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Cop takes 'midnight photos' of teacher's classroom
Times Argus ^ | David Delcore

Posted on 05/06/2003 9:35:22 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun

BARRE – John Mott and Tom Treece have at least one thing in common. Make that two.

Both men think they have been unfairly accused and, if you believe their critics, both have had a chilling impact on students at Spaulding High School.

Mott is the Barre Town police officer who admits he spent part of an early morning break last month photographing student projects in the classroom of a controversial history teacher.

Treece is that teacher. A passionate pacifist, he has been skewered publicly by critics who say he is pedaling his personal political views to the students in his class. Part of the proof, critics say, is in the photographs Mott took when he visited the high school April 9 while on duty, in uniform, and out of his jurisdiction.

The photographs were taken at around 1:30 a.m. after Mott, who once worked at Spaulding, persuaded a custodian to unlock the door to the classroom Treece shares with another teacher.

Mott isn’t apologizing for his actions and says he has at least temporarily refused orders from Barre Town Police Chief Michael Stevens and Town Manager Carl Rogers to supply school officials with copies of the photographs.

“I’m going to speak to an attorney first,” he said.

Mott disputes an account of the April 9 incident contained in a letter written by school Superintendent Dorothy Anderson to the police chief.

Specifically, Mott disputes Anderson’s claim that he “banged on the front door” of the high school to get the attention of night custodian Arnold Cliche, and that Cliche opened the door and let him in.

“It didn’t happen that way,” he said.

According to Mott, he entered the school through an unlocked maintenance door, found Cliche and asked him to unlock the door to Treece’s classroom room so he could take photographs with his personal camera. Although he was on duty at the time, Mott maintains that he was on a break and wanted to photograph student projects that offended him as an American and a retired military man.

“I wanted everybody else to see what was in that room. You can’t explain it,” he said.

Among the student projects that Mott said he photographed were a poster of the President Bush with duct tape over his mouth and a large papier-mâché combat boot with the American flag stuffed inside stepping on a doll. He said there also were pictures of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and his former chief lieutenant, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, posted on the walls.

“Having spent 30 years in uniform, I was insulted,” he said. “… I’m just taking a stand on what happens in that classroom as a resident and a voter and a taxpayer of this community.”

Mott said he took the photographs less than 48 hours after attending a school board meeting at which several residents complained about what they claimed was an attempt to “indoctrinate” not “educate” students.

School officials have rejected that notion, defending Treece as a “thought-provoking” teacher who provides students in his public issues class with resources from the full spectrum of political perspectives.

“As a teacher he (Treece) does present all sides of an issue,” Anderson said.

Anderson said she was concerned that Mott used his uniform to gain access to a locked classroom after hours without supervision.

“I find this behavior, at the very least, in violation of our policy for visitors at the school,” she wrote in her letter to the police chief. “I also find it disturbing that a police officer would wear his uniform under such circumstances thereby intimidating our employee (Cliche) into letting him in the building at a very unusual hour.”

Anderson said she met with the police chief and the town manager on Friday to discuss her concerns and to reiterate her request for copies of the photographs Mott took and has been circulating in the community. She said Mott had not yet complied with that request, which is based solely on her desire to confirm the photographs were not doctored in any way.

“We’re not embarrassed about what was in that classroom,” she said. “We just want to make sure that the pictures he (Mott) took are an accurate reflection of what the classroom looked like.”

Mott said the photographs he took are authentic and accused school officials of “tap-dancing” around an issue that was brought to their attention last month by using the circumstances under which he entered Treece’s classroom as a diversion.

“It leads me to believe they are out witch-hunting,” he said.

Treece said he knows the feeling. He says Mott and his other detractors don’t have a clue about what he does in his classroom, but that hasn’t stopped them from jumping to conclusions based on his personal political views.

“None of these parents know me in any way,” he said. “They just think they know me. Everything they know about me is hearsay. They don’t have kids in my class. They have taken lies and innuendoes and run with them.”

Treece does not hide his personal views and acknowledges his public criticisms of the war in Iraq and President Bush have irked many in the community. However, he said their contention that he is force-feeding his views to Spaulding students is simply wrong.

“I tell kids from day one: ‘I don’t want you to agree with me, I want you to be informed and think for yourselves,” he said. “I have never squashed dissent in my class in any way shape or form.”

Treece said his message to students is simple: “Defend what you believe and if you can’t defend it I’m going to pick holes in your argument no matter what side of the issue you’re on.”

Treece said he supplies his students with a broad range of resources and encourages them to use them to come to their own conclusions.

“My goal in that class is to get kids to think and be critical of everything they read and hear and see,” he said.

Treece said he’s tired of being painted as anti-American simply because he challenges students not to take what anyone – not the president, their parents, or even he – says at face value.

“I want them to understand that everybody’s got an agenda … everybody,” he said.

Treece said that goes for his detractors, some of whom are using the controversy over a six-word sentence – “All hail the idiot boy king” – that he posted on a bulletin board next to a picture of President Bush as a reason to reject the high school budget. The budget is scheduled for a re-vote next week.

“They’re out to get the budget and they’ve made me their whipping boy,” he said.

Treece makes no apologies for how he conducts his classes or for his own political views. In retrospect, he said, the comment he posted about Bush was probably too direct.

The board meets at 7 p.m. in the high school library. Like the Malones, both Mott and Treece said they plan to attend.

“I did not recognize how fragile people’s feelings were at the time,” he said. “It was horrible timing on my part.”

If he had it to do over again, Treece said he would spell out the same sentiments in two pages of text that wouldn’t have offended anyone.

Paul and Norma Malone, the local couple who first took issue with the comment Treece posted on the board, insist they’re not out to scuttle the budget, but want to restore balance in the curriculum at Spaulding.

“Our position has been and still is there should be a balance in that curriculum and respect in that school,” said Paul Malone.

Although the couple’s criticism is not limited to Treece, they admit his comment served as a springboard for their effort.

“It’s not an issue of freedom of speech. That was never the issue,” he said. “It’s an issue of balance and it’s an issue of professionalism.”

Based on discussions with faculty, parents and students, Norma Malone said students from a largely conservative community are being urged to view the world to through a liberal lens.

“There’s nothing from the center or from the right,” she said, rejecting Treece’s comments to the contrary.

The Malones, who have formed the group “Citizens Advocating Responsible Education,” say they plan to attend tonight’s school board meeting and present a copy of a petition signed by several hundred supporters. The petition states in part: “Students must be provided a thorough, factual, unbiased study of the history of our nation, the importance of our government institutions, and the significance of our political traditions so as to engender civic duty and respect for our national values.”

In order to accomplish that goal, the petition suggests revisions to the school’s policy regarding academic freedom and the appointment of community members to the school board’s curriculum committee.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Vermont
KEYWORDS: antiamerican; antibush; blameamericafirst; bushbashing; commies; communists; hateamericafirst; leftwinghategroup; litteredschoolhouse; looneyleft; police; procastro; prodictator; publicschool; redmenace; students; taxdollarsatwork; theredmenace; vermont; youpayforthis
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1 posted on 05/06/2003 9:35:22 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: anniegetyourgun
Hi Annie.. "“Citizens Advocating Responsible Education,” "I love the title of their group.
2 posted on 05/06/2003 9:37:33 AM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~
I suspect they are too late. It's no longer about education in government schools....it's about indoctrination.
3 posted on 05/06/2003 9:38:28 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: anniegetyourgun
Thanks for this one. I got the information that I needed.
4 posted on 05/06/2003 9:38:42 AM PDT by grapeape (Hope is not a method. - Gen. Hugh Shelton)
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To: anniegetyourgun
bump
5 posted on 05/06/2003 9:39:37 AM PDT by joyce11111
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To: anniegetyourgun
The cop stepped over the line here. If he wasn't on official business, he has no more of a right to be in that building at 1:30 in the morning than anybody else.

And the teacher's a jerk, and the custodian is a walking cliche.

6 posted on 05/06/2003 9:40:15 AM PDT by dead
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To: anniegetyourgun
Get out of California as fast as you can....Oh, wait a minute...uh, never mind....
7 posted on 05/06/2003 9:40:56 AM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: BartMan1
ping
8 posted on 05/06/2003 9:41:15 AM PDT by IncPen
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To: dead
Yeah, I don't know why he didn't just tell some of the parents about what he'd heard was going on. But I'm guessing that the parents who send their kids to this school don't care anyway.
9 posted on 05/06/2003 9:42:01 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun (!)
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To: anniegetyourgun
How can we get in touch with this group and support them? Anyone have an e-mail address to I can tell the school the world now knows they are haboring Communists. I'd like to rant for a while, if I can figure out who to scream at. This b@st@rd is lucky he's not in my town.
10 posted on 05/06/2003 9:43:43 AM PDT by YoungKentuckyConservative
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To: anniegetyourgun
Rush talking about this now...
11 posted on 05/06/2003 9:43:48 AM PDT by CedarDave (The number of Saddam sightings is rapidly approaching those of Elvis!)
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~
Citizens Responsible for Advocating Pacifism is more like it.
12 posted on 05/06/2003 9:46:23 AM PDT by humblegunner
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To: anniegetyourgun
What state did this take place in?
13 posted on 05/06/2003 9:47:05 AM PDT by CedarDave (The number of Saddam sightings is rapidly approaching those of Elvis!)
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To: dead
A school is a public building. I don't have a problem with a cop going in to get the pics. My problem is why couldn't he have gone in during the day? Was he barred from doing that? If not, that's whaty he should have done, then the controversy would ahve been soley about the teacher. Or if the cops had been barred, why a public biulding isn't open to the public.
14 posted on 05/06/2003 9:47:08 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: anniegetyourgun
"Anderson said she was concerned that Mott used his uniform to gain access to a locked classroom after hours without supervision."

I would have expected the teacher and school to support this action. Isn't the police state of Cuba one of their dream societies?

15 posted on 05/06/2003 9:47:18 AM PDT by CSM
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To: CedarDave
Never mind -- Vermont is checked on topics.
16 posted on 05/06/2003 9:48:33 AM PDT by CedarDave (The number of Saddam sightings is rapidly approaching those of Elvis!)
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To: dead
The cop stepped over the line here. If he wasn't on official business, he has no more of a right to be in that building at 1:30 in the morning than anybody else.

And the teacher's a jerk, and the custodian is a walking cliche.

You're right on all counts.

If the cop really wanted pictures of this stuff, he could have asked nicely at the front desk, during normal business hours.

As a taxpayer, he has that right.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the school administrators -- who clearly are protecting Treece -- wouldn't have let him in.

Mott may have anticipated such a response, and decided to do something stupid -- which he did.

17 posted on 05/06/2003 9:48:56 AM PDT by r9etb
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~
"The photographs were taken at around 1:30 a.m. after Mott, who once worked at Spaulding, persuaded a custodian to unlock the door to the classroom Treece shares with another teacher.

Mott isn’t apologizing for his actions and says he has at least temporarily refused orders from Barre Town Police Chief Michael Stevens and Town Manager Carl Rogers to supply school officials with copies of the photographs. "

While this teacher is a slimeball, the cop actually had no business doing this while on duty. And, since he was on duty, he's gonna be in big trouble for refusing to turn over the photos, IMO.

Seems to me that when cops do stuff that Freepers don't believe they should be doing, we're all over them, but when they do things like this, we're all behind them. There's either a rule of law or there is not. No crime has been committed here, so what's the cop doing there in the first place?

Thought police are wrong, whether they agree with you or not. That's the bottom line here.
18 posted on 05/06/2003 9:49:30 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: anniegetyourgun
Email our beloved Communist School at:

Thomas Treece - ttreeshs@u61.net

Jerry Desmarais, Chair - gdesmshs@helicon.net

Or, do what I do and send an e-mail to the whole freaking school so other teachers and staff are aware of citizen anger:

migilshs@u61.net;magilshs@u61.net;scalcshs@u61.net;ewigrshs@u61.net;mritcshs@u61.net;gdesmshs@helicon.net;mhadlshs@u61.net;jhatcshs@u61.net;jgoddshs@u61.net;mjarvshs@u61.net;mlafrshs@u61.net;jlewishs@u61.net;drapashs@u61.net;csmitshs@u61.net;mstuart42@hotmail.com;ttreeshs@u61.net;kbearshs@u61.net;kbearshs@u61.net;jbiology@aol.com

Here is the little pinko's website as well, http://www.vita-learn.org/shs/depots/history/treece/treece.html

Come on FREEPERS! This one is worth voicing your discourse. Post your letters so we can all enjoy!

19 posted on 05/06/2003 9:49:47 AM PDT by YoungKentuckyConservative
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To: CSM
A passionate pacifist my a$$. A guy who has pictures of the violent revolutionaries, Castro and Guevara is NOT a passionate pacifist. Probably the formost description of the guy is that he is a liar.
20 posted on 05/06/2003 9:49:56 AM PDT by ladtx ("...the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country." D. MacArthur)
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To: anniegetyourgun
RUSH PICKING THIS UP NOW!!!
21 posted on 05/06/2003 9:50:23 AM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: YoungKentuckyConservative
Let me break those out.....sorry....

migilshs@u61.net;magilshs@u61.net;scalcshs@u61.net;
ewigrshs@u61.net;mritcshs@u61.net;gdesmshs@helicon.net;
mhadlshs@u61.net;jhatcshs@u61.net;jgoddshs@u61.net;
mjarvshs@u61.net;mlafrshs@u61.net;jlewishs@u61.net;
drapashs@u61.net;csmitshs@u61.net;mstuart42@hotmail.com;
ttreeshs@u61.net;kbearshs@u61.net;kbearshs@u61.net;jbiology@aol.com

22 posted on 05/06/2003 9:50:58 AM PDT by YoungKentuckyConservative
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To: anniegetyourgun
That's true. It has been for quite a while hasn't it.

On the other hand..he could have made a bigger impact if he had done this during the day, in front of everyone.

23 posted on 05/06/2003 9:51:03 AM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: anniegetyourgun
Treece is that teacher. A passionate pacifist, he has been skewered publicly by critics who say he is pedaling his personal political views to the students in his class.

Treece is smart. He could have had pictures of Jesus on the wall. He would be looking for another job today!

24 posted on 05/06/2003 9:51:22 AM PDT by Gritty
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To: anniegetyourgun
This cop has done us all a great service. He is a hero. The school is public property and the cop is a public servant. He has every right to go there.
25 posted on 05/06/2003 9:52:00 AM PDT by Ron in Acreage
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To: MineralMan
Why was the cop wrong to take the pictures after hours? I see no problem here, I can see myself doing something while the building is closed....why not?
26 posted on 05/06/2003 9:53:49 AM PDT by fml
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To: Ron in Acreage
"The school is public property and the cop is a public servant. He has every right to go there."

Sure he does, and so do you. But, the police do _not_ have the right to skulk around in the middle of the night. Maybe you have some things in your workplace that you'd rather not be revealed, too. I don't know.

We do not have the secret police here. We have police who must follow some rules. Yes, the schools are a public place, and they're full of students and administrators. No doubt this stuff was pretty common knowledge. It wasn't hidden or anything like that.

Sorry, but I don't like cops sneaking around surreptitiously. If there's a law being broken, then we have ways to gain legal entry. As far as I know, no laws were broken here, except perhaps by the officer.
27 posted on 05/06/2003 9:55:15 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: anniegetyourgun
"chilling impact"

I always assumed that was being hit by a frozen snowball.

28 posted on 05/06/2003 9:55:16 AM PDT by verity
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To: MineralMan; GummyIII
He should have done this during the day. Lodged formal complaints and invited the media.

Gummy..ping to this article!

29 posted on 05/06/2003 9:55:59 AM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: ladtx; PatrickHenry; whattajoke; Right Wing Professor
History and science has been taken over by liberals and freaks --- evolution ... BRAINWASHING // INDOCTRINATION !
30 posted on 05/06/2003 9:56:37 AM PDT by f.Christian (( With Rights ... comes Responsibilities --- irresponsibility --- whacks // criminals - psychos ! ))
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To: mabelkitty
What is rush saying?
31 posted on 05/06/2003 9:56:39 AM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: fml
"Why was the cop wrong to take the pictures after hours? I see no problem here, I can see myself doing something while the building is closed....why not?
"

Because there was no crime committed, and the cop was on duty. As for yourself, had you done this, you'd be arrested. Even though the school is a public building, you have no right to be there without permission. Don't get me wrong, I think the teacher is a slimeball, but as far as I know he didn't break any laws. The cops are for enforcing laws.
32 posted on 05/06/2003 9:57:09 AM PDT by MineralMan
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To: CedarDave
Rush talking about this now...

great,it`s all over the country now.

33 posted on 05/06/2003 9:57:12 AM PDT by green team 1999
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To: Ron in Acreage
The school is public property and the cop is a public servant. He has every right to go there.

I suggest that YOU try to use the same methods to go into a school at 1:30 in the morning and see if you do not face legal sanction if you are caught. As a public servant, the cop should only be entering the school on official public business, and not for his own political agenda. Once he is on his own agenda he is a private citizen, just like you and I.

34 posted on 05/06/2003 9:57:33 AM PDT by dirtboy (words in tagline are closer than they appear...)
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To: fml
trespassing..
35 posted on 05/06/2003 9:57:58 AM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: anniegetyourgun
The cockroaches are scurrying around with this exposure.
36 posted on 05/06/2003 9:59:19 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: anniegetyourgun
Getting information out to parents about a nutcase teacher is a good thing. However, it would have been better if the photos had been taken early in the morning right before class started with the teacher and principal notified by him when he arrived (not before).
37 posted on 05/06/2003 9:59:23 AM PDT by MEGoody
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To: YoungKentuckyConservative
Nice research Youngkentucky! Sending the links, article and emails onto the Legion and Homeland Security team!
38 posted on 05/06/2003 9:59:33 AM PDT by Calpernia (www.HelpFeedaChild.com)
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To: dead; r9etb; mewzilla; MineralMan
Oh my god what are you people talking about?!?!? This is a police officer. This is a public building! He can go anywhere in the public domain. That is his job.

You know as well as I that these socialist were trying to keep this under wraps. They are angry that they have been exposed for the idiot social programmers that they are. We may not be at war here but they are!!!
39 posted on 05/06/2003 9:59:46 AM PDT by grapeape (Hope is not a method. - Gen. Hugh Shelton)
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To: dead
The cop stepped over the line here. If he wasn't on official business, he has no more of a right to be in that building at 1:30 in the morning than anybody else.

That's the same thing the leftist socialist screw worms in Vermont will say. Next you'll here the cop is suspended without pay until he is investigated....

40 posted on 05/06/2003 10:00:11 AM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: fml
My neighbor made the mistake of complaining to the principal about her childs teacher and there was a total backlash against her child by the teacher. When parents complain, it's the children who get punished. By doing what he did, the cop saved a lot of parents and children the grief of exposing this commie. Maybe now these kids can learn something without his communist doctrine forced upon them.
41 posted on 05/06/2003 10:00:27 AM PDT by Ron in Acreage
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To: dirtboy
The school was not locked up apparently, only the room with the pics. Why was that room locked?
42 posted on 05/06/2003 10:01:01 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: MineralMan
I don't htink I would be arrested, it's a public building and he was let in (or I would be) by a custodian therfore no trespassing. He was on break, it was not an official visit, he could have been turned away.
43 posted on 05/06/2003 10:01:40 AM PDT by fml
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~
He should have done this during the day. Lodged formal complaints and invited the media.

If he went into the office during the day the excess administrators would have been called on the phone; they would have gone down while he was being stalled in the office; they would have emptied the walls of everything; there would have been nothing to see.

He would have been prevented from taking pictures...privacy of the students would be the claim.

Don't you know what the education budgets are so high - it's for all the administrators and staff that's needed to cover everybody's a**.

44 posted on 05/06/2003 10:01:56 AM PDT by George from New England
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To: grapeape
I don't think you have a beef with me, purple simian :)
45 posted on 05/06/2003 10:02:02 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: MineralMan
And you have no problem with leftist teachers indoctrinating students with communist ideologies and posting the photos of Cuban commie leaders while trashing the photo of the president? That's the issue, not the cop.
46 posted on 05/06/2003 10:02:19 AM PDT by Paulus Invictus (ax accountant)
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To: mewzilla
The school was not locked up apparently, only the room with the pics. Why was that room locked?

You cannot determine from the article that the room was the only one locked - all classrooms could be locked, for example.

47 posted on 05/06/2003 10:02:30 AM PDT by dirtboy (words in tagline are closer than they appear...)
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To: ~Kim4VRWC's~
Don't think so. Public property and he was let in by the authority in charge at the time.
48 posted on 05/06/2003 10:03:04 AM PDT by fml
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To: George from New England
Shoot, I don't think so. The last thing he wants to do is announce 'when' he is going in to take the pics. Our kids are in there..there is NO REASON to have to call ahead of time and tell htem we are going to show up. No way..
49 posted on 05/06/2003 10:03:40 AM PDT by Freedom2specul8 (Please pray for our troops.... http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/)
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To: dirtboy
Actually, I determined it by what I just heard on Rush :) Rush reported that the cop said the building was open, that that particular room was locked up.
50 posted on 05/06/2003 10:04:00 AM PDT by mewzilla
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