I’ve already blogged about the mis-named Illinois Family Institute’s Director Laurie Higgins’ insane attempts to get The Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta fired from his job as a math teacher twice before. But you got to give the woman credit for being persistent. Now she’s written an open letter to Hemant Mehta where she repeats all the same idiotic statements she’s said before while claiming that Mehta’s two articles about her crusade depicted her unfairly. . .even though those articles largely just quoted numerous chunks of text Higgins wrote herself.
First, even though admitting that she launched an aggressive email campaign where she complained about Mehta to his boss and all of his colleagues (pretty much everyone at the school except Mehta himself), she claims to have never called for him to be fired:
I have never in any context suggested that you should be fired or that you should resign. In fact, I don’t believe the school has any legal right to fire you. You should have fact-checked before you posted that inaccurate statement.
In addition, I have repeatedly stated that you have a First Amendment right to make whatever public statements you want on any topic. I have also made it abundantly clear that my goal is to provide information to District 204 parents–particularly IFI readers-about the nature of the ideas you express and endorse on your public blog so that they can make informed decisions as to whether they want their children to spend a school year under your tutelage.
In my first brief email to your administrators and school board, I did not, as one of your blog commenters suggested, call for you to be fired. I notified them that you made the public, vindictive, irresponsible, and unprofessional suggestion that the Kiss-In would be even better if it took place in front of my home.
True. I can indeed find no actual direct statement calling for the school to fire Mehta, but this is like spreading malicious rumors about a guy to their girlfriend that claim the guy cheated on her and then when confronted about trying to break the couple up, claiming that you never actually suggested she break up with him. It’s moot and the Higgins’ agenda is transparent. If not to have him technically fired, she is clearly suggesting that parents be informed of his communist activ–err, I mean that parents be informed of his atheist activities, that they then be free to have their children pulled out of his classes if they so choose, and that he be effectively blacklisted. And then she again has the audacity to suggest she respects the freedom of speech and expression granted under the First Amendment.
She then goes on to correct his apparent misrepresentation of her position by saying:
You fail to acknowledge a central point that I addressed in my two articles, which is that many teens are unduly influenced by emotion or the cult of personality and are therefore predisposed to look favorably on the ideas of teachers whom they find cool or charismatic or funny or kind or iconoclastic.
If students search your name and come upon your blog, they will be exposed to your endorsement and promotion of ideas that some parents may find deeply troubling. If students have you as their teacher, like you, and develop a relationship with you–as happens often in high school–they will be more likely to look favorably on and be influenced by your ideas than those students who have little or no personal connection to you. This is the reason that many parents care deeply about role models.
It’s the reason there were some recent stories about parents being upset that a high school cheerleading coach posed in her private life for Playboy magazine, and why some parents would not want their children in the class of a teacher who in their free time on a public forum promotes racist views or denies the historicity of the Holocaust.
So because one teacher was unfairly penalized because of a nude photo she posed for in an adult magazine decades earlier in her youth, Higgins wants to that incident to set precedent. But for what? It seems almost as if she’s suggesting that if a teacher does anything, anything at all either in their spare time or in the distant past that might offend anybody at all, the school has some responsibility to air that individual’s dirty laundry at parent/teacher conferences so that parents can decide whether or not the teacher should be forever condemned for opinions and behaviors that the parents don’t agree with.
But no, that’s not what she’s saying at all. As Mehta points out, she’s not condemning any Christians who share her particular point of view even if they lack Mehta’s professionalism and allow those beliefs to spill over into the classroom. She’s only interested in blacklisting those who express different opinions than her. Where was she when everyone else was outraged over the appalling behavior Matthew LaClair observed in his high school History class?
And then of course she points out her own hypocrisy while seeming to be oblivious to it:
It’s probably the same reason that three years ago a well-known homosexual blogger informed my former superintendent that I had been interviewed on Moody Radio on the topic of homosexuality. During my last three years at Deerfield High School, there were more than a few supporters of the normalization of homosexuality who wrote publicly and contacted my administration about what they believed was my unfitness as a role model for students–and I worked in the writing center where I had no classes.
So she was herself the victim of harassment by someone like her who tried to get her blacklisted because of her views! You’d think then that she’d know more than anyone how unfair it is to be judged not by your own merits but by others’ perceptions of your opinions and legal behaviors expressed outside the classroom. But she doesn’t getit. She doesn’t get it AT ALL.