By Matthew Rothschild on June 24, 2010

Two Massachusetts teachers have been disciplined for expressing their opposition to war.

On June 11, at the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, there was an assembly for the graduating class. As part of that ceremony, a school official was honoring six seniors who were about to enter the Armed Services.

At that point, two teachers, Marybeth Verani and Adeline Koscher, stood up in silent protest and Verani held an “End War” sign.

Afterwards, a Boston TV station, WBZ, ran a report on the incident, which you can see here.

It’s astonishingly biased against the teachers, even though, in the segment, Verani says, of the students in the assembly, “I’m showing them, in a democracy, how to express dissent.”

Soon, the Web lit up with cries to can the teachers.

Nancy Matthis, writing at americandaughter.com, a rightwing website, headlined her story, “Fire These Teachers”.

Another rightwing blogger, Cassy Fiano, said: “These teachers should be immediately fired. End of story. To disrespect students in such a way is inexcusable, especially when these students are willing to fight to defend their freedom to be ignorant, rude, moonbat asses. Showing students how to exercise dissent? Please. It’s the most pathetic excuse possible.”

A Massachusetts police website referred to one of the teachers as a “cunt.”

According to the Cape Cod Times, some students at the school joined the call to fire the teachers.

“Parents and other community members have flooded the high school principal’s office with about 40 e-mails and phone calls criticizing the teachers’ actions,” the paper said.

A few people did support the teachers, however, the paper said.

Verani told the Cape Cod Times that she and Koscher were trying “to address the expansion of military recruitment of children in our schools.” She added: “I want them to be home and alive and well and going to college and dating and having kids and coaching Little League.”

Verani and Koscher were put on paid administrative leave until the end of the school year on Jun 24, the Cape Cod Times reported. And Verani will be suspended without pay for ten days at the start of the fall semester.

Neither the principal nor the superintendent would comment to The Progressive on this matter. Nor would Koscher. And Verani would not go on record.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his article “Latina Commencement Speaker Heckled in Arizona.”

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.

On November 20 every year for the last fifteen years, transgender people gather for vigil ceremonies to acknowledge...

Yesterday the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would approve construction on the Keystone XL pipeline.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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