CTA Student Smack-Down

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California Teacher’s Association Responds to “Camilla Letter”

Board Member Jim Rogers responds directly to student letter with abrupt condescension, sparking local outrage

In a singular act of political activism last month, the California Teachers Association board, with the leadership of CTA President David Sanchez, flexed it’s political muscle during the campaign, donating over a million dollars toward defeating proposition 8.  In this highly controversial move, CTA representatives raided the teacher’s union funds for  political causes that had been earmarked for lowering class sizes.  Now that the money has been lost and Proposition 8 has won, the heat is on.

In a letter questioning CTA choices in this matter, Folsom High School student Camilla X, wrote to CTA officials protesting their use of teacher funds and received this shockingly worded reply from CTA/NEA coordinator, Jim Rogers….and this is a direct quote:

“Thanks, Sweetie, but it’s over for now.  And it’s really none of your business.”

Mr. Rogers is one of the board members who made the decision to use teacher funds for political causes.  The reply to Camilla’s letter was sent directly to her email box and shocked her mother.  In responding to Mr. Rogers, Camilla’s mother Barbara X, had this to say:

“Regardless of your personal feelings on a matter, Camilla was exercising her rights as an American to discuss her views and opinions with appropriate representatives. The message you are giving reflects your personal and selfish interests (not appropriate as an elected board member) and also sends the message that it is not okay for citizens to express their views.

Camilla’s letter was thoughtful, respectful and eloquently written. Your response showed little to no thought and was not respectful. I will continue to make calls to ensure that this type of behavior is not allowed in the California Teacher’s Association.”

To which the venerable Mr. Rogers, rather than issuing an apology to the student, replied hotly:

“Such hate and bigotry… Such a shame.”

Mr. Rogers should be ashamed of himself for such a response to a student.  I have no words for this kind of incomprehensible action.  To have the head of a teacher’s group show such disrespect and rudeness to a young student is outrageous.  California’s teachers should be ashamed to be associated with such an organization.  Not only did the CTA send 1.25 million of teacher’s hard earned money down the proverbial rat hole, but they have shown, time and again their contempt for educators and their students.

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That these calloused, shameful comments came from a board member is just beyond the pale and speaks to the inner rot at heart of the CTA itself.   —Beetle Blogger

Read the original Camilla Letter, it’s very well written:

Camilla Letter

Subject: In Protest of CTA’s $1.25 million donation to the “No on Prop 8″ campaign
My name is Camilla and I am a junior at Folsom High School. On October 21, I stayed home from school to protest the $1.25 million your association donated to the “No on Proposition 8″ campaign. I believe that this is something that CTA, which speaks for all teachers, had no right to do. Did you ask the teachers if this was okay with them? Did they approve this? You can tell me that your board and representatives voted and passed the decision to donate this amount of money for this proposition, but as I understand it, your board should make decision for education, not for political agendas.
You spent the teachers’ funds on a very controversial issue with which many of them do not agree.  Marriage between a man and a woman has existed since the beginning of human life on earth. Should Proposition 8 fail, it would cause the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman to be diminished and its powerful influence on society to be lessened. The failure of Proposition 8 would result in the meaning of marriage becoming little more than a casual relationship between any two adults and the weakening of the importance of the roles of a father and a mother in a child’s development. Marriage is not just about love or the desires of the parties entering into it. It about providing what is best for children, ideally a mother and a father who love them.
Does it really serve teachers and students best to sponsor changing the institution of marriage in this way?
While you have stated that you made this donation because all people should be allowed equal protection under the law, you must understand that many people do not agree that denying same-sex marriage equates to unjustified discrimination.
Domestic partners, whether homosexual or heterosexual, already have all the same rights and privileges afforded to them by law as do married individuals EXCEPT that their union cannot be called “marriage”. I believe that this type of “discrimination” is very different from the withholding of basic rights to
individuals based on their race or ethnicity, something that cannot be chosen or changed. Even if homosexual individuals do not choose their sexual orientation, their desire for their relationships to be considered equal in all ways does not justify changing society’s definition of marriage, especially when there are already laws in place which give them equal protection and rights.
I thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope that I will get a reply. I hope that you understand why I stayed home. It was not to get the day off but to say that I do not agree with this donation and am not for same-sex marriage and do not appreciate the representatives of the teachers in our public education system taking sides on such a controversial issue. I know that my actions did not adversely affect you but I did this as a matter of principle. I do wish to thank you for the good work you do in seeking better pay and benefits for teachers. My teachers make a positive difference in my life and I appreciate anything you do that will truly help them.

Sincerely,
Camilla


More Letters:

See the entire correspondence sent to us as source material, including replies from CTA President David Sanchez, here—notice his fear of the media on this one…he knows they’ve been caught with their ends in the breeze.

http://beetlebabee.wordpress.com/camilla-letter-correspondence/

Day Late–Dollar Short

APTOPIX Gay Marriage Marches

2 Weeks After Election, No on 8 Tries to Reign In Supporters

Nearly two weeks to the day after the passage of proposition 8 in California, Gay leaders try to reign in supporters who are going after businesses with determined fervor.  These efforts have already cost beloved Music Circus director, Scott Eckern his position of 25 years, and he’s not alone in the hot seat. Most recently Leatherby’s Icecream Owner, David Leatherby Jr. has been the focus of local protests:

Leatherby’s Owner Faces Prop 8 Protest

“At one point, Dave Leatherby Jr. greeted the protesters and shook some of their hands. Leatherby said he doesn’t have any animosity or hatred toward anyone.

“Our vote was not a vote of hate. It wasn’t a vote against them,” Leatherby said. “It was a vote to support something that we though was good. I have no animosity toward anyone.”

Leatherby said since his family’s donation has been made public, they’ve received threats and hate mail.

“Sending mail that said, ‘We’re going to put you out of business, you’re hate mongers, you people are evil,’” Leatherby said. “That was startling.”

In the wake of some pretty ugly events including protests, vandalism, violence and even domestic terrorism, activist gay leaders were surprisingly silent until today.  Boycotts targeting individual’s campaign contributions are considered by some to be attacks on free speech.  Donor rolls, originally made public for campaign finance purposes have been used by the opposition to target and blacklist those who contributed to proposition 8′s passage.  Regarding the use of boycotting to intimidate businesses, there is a question of propriety:

“Organized boycotts in particular to punish that speech does at least raise some questions in my mind under the First Amendment,” said Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition.

“It’s a very, very strong consumer tool, but like anything else, it can be abused,” said Fred Taub, president of Boycott Watch. In this case, he believes it is misused. “This is not a matter of civil rights,” Taub said.

Gay Marriage Marches

Still silent are our elected leaders and officials who ought to have been first to condemn these excessive tactics, most notably Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dianne Feinstein and other public officials who all came out recently in support of these groups.  In a time when California has a declared emergency on it’s hands, both with the fires and in economic security, our leaders are ominously silent in their efforts to heal the rifts of this election.

Beetle Blogger applauds the efforts of gay groups who are now promoting peace, but for many, it comes a day late, and a dollar short.

Gay leaders wary of boycotting Prop. 8′s supporters

Stung by passage of a ban against gay marriage, some California gays and lesbians marshaled online resources to promote boycotts aimed at businesses where key executives financially backed Proposition 8.

Leaders in Sacramento’s gay community, however, are urging their supporters not to go in that direction – exhortations that may get drowned out by the online groundswell.

Lester Neblett, executive director of the Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center, advocates spending with businesses that support gay rights, as opposed to the kind of protests that targeted the Music Circus and Leatherby’s ice cream.

“The gay community has a lot of discretionary money available to them. They can use this wisely,” he said. “We’re continuing to encourage people to support people who support us. That’s been the word that we’ve tried to get out to the community all the time.”

While acknowledging the pain and anger caused by the proposition’s ban, Outword publisher Fred Palmer said he was against boycotting a business because of an individual’s contribution.

Positive spending, he said, is more effective. “That’s when we can speak the loudest,” said Palmer, who is president of the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce.

Boycotts as political statements have history.

The Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott of the 1950s and the California grape boycott begun in the 1960s are examples. In those cases, protesters targeted abuses of minorities such as segregation and oppressive working conditions.

The current boycotts, however, target people and businesses because of political donations, and these contributions are protected as free speech.

Californians Against Hate, a group founded in Southern California, made use of state databases to produce its own “Dishonor Roll” of donors to the anti-gay-marriage campaign, even before the election.

The group already has spearheaded successful boycotts, including against the Manchester Hotel Group, said Fred Karger, founder of the group and a longtime political activist.

“If people stand in our way,” he said, “there’ll be consequences – economic consequences.”

The entire article is here: http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/1403293.html

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