to make sure our kids are safe. I certainly understand this mother's reaction to do everything possible to protect her daughter. I am sure she was fuming and shocked - especially being new to to town - wondering how this could have happened.

However, at what cost and to what extremes do we go to protect our children? Isn't it also our job to be good role models for our kids, especially when they are teenagers and they judge our behavior so scrupulously? By rushing to the police, and notifying school officials, she denied the teacher any opportunity to explain himself. He was guilty way before he even had a chance to prove his innocence, or at least his poor judgement. This was a perfect opportunity for a Parental Teaching moment -- to demonstrate how adults work out differences by gathering facts, communicating, trying to understand both sides of an issue, and in this case, realizing that people, even teachers are human and they make mistakes.

Forgiveness would have been much better lesson to learn.

6 comments:

the individual voice said...

He actually did give this kid a choice and warned her of the content, which probably made the book more appealing. What the heck was the content, by the way, that it was so shocking? I have NEVER heard of a parent going to the police before dealing directly with the school hierarchy. That's a little bit...dare I say it? Crazy?

minivan diaries said...

that's exactly my point. This whole thing could have had such a different outcome. Although the teacher MAY have exercised poor judgment (and that's really up to every individual to decide) the parents did the exact same thing in how they chose to handle it. Both the daughter and the teacher have suffered in the end. I hope both of them are able to recover from this debacle.

Take a look at the link to the Amazon page on my first post to read some about the book or go to the following blog if you want to read tons of comments: http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/wp-comments-post.php

The Caretaker said...

Further information on this case is being compiled at

http://region19.blogspot.com

Of interest is that the mother's "facts" aren't as described by her daughter's narrative to other students in the school. Let's keep interest in this case alive.

- Frank Krasicki

minivan diaries said...

Thanks. I've taken a look. I hope that this case does end and it is encouraging that you are continuing to press for answers. I will look forward to reading your future entries.

Anonymous said...

It's Liz from I Speak of Dreams. My pal Karoli has an excellent post up on this issue today, at her blog Odd Time Signatures.

First post A Connecticut Teacher in a Kangaroo Court.

Today's post: To Mystery Dad, Mommy Danielle, USRNGRX, and Thomas A Forcella.

"Man up and apologize for your smarmy smear of a young, talented teacher instead of going on a witchhunt and recruiting your brother (unverified source) policeman to not only try for criminal charges but also to see to it that “he never teaches again”.

I felt sorry for you when I first wrote; now your hypocrisy makes me sick. The only one worth even an ounce of sympathy is your daughter, who I’m sure is dying a thousand deaths inside as a result of your campaign. "

minivan diaries said...

Liz, I can't thank you enough for sending me to Karoli's blog. I was incredibly touched by what she had to say - wow - incredible incite - it lit a fire that was beginning to burn out for me. Thank-you.