At a Chicago school, students in the gifted program, known as “giftees,” got in trouble for wearing T-shirts with their nickname on it. Their parents filed suit. In response to my post, the head of the school council writes:

The term “giftees” was ascribed to the students in the Options Program (commonly referred to as the Gifted Program) by the students in the regular program at the school. In return, the students in the Options Program gave their regular program fellow students the nickname or “retards” or just “tards.” Our school also has a Trainable Mentally Handicapped Program so you can understand the additional sensitivity of that term.

The school’s administration made it clear that neither term is acceptable for any students to use. So the Options students created a shirt that tried to skirt this by having the term appear as “g*****s” on the shirt in question. Again, unacceptable and quite possibly inflammatory. Disguising the letters does not change the meaning.

To avoid confrontation in the hallways of the school between these students, the Options class was kept in their homeroom on the day they wore the t-shirt and their teachers came to them. Further discipline would have been allowed in accordance with the Uniform Discipline Code of the Chicago Public Schools, but that was not done.

It has always been and will continue to be the goal of this school to foster a spirit of community between all of its students and their families. This current lawsuit is an unfortunate attempt to create a division in that community. We are not all born with the same gifts but we should be taught to understand how to properly utilize those gifts and respect the talents of those throughout the community. That is our goal at Beaubien and we will continue on that path.

Michael Renkosiak
Chairman, Beaubien Local School Council

I can understand banning the term “tard,” which is an insult. Banning “giftee” or “g*****” I don’t get. If the nicknamed don’t mind, why should the nicknamers be inflamed?

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  1. From my own experience, when you laugh at or claim a term that someone slapped on you to denigrate you, the would-be insulter gets rather peeved. If the nicknamers intended “giftees” as an insult, they would probably be annoyed by the t-shirts. If they didn’t intend it as an insult… then what?

  2. Michael Renkosiak says:

    The regular program students get the clear message from the gifted program students that they are blatantly seen as inferior for not having been born with the same academic talents. To have had that sanctioned by the school would have been a far worse outcome. Elitism is not a subject in our curriculum.

  3. Walter Wallis says:

    Leveling down?

  4. Cousin Dave says:

    A questsion here: are athletes allowed to wear letter jackets and sweaters? Does the school try to prevent them from referring to non-athletes as “nerds” or “goofs”?

  5. Richard Brandshaft says:

    This reminds me of a flawed science fiction plot we’ve all seen many times: the super-smart mutant(s), one or at most dozens, in a head on clash with normal humans. Never explained: if the mutants are so smart, why can’t they avoid direct clashes with a species that outnumbers them by a few hundred million to one?

    Unless the giftees are all unarmed combat experts, and have not only figured out how to carry guns and not get caught but how to avoid being prosecuted for defending themselves, someone should explain to them: They are supposed to be smart. A minority going out of their way to pull the majority’s chains is not smart. It is dumb.

  6. Being gifted was not a choice of the students. It is not necessarily a good thing for the kids. They have to sit bored in the classroom when not in their pull out programs. They have to be stuck with their age “peers” with nothing in common. It is not superiority it is another way of learning. They already have a more difficult time with a greater understanding of the world at a younger age. It is great they are proud of what they are. How dare some idiot admidistrator tell them it is bad to be intelligent and that it will just get you beat up. Let them all homeschool and then see how the school grades measure up and see what rating the school gets without them.

  7. Alex Bensky says:

    It hurts the self-esteem of the less gifted students to see classmates wearing shirts saying that they have talents and skills that the regular kids don’t have. Damage to self-esteem is enough reason to ban the t-shirts.

    This doesn’t apply, of course, to students who are athletically gifted wearing jackets that proclaim that they have athletic skills and talents superior to their classmates. That’s OK.

    Why? It’s just different, that’s all. After all, what’s the basic purpose of the school?

  8. I am also upset over the PC term “Options Program” instead of Gifted Program or Advanced program. More dumbing down of our students?!?!

  9. Ummm, many of the students in gifted education program get there because they, and/or their parents, love education, value learning, and the students work hard. Many of these posts act as if the “gifted” kids are just way smarter than everyone else and thus sail through academic courses without ever opening the books. It has been me experience that a decent IQ is required but working hard can make up for a lot of IQ points. Maybe I am projecting my own childhood onto others here but I think it is great that these kids work hard and are proud of their hard work. Why would you want to take that pride away from them?

  10. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but for once I think a school administrator got it right.

    The shirts are a public display of elitism by the gifted students that needlessly aggravates what, it sounds like, was already a tense relationship between the different groups of students. If I were an administrator I wouldn’t permit that either.

  11. As someone who was “gifted” in school and whose children now participate in advanced programs I have both viewpoints.

    I tell my children now that it is good to excel and they have talents that are above some of their peers. This does not mean that they should treat them with disrespect or view them as inferior.

    Throughout life we will encounter people with different skills and expertise. Kids should learn that being smart or have athletic ability does NOT make you a better person. What makes you a better person is treating others fairly and giving them the respect due a human being. You must allow that you may be better than others and they may be better than you at some things.

    Suppressing this understanding does not foster a better community, but reinforces US vs THEM thinking on both sides.

  12. Note how deftly the First Amendment considerations are made to disappear when another ox is being gored. Tinker v. Des Moines School District,? Dunbehsillyh, the CONTEXT is different.

  13. Steve LaBonne says:

    “The shirts are a public display of elitism by the gifted students…” For the hundredth time, so are athletic letters, and when’s the last time we heard about them being banned? You can consistently be for or against both, but not just one of the two. And the choice that inconsistent people make about which to oppose, says much about their priorities.

  14. I have seen the word ‘elitism’ bandied about as if it were a negative thing…why?

    If these are truly ‘elite’ students (if they aren’t, what are they doing in a gifted program?), then why shouldn’t they be proud of it? If the ‘tards’ are going to be offended, so be it…why is it that those who succeed must learn to hide their achievements because those who do not are granted veto power over their self-expression?

  15. Steve LaBonne says:

    Scott, it’s what the Ozzies call “cutting down the tall poppies”. See Toqueville for a detailed explanation.

  16. Interesting to see that not all the ‘tards’ are administrating that school.

    “Giftee” was intended as an insult.

    The ungifted ‘normal’ “regular” students applied it to the kids in the ‘gifted’ or “Options” program and, most likely, called them that with impunity.

    It was not until the kids in the Options program turned the tables on the ‘tards’ by taking the appeltion as one of honor that it became a problem. As soon as the ‘giftees’ took the initiative–and the power–away from the regular kids something had to be done.

    It is, as all these things are, the mice voting to bell the cat.

  17. “It’s all right; It’s OK: You’ll all work for us one day!”

  18. “The shirts are a public display of elitism by the gifted students that needlessly aggravates what, it sounds like, was already a tense relationship between the different groups of students.”

    It “aggravates” a “tense relationship” that only got that way because the “regular” students were spending so much of their time taunting and insulting the “giftees”!

    So you guys think that insults directed at the giftees are quite all right, but heaven forbid that these giftees do anything that might hurt the feelings of the poor maligned regular students? Seriously?

    Even more galling, these “giftees” are not even allowed to publicly display an insult directed at them as a badge of honor? Because it might hurt the feelings of the very people that introduced that insult in the first place?

  19. John from OK says:

    This blog must come from a parallel universe. When I went to school, the regular students had their own equalizers: their fists.

    Seriously, Mr. Renkosiak states, “The term ‘giftees’ was ASCRIBED to the students.”

    The actual word GIFTEE does not sound like an INSULT, unlike “brain” (pronounced braaaiiin), “dweeb”, “wus”, or “give me your lunch money.” The term TARD does indeed sound like an insult; a hidden meaning might be “20 years ago you could have punched me in the face, but my yuppie mom taught me some good kick-boxing moves”.

    Nonetheless, unless the kids are wearing uniforms, the 1st amendment should apply here. Gifted students can wear “G*****S”, and regular students can wear “At least I’ll get laid before I’m 30”.

  20. Dang it John, don’t do that when I am drinking coffee. Now I have to clean my keyboard.

  21. John from OK says:

    Thanks, Ross.

  22. When I was in college (about 20 years ago), a dorm roommate was in the education program, emphasis on developmentally challenged students.

    At that time, she was TAUGHT in the program to refer to retarded students as “tards”. Just goes to show how difficult it is to keep up with the correct PC lingo!

  23. Steve, this is an elementary program. They do not get letters for sports in elementary school. So that stupid argument about sports does not apply here.

    First amendement schmendment … those kids are rubbing it in the other kid’s faces and worse yet, with their parent’s blessing. If it’s supposed retaliation for that name tag being placed on them, then it becomes two wrongs.

    I’m not a school board lover, but this time they got it right.

    And … “It’s all right; It’s OK: You’ll all work for us one day!” .. yeah they sure will, and steal you blind for being such a pretentious bast… when we were in school together years back.

    And lastly, Scott… get real … try to recognize snobbery when you see it. Nobody loves a smart-ass.

  24. D. Cooper,

    This is an 8th grade program, not an elementary program. But I agree with your points, and would like to add to them:

    First, the sports analogy fails because letters are not the same thing as slurs. If the Options students were forbidden to wear, say, spelling bee participant T-shirts, then one could draw parallels, but that’s not the case here.

    Second, “taking back” slurs keeps them in circulation and only fuels further antagonism. Let me put it this way: What if, for instance, a peace club’s members were put down as “wussies” by pro-war students? Would it be OK for peace club members to wear “wussies” (or “w*****s”) T-shirts? You might think so, but what if it was a black club, a gay club, a feminist club, etc. and the slur was something so nasty that I don’t dare type it here? Principals have to maintain some semblance of law and order on their campuses. They can’t turn a blind eye to this kind of tit for tat nonsense. And it’s pathetic that the parents are siding with their dear little gifties. Such courageous rebels against the system!

    Third, speaking as a so-called giftie myself (but not from that particular school), I remember my fellow elementary school g-s being quite full of themselves, to put it nicely. They openly defied the g-program’s teacher, the best in the entire school, and they would have loved to wear shirts emblazoned with the word “g*****s.” I don’t know whether the “Options” program students were anything like those kids from twenty years ago, but I can’t help but wonder if they are. I mean, ALL 27 of the 8th grade Optie kids wore the shirts!? If I and my best friend in the g-program had been in their shoes, we would have refused to wear the shirts. And my parents wouldn’t have sued even if I had been dumb enough to wear the shirt.

    We all know what two wrongs don’t make.

  25. Actually, the sports analogy isn’t stupid at all, it’s very apt.

    Even though elementary school kids don’t wear academic letters, they do participate in sports teams if they want to, and you’d better believe their scores and triumphs are announced over the PA.

    It’s also a good analogy in another way. Now, I don’t know anything about basketball and somebody who does could probably shoot all kinds of holes in this, but here’s how I think it is: There are probably tall kids who love basketball and are physically well coordinated and willing to work on their skills. These are the kids who go on to win scholarships and make names for themselves. There are tall kids who learn the basic skills who do fairly well because they’re tall, and maybe they earn some scholarships too; they’d go further if they applied themselves, but probably not to fame and fortune. There are not-so-tall kids who love basketball, have some talent, and work their butts off, so that they’re real assets on their teams, and they’ll probably get scholarships but not fame and fortune because when you get right down to it they don’t have what it takes. Then there are not-so-tall kids who don’t give a rat’s tail about basketball and are never going to be in line for a bball scholarship at all.

    Translation: You can’t deny the innate height factor that some kids have and some don’t, because you can see it. Dedication and determination are necessary for tall kids to truly excel, of course. But while they make up *to a degree* for a lack of height among non-tall kids, the fact is that you do not see any NBA stars of average height. And even the high school students that are talked about and competed for by college programs are tall.

    Well, you can’t see IQ. And so people talk about how the kids in the gifted classes are just there because they try harder, or because their parents care. It’s cruel to the parents and kids who do try hard and care and are never going to do better than average. And these people are not chopped liver. Nevertheless, while it may not be very nice for the gifted kids to brag about themselves with T-shirts, it’s OK to exactly the same degree that it’s OK for the athletes to wear their letters. IMO.

  26. Nice try Laura, but it just doesn’t cut it. Yeah, and all the skinny kids are long distance runners. And, just for the record, most kids in 8th grade do not get or wear letters. A ‘Varsity ‘ letter is generally earned in High School when a kid makes the varsity team of a given sport and even there very few wear them. Besides, they’re usually worn, if at all, on jackets, and not on a tee-shirt to be paraded around the school..

    Eight graders will probably have their games announced over the PA usually without names but only team scores, and the giftees will in most likelyhood be listed on the honor roll in the hallway. And quite often the giftees and the athletes are one in the same.

    And, don’t tell me you can’t see IQ … I taught for 35 years, it sticks out like a sore thumb!!

  27. All the skinny kids are not distance runners. I was a skinny kid, and I couldn’t run at all.

    In what way exactly does my “nice try” not cut it, in your humble opinion?

    And if you can see IQ, you must have X-ray vision.

  28. Steve LaBonne says:

    D. Cooper, you’re just making me laugh. None of us here have forgotten or school days so thoroughly as to have forgotten the adulation with which school athletic “heroes” are treated in their schools and communities, and one never hears that dread word “elitist” applied in such cases. Nice try yourself, but you haven’t even begun to dent the point about unequal treatment of atehletic vs. intellectual endowment.

  29. Steve LaBonne says:

    Sorry about the typos- hit “post” when I meant to hit “preview”.

  30. Does anyone think that the administration’s orders will solve the problem? Or will the kids find another way to describe the same concept?

    The trouble is, no one wants to admit that the “gifties” are an academic elite. That’s a shame, because someone could then speak to them about the real need for modesty, that old-fashioned term. Noblesse oblige is another old-fashioned term, which in my opinion fits. The entire school could contemplate the concept of “civility,” as well.

  31. Laugh away Steve, I taught and coached high school varsity sports for 35 years … you’re way over stating the ‘eighth’ grade athlete/hero syndrome. It just doesn’t exist in the extreme fashion you’ve eluded to at that level. And, it is wrong for athletes to be overly adored, but I fail to see where that issue places a ‘Good Housekeeping’ seal of approval for the t-shirts. You see Steve, the unequal treatment is not the issue, but whether or not the t-shirt deal is a good idea. It only furthers the divide not narrows it.

    And Laura, no, not all skinny kids are long distance runners nor are all tall kids basketball players … both have to work at it and want to do it. And if you’ve taught long enough it isn’t rocket science to spot bright child any easier than it is to spot a tall one … the tall ones you can spot from a little further away … that’s all. No x-ray vision needed.

    And the nice try doesn’t cut it because, and I’ll say it again, kids in 8th grade generally do not wear letters(let alone even get them) nor do kids in high school. Kids on the football team in my school wore their game jerseys on the Friday before a game, but that was about it. And all this business about scholarships is major hype. They are few and far between as any high school senior will tell you. In my 35 years of coaching, the number of major scholarships was very very small. I’d dare say that academic scholarships were more plentiful!! And as quite often was the case, the athletes and the scholars were one in the same. And I know, because I taught them and coached them.

    Bottom line … keep the obnoxious tees home!!! They have no place other than to promote division and snobbery. It’s one thing to be proud of belonging to a particular group be it athletic or academic, and it’s quite another to rub it in someones face. Those tees are face rubbers!!

  32. D. Cooper, I think we’re talking past each other because I think you misunderstood the point I was making in my first post. There’s more than one discussion going on here.

    A child who is successful in the gifted program has to have some raw material to work with. Hard work can cause a borderline child to make the cut, but an average child isn’t going to make it in a true gifted program no matter how hard he works. IQ can be affected to some degree by nutrition and so forth, but the smarts a kid has to work with in middle school is a limiting factor just as much as height is for getting those basketball scholarships. (And I never said “major” scholarships. I went to an all-women college and lots of girls got some scholarship money for sports. For some of them, it made a big difference, even though you might not consider it “major”. That’s all I meant.)

    And by the way, just because the kids in your school didn’t wear their letters, that doesn’t mean that kids elsewhere don’t or that they aren’t lionized. There have always been whole sections of my kid’s school newsletters, middle and high school, that are devoted to sports of every kind, listing the top players with all kinds of arcane stats. The academic triumphs get much less space. And this is in a middle and high school known locally for its college prep program. Even the sports section of our local paper goes into detail about the high school sports programs, games, top players and so on. That’s fine, but it’s silly to pretend that gifted athletes don’t get singled out for attention. They do.

  33. Laura …I have no quarrel with the fact that athletics does in many places get more attention than in should and that academics gets put on the back burner. And, certainly some excel in one area rather than the other and a few in both. My argument is only that the solution is not to further alienate the groups with obnoxious t-shirts. And as I will attest, there is no lack of obnoxious ‘giftees’ nor athletes. Nobody likes a ‘smart-ass’ (giftee) and nobody likes a ‘wise-ass’ (athlete)

    In the long run, ‘nice’, hardworking/motivated kids make the best people ‘out of school’ regardless of intellectual or athletic ability. I’ve seen them going through and I’ve seen them in their 30’s and 40’s … We’d be a lot better off promoting ‘nice-ism’ as opposed to ‘I’m better then you-ism’

  34. “We’d be a lot better off promoting ‘nice-ism’ as opposed to ‘I’m better then you-ism'”


  35. Steve LaBonne says:

    “We’d be a lot better off promoting ‘nice-ism’ as opposed to ‘I’m better then you-ism’ .” That would be great indeed. But this lesson needs to be learned especially by the large number of people who are reflexively hostile to the celebration and cultivation of high achievement in every sphere- except athletics. Ask the brightest kids in your school how they’re treated by the jocks and other popular kids. By the way, I’m not surprised to hear that you were a coach- it shows.

  36. Mad Scientist says:

    Good point. If Mr. Cooper was truly a proponent of “nice-ism”, then why is it tolerated for the jocks and underachievers to bully and taunt kids for being smart? Consequences are of the “Be nice! If you continue to not be nice, I will have to order you again to be nice!” variety.

    Face it, the Faculty, parents, and students at most schools cheer on the Football, Baseball, Basketball teams, but seldom, if ever, is academic excellence PUBLICLY acknowleged. Why is it that when budget cuts happen, athletics is the absolutely LAST thing to get cut? Why do parents of the “tall poppies” have to fight to get special academic programs?

  37. Steve, I’ll take that as a compliment … the coach thing …I as a coach and teacher and father of two athletic and academically gifted students (to include a Phi Betta Kappa) can well attest to the difference in attitudes towards athletes as compared to academic gifted students. I’m not understanding where you’re getting the impression that I condone the lack of respect given to the academicaly gifted students. I am only saying that it serves no purpose to allow anyone (athletes or gifted students) to rub it in the faces of others. As a teacher, I would never tolerate a student of any variety mistreating any one!!!

    And Mr. Mad, how does it follow that if I’m a proponent of ‘nice-ism’ that I condone bullying or taunting by anyone. That connection is a non sequitur. And for your information, when a local school budget in NY State gets voted down, the state mandates a ‘contingency’ budget, with sports being one of the first things excluded.

    You two guys need to take a ‘nice-ism’ course. Sorry, I taught Mathematics!!!

  38. I suspect our local high school has “solved” the problem of letter jackets making the unathletic feel bad – judging by some of the kids I’ve seen walking around in them, they must be issued to everyone.

  39. Markm .. I think that a few here have slightly overstated this ‘Varsity ‘letter thing. Maybe too much of the ‘Fonz’ and those ‘Revenge of the Nerd’ type movies. Could be it’s a problem where they live … I know that some of those schools where the whole town shows up for the local high school football game, this is a big problem, but in most places I don’t believe it’s as extreme. As I’ve stated before, I coached and taught for 35 years in NY on Long Island (a fairly good area for both high school sports and academics) and this ‘mistreatment’ of gifted students by jocks is pretty much non existent. And, I’ve had quite often very bright students on my teams (valedictorians, salutatorians, honor students etc.). I would dare say that each year at the sports banquet in our school that more than 20 of the top 25 students in the school were there!! And yes we also have an academic awards night at our school.

    Some of these people here have apparently gotten their boxers all in a bunch over this. Straighten them out for heaven’s sake and be nice.

  40. Mad Scientist says:

    Mr. Cooper, you are far too sensitive, and just “don’t get it”. Reread the comment, and you will find the comment was not directed at you, just the overwhelming mind-set of the jock culture so prevalent in the country.

    Oh, and I know the NYS system well, having been educated in it back in the 1970s. Only 60 miles north of NYC. IBM was the biggest employer, and there were scads of parents who cared a great deal about academics. Well, in my senior year the budget was voted down, and athletics, along will all after school activities, were cut.

    But the parents of the jocks decided to form an “Activities Committee” to raise money ostensibly for all after school activities. The only clubs that were worthy of funding were, not surprisingly, the athletics.

    As a member ot the school newspaper, we decided to hold a raffle of a gingerbread house as a fundraiser. The “Activities Committee” told us, that we were OBLIGATED to turn the money over to them, and we would get our cut. Needless to say, we told them where to go. And here we were talking less than $50.

    The whole complaint of the ones who originally tagged the Options Program kids as “gifties” strikes me as the complaint of the bully who when surprised that someone actually fought back, went running to the administration screaming “He hit me back first!”.

    And your comment about “Revenge of the Nerds” shows just how much of a proponent of “nice-ism” you really are. How dare you judge us until you’ve walked a mile in our shoes, mister. The world is not like that New Yorker cartoon where NYC is the center of the universe. There are far more small schools with this problem than you care to admit.

    During my recent review, my boss, the plant manager, told me that sometimes I piss some people off, but since I get results, it was perfectly fine with him. I have been in industry for almost 20 years, and I have yet to see a job description where the word “nice” appear. That does not mean I do not treat people with respect, but when a deadline is missed because someone did not follow through, I let them know it in no uncertain terms.

    It’s about time you learned how the world works. People (at least non-unionized ones) tend to get paid for results.

  41. Dear Mr. Mad

    “And your comment about “Revenge of the Nerds” shows just how much of a proponent of “nice-ism” you really are. How dare you judge us until you’ve walked a mile in our shoes, mister.” This is about as smug as it gets. I noticed the ‘us’ reference, thus I’m to suppose you are a self identified ‘giftee’. And it’s wonderful that you piss off a few people. I’ve done more than my share my self. The nice-ism refers to more about how we treat each other while at the same time I agree that a rude awakening is in order many times. I demanded excellence from my students as well as my team members and was probably not very nice at times. But, I don’t think 8th graders should be flaunting anything (athletics or academics). Recognition of ‘real’ accomplishments is necessary and promotes good will when done properly and tastefuly. The ‘smack in your face’ route in 8th grade is uncalled for and only further the divide.

    Let us not confuse being tough on kids and making sure that they get the ‘wake up’ call with being ‘I’m better than you are-ism’. And this applies to athletics as well as academics!! And your snide remark about how the world works and unionism is a good example of your smugness. I guess this is the quality your boss seems to like in you. I find it very unflattering!!

  42. Mad Scientist says:

    Mr. Cooper,

    Well, Boo-freaking-hoo! Damn right I was in the Honors program (that’s what it was called then, before the PC crowd decided that “Honors” was too elitist), and the utter CRAP I had to put up with from the jocks, heads, and just plain vanilla idiots was continual and unmerciless. But we had to “suck it up” because of the “Athletics Uber Alles” attitude of the faculty, staff, and parents.

    So the tards label a group they should try to emulate as “gifties”; a “smack in the face” that goes unnoticed. Not word ONE from the freaking administration. So the gifties decide to fight back. All of a sudden it’s “Let’s all sit around the campfire, hold hands, and sing Kumbayah. Why just we can’t all get along?” By missing THAT point, you show where your true allegiences lie.

    What is the purpose of the school system anyway? To foster excellence in ACADEMICS. Not to foster excellence in athletics. Not to build the self-esteem of a bunch of spoiled brats. Certainly NOT to wharehouse cretins who, because of their jealousy, denigrate the accomplishments of those that can make something of themselves.

    If you toe the oft-misused line that “Our children are our future”, then why are we NOT more demanding of the performance of Teachers and Students? Easy: it’s the path of least resistance. Teacher tries to discipline mommy’s little angel, mommy complains to principal about teacher picking on angel, teacher needs to look for other employment. To minimize the bitching from parents, teachers are ENCOURAGED to behave like candy-asses and allow bad behavior.

    When was the last time we heard of a jock being suspended because of ill treatment of a giftie? Just look at the U. Colorado fiasco; the coach got suspended ONLY because he said some derogatory things about a purported rape victim. Not because he was running a program that was out of control.

    Throughout life one finds many times there are situations where one is told “you are not good enough”. Better to learn how to deal with it at a young age then never. Here’s where the gifties seem to prevail. They are told they are not cool enough, so they “suck it up” and deal. They become the leaders because they have learned early that hard lessons have VALUE.

    My remark about unions was not snide, it is pure truth. I will not work in a union shop, because I firmly believe ability trumps seniority. There are manufacturers out here in Western NY that are closing due to the actions of unions. They can’t deliver a product on schedule because of the “hey, that part is NOT my job”. Then they get pissed off because the plant is closing as a direct result of their actions. Anyone in my plant who claims “that is not my job” is told to get out.

    I get things done. The results speak for themselves. Of course, I see that you completely ignored the statement “That does not mean I do not treat people with respect, but when a deadline is missed because someone did not follow through, I let them know it in no uncertain terms.”

  43. Wow Mr. Mad … you are some angry individual … you seem to have enough issues to warrant of flock of therapists. Some jock must have really got in your face way back when and it appears to have gotten to you. And given all of the niceties you’ve bestowed upon the athletes, heads and whoever else was raining on your parade you’re one pissed off fella. Given your tone I’d have to believe that it was a little more than you being a giftie. Are you sure it wasn’t your smugness or something else unrelated to you being in the ‘Honors’ program?

    I’ll try to repeat this once again, but given your aloofness it probably won’t sink in … I do not condone “ANYONE” belittling “ANYONE”. Your hatred of unions has really little to do with this, and if it will make you feel better, I’m not a big fan of unions myself. As a teacher in NYS I of course belonged to a union but how that applies here is unclear. I know of no teacher or administrator who would tolerate this ‘putting down’ of one group by another … perhaps you do and they are to be shamed for permitting such behavior.

    This piece of self-serving trash…”Throughout life one finds many times there are situations where one is told “you are not good enough”. Better to learn how to deal with it at a young age then never. Here’s where the gifties seem to prevail. They are told they are not cool enough, so they “suck it up” and deal. They become the leaders because they have learned early that hard lessons have VALUE.” … has really got to go. The same can be said of kids on sports teams and in all walks of life. You don’t have the corner on the market here as much as you’d like it to be so. And “Not to build the self-esteem of a bunch of spoiled brats.” … does this refer to spoiled athletic brats only or spoiled ‘giftees’ as well?

    I just glad to see that you are the Mr. Get It Done of Western NY (where I’m from originally). You sound like a real fun guy. Not for nothing, but you seem to have issues dealing with this problem in the past and you don’t appear to gotten over them. Time to move on … you haven’t been in a school in quite awhile and this picture you paint of jocks, heads and giftees is just not accurate. Too much of your rant is simply uninformed and not based on fact.

    Teacher’s are not encouraged to act like candy-asses and do not allow bad behavior. Because you know of a case or two does not qualify you to paint the entire profession with the same brush. If you’re as ‘gifted’ as you claim to be then you should know better. I’m sorry that you suffered in a poor educational environment, but let’s not condemn the entire system on your behalf. Had you gone to my school, where lucky you could have been a student of mine, you’d have been a much happier camper. It wasn’t perfect, but there were no obvious class wars as you’ve described that took place in your school.

    Apparently, my comments regarding demanding excellence from every one, and not permitting people to put others down were missed by you. I said previously…..”Let us not confuse being tough on kids and making sure that they get the ‘wake up’ call with being ‘I’m better than you are-ism’. And this applies to athletics as well as academics!!” This is my philosophy … in my teaching, academics ALWAYS came first … sports, music, bands clubs etc. came afterwards. Treat everyone fairly and demand only the best effort .. in class, on the field, in the play or wherever. If you can find a problem with that then I know that any further response to you is futile.

  44. “Bottom line … keep the obnoxious tees home!!! They have no place other than to promote division and snobbery. ”

    The shirts do not promote “division” – the “division” was pre-existing, and not caused by the actions of the giftees.

    And the shirts are insulting? To whom? The shirts proclaim that the word attributed to their wearers is not, in fact, an insult. The insult, offered by the “regular” kids, is being neutralized by being claimed as a point of pride; denying that a term directed at you is in fact insulting does not constitute an insult against anyone. If they can’t respond with insult, and they can’t even deny the validity of the insult, what exactly are they supposed to do? Agree with the insult and accept their place as decreed by the regular students?

    What the school system is saying is that if the “regular” kids use “giftee” as an insult and determine that being a giftee is something to be ashamed of, the targets of that insult are required to accept the judgement that being a giftee is something to be ashamed of and that the word “giftee” is indeed an insult. Do you really think that hostile fellow students should be given the power to unilaterally decide that your greatest achievements are a source of shame and that terms describing you and others like you are terms of insult?

  45. Alright Ken …. further divides the division that already exists … better … what the school system is saying is enough is enough. That it got where it did is troublesome. Where you’d have it go is bothersome. You’re starting to sound like an ACLU lawyer …. which is just what we need … pass the barf bag …

    And, where would it stop … then the ‘jocks’ come up with another insult … ad infinitum !!! When you know something is wrong, regardless of what transpired before, you stop it. Seems to me that you and Mr. Mad would simply perpetuate the situation for the greater self-need to ‘get back’ at THEM. You and he need to grow up. I am in no way condoning or supporting the ‘jocks’ here; just trying to avoid an infantile solution to a children’s problem … sounds like it ought to fit, but it doesn’t. Infantile solutions produce infantile results.

  46. Mad Scientist says:

    Mr. Cooper,

    Let’s review the facts of the situation:

    Fact: A group of students who do not value academic achievement label a group of high achievers with the tag “gifties”, such term meant as a slur.

    Fact: Administrators and faculty allow this behavior without a warning to the offending students.

    Fact: The victims of this verbal abuse decide to protest against their opressors, not with physical violence, but by embracing the slur as a badge of honor. Part of the manifestation is to wear t-shirts with the slur proudly displayed.

    Fact: Administrators and faculty censure the victims for their non-violent protest because it is disruptive.

    Is this correct? Yeah, I thought so. It strikes me as a clear case of “blaming the victim”. It is unacceptable in a rape case, and it is unacceptable here. What part of this do you have trouble getting through your thick skull?

    I guess during all those years while teaching Math you forgot to take a basic course in logic and reasoning.

    It is a good thing you are no longer teaching. You serve neither the students nor the community well with that attitude.


    As for self serving trash, we have a saying at work for anyone who complains about their station in life: Damn, it must suck to be you!

    No one wants to hear complaining about how life has not been fair to them. The earlier one learns that no one outside your immediate family really gives a rat’s ass about how your life sucks is the hard truth of life. Deal with that.

    My wife is a teacher and is very tough on students, and sometimes she is not popular. Once they finish their first semester in college, they come back and THANK her for being tough. So I DO know what I’m talking about when it comes to life in the schoolhouse.

    Public schools in my town are a prime example of the path of least resistance. For Halloween 2002, there was a near riot where a couple of town police cars were damaged, and an officer was assaulted. There was a flyer passed around by students with such nicities as “Wear steel-toed boots, because it’s like carrying a weapon without actually carrying a weapon.” One of the instigators (the kid who clobbered the cop) was hauled into court and treated with kid gloves. He was later allowed to speak at graduation.

    I am glad I did not have the “honor” of being one of your students. I have never suffered fools gladly, and you, sir, are a fool.

  47. Dr. Mad … it seems that in your ‘Honors’ program you must have skipped a few courses here and there. Logic is the major one you seem to have bypassed. So let’s see, I’m a fool because I demanded excellence from my students and my athletes. I put academics before other activities, and did not allow anyone to put down anyone else. How am I doing so far? Pretty foolish huh? And what is it about that, that you find so offensive? I taught many an ‘Honor’ class and must say that I can’t recall coming across anyone quite as indignant as you. I’m starting to see why you were made fun of. My own children were both in ‘Honors’ programs and were not teased. They were as a matter of fact, very popular, well mannered, excellent students, excellent athletes and treated everyone with respect. I don’t know where you get off with your attitude but it ‘sucks’ big time.

    Your story about the Halloween incident is wonderful … I suppose you think I’d be letting that scum speak at graduation. You are so far off base I wonder why you waste the pixels. I have just as little use for wise-ass punk kids as anyone else.

    And, you said it best yourself …. in as much as you’ve complained about your school house blues, it must suck being you. I’m as happy as a lark. You seem to have a few issues left over from your childhood that need serious attention.

    BTW, your closing insult merely shows your need to name call…a rather infantile response wouldn’t you say? You may have been an ‘Honor’ student, but it appears that you’ve missed a few life courses. Too bad … I always enjoyed the challege of a smart-ass when I was teaching. Boy, I sure do miss that … thanks for giving me the opportunity to go back.

  48. And one more thing. “Mad”… this piece of crap from you….

    ….Is this correct? Yeah, I thought so. It strikes me as a clear case of “blaming the victim”. It is unacceptable in a rape case, and it is unacceptable here. What part of this do you have trouble getting through your thick skull?
    I guess during all those years while teaching Math you forgot to take a basic course in logic and reasoning.
    It is a good thing you are no longer teaching. You serve neither the students nor the community well with that attitude……
    You ascribe an attitude to me that I don’t have … “blaming the victim” … I never blamed the ‘giftees’ … I agreed with the stopping of the situation where it was so as not to acerbate an already tense situation…. then tell me I’m not serving the community or my students well with that attitude… the one I don’t have but that you ascribed to me. The part I have trouble getting through my thick skull is where you see in any of what I said that I was blaming the victims. What part of … I do not blame the victims can you not get through your ‘less than’ thick skull? (assuming that ‘Honor’ students don’t have thick skulls.)

  49. “Alright Ken …. further divides the division that already exists … better … what the school system is saying is enough is enough. That it got where it did is troublesome. Where you’d have it go is bothersome. You’re starting to sound like an ACLU lawyer …. which is just what we need … pass the barf bag … ”

    No, I’m starting to sound like someone who is at a loss to figure out just how anyone could come to the conclusion that the giftees did anything wrong.

    They didn’t insult anyone. The shirts are not insulting. On what planet could the implied message “‘giftee’ is not an insult” be construed as troublesome, inflammatory, or insulting to anyone?

    “And, where would it stop … then the ‘jocks’ come up with another insult … ad infinitum !!!”

    Well, yes, the ‘jocks’ will keep doing that until Hell freezes without the slightest provocation. Have you ever even been to school?

    The only thing that would get them to stop is if (a) the giftees publicly kicked their asses, (b) all their attempts at humiliating the giftees backfired (as in, they served to make the insulters rather than the insultees look like asses, and the t-shirts might have been somewhat helpful here), or (c) the giftees finally reach the end of their sentences and go on to bigger and better lives far away from their “normal” classmates.

    Shutting up and taking it is not going to make this nonsense stop. Publicly denying the contention that being a member of the gifted program is a source of shame is not going to “provoke” the normal students into further rude behavior, because the normal students merrily continue their rude behavior whether or not any provocation exists. It’s not going to “exacerbate” an “already tense situation” (made so by the action of the people not wearing the shirts), because the “normal” students will “exacerbate” the situation all by themselves for as long as they can get away with it.

  50. Ken….Well, yes, the ‘jocks’ will keep doing that until Hell freezes without the slightest provocation. Have you ever even been to school?… yes Ken, for the last 55 years as either a student or teacher… I don’t know where in the bowels of this country you live, but here on Long Island the division you describe just does not exist. I’ve taught and coached ‘giftees’. I also officiate high school swimming. I’ve seen kids all over NYS in the Empire State Games. What you are describing is very unfortunate. In my experience, I’ve seen many many gifted students in athletics, in my own school, on my own teams and in other schools. This ‘jocks’, ‘heads, and ‘nerds’ thing is a little overblown. Believe it or not, in my school smart kids were allowed to play sports. Kids in sports played in the band, sang in the chorus and were in plays. You and the Mad Man seem to enjoy pigeon holeing these kids into mutually exclusive groups and such is just not the case here.

    You also seem to imply that ‘normal’ student are routinely rude. I’m afraid that for the most part the kids in high school are ‘good’ kids. It is the few jerkoffs who ruin it for others and they need to be dealt with properly and NOT get away with anything. Teachers and administrators in my school do not condone abusive behavior nor should anyone. It is not normal behavior for any student to berate another and where you get that notion from is beyond me. I dare say I’ve seen more interactions between high school kids that you have. Your knowledge base it would appear is somewhat narrow. You’re blowing smoke here…keep the tees home … deal properly with the rude ‘jocks’ or whoever and don’t make a bad situation worse.

    And I’ll say this once more for emphasis … in many many schools, the valedictorians and the salutatorians were also on an athletic teams. They’re one and the same!!! When I taught an ‘Honor’ class I would encourage them to try out for a team I was coaching. When I was coaching a team I would check with their teachers to make sure they were doing their classwork. I don’t know what more you guys want from me.

    In my school one of the physical education teachers was also the advisor for the chess club. (a ‘giftee’ group from your perspective) and I was the Math Club advisor (attended by brighter students if you get my drift) … rather than promote separatism, our school promoted inclusion. Nobody need to wear t-shirts in retaliation, because there was nothing to retaliate for!!

  51. Mad Scientist says:

    Mr. Cooper:

    You are an idiot of the largest magnitude. Just because something does not happen where you live (or decide to turn a blind eye to it) does not mean it does not happen anywhere else.

    You are a fool because you defend the indefensible. Nowhere do you state or imply that it was wrong for the administration to allow the verbal abuse, but you claim it is wrong for the gifties to show compassion to their duller compatriots.

    You silence on THAT issue alone makes you part of the conspiracy of blaming the victims of the abuse.

    So you don’t want to acerbate the situation? I guess the administration wanted to prevent having to suspend the tards for an actual act of violence. Silly me.

    Yes, it is far better that you are no longer part of the system that perpetuates that sort of behavior.

  52. Here’s one quote from me… ” It is the few jerkoffs who ruin it for others and they need to be dealt with properly and NOT get away with anything. Teachers and administrators in my school do not condone abusive behavior nor should anyone.” …. that should take care of the insinuation that I support that sort of behavior.

    I never defended any administration for allowing verbal abuse (and I highly doubt they supported it, although turning a deaf ear could fill the bill) and no blind eye here was turned. And this quote from me … ” I don’t know where in the bowels of this country you live, but here on Long Island the division you describe just does not exist.” ….implies that I realize that this ‘situation’ is not global.

    If indeed the administration condoned, allowed, turned a deaf ear or any of the above, they’re incompetent. Their incompetence would have been further enhanced had they did nothing. You can agrue until you’re blue in the face(I’d bet red with rage right now) about letting them wear the tees, but that would have been just adding fuel to the fire. I’m not aware of where exactly this took place but I’d bet that most of the administrators and teachers in the school do not condone nor permit the pitting of students one against the other. And I’ll bet that they’d put a halt to any ‘jock’ making fun of any one else. And it my surprise you to know that if I could I’d slap the little jocks face silly.

    Again, I’ve been told that when one has nothing intelligent to say, they name call … you appear then to have nothing intelligent to say. I still have to believe that you have some sort of unresolved issue and would get myself to a therapist quickly!! Your contempt for non-giftees seems to a little out of whack! Get help!!

    You should only know the names I’m holding back, but I have a few more intelligent things to say (unlike you, who has apparently used it all up in school)

  53. “rather than promote separatism, our school promoted inclusion.”

    If everybody gets along at your school, then the issue won’t even come up. Obviously, there are schools where this is not the case.

    “Nobody need to wear t-shirts in retaliation, because there was nothing to retaliate for!!”

    How is the t-shirt “retaliation”? What insult does it offer to anyone? Who exactly is supposed to be offended, and on what grounds?

    “You can agrue until you’re blue in the face(I’d bet red with rage right now) about letting them wear the tees, but that would have been just adding fuel to the fire.”

    That fire had plenty of fuel, and the t-shirts aren’t even fuel. You can’t “add fuel to the fire” without even offering an insult, for Pete’s sake! Where’s the beef?

  54. Ken…
    How is the t-shirt “retaliation”? What insult does it offer to anyone? Who exactly is supposed to be offended, and on what grounds? … if it isn’t retaliation call it what you like, but … I’m guessing that it says yeah, ‘we’re giftees’ and you’re not, so up your’s. Why don’t you tell me what it would mean to you if you were going to wear it to school tomorrow. I’d be surprised if it didn’t lead to more animosity and pretty soon you’d be wearing some other t-shirt. Maybe I’ll move to that town and open up a t-shirt printing business. Let’s see ….. NERDS & JOCKS half off on insult tees this week. Parent’s credit cards accepted!!!

    You know what? … wear you little tee shirt if it makes you feel fully revenged …. I think it’ll only further any hope of resolving the situation to anyones benefit, but that’s only my opinion. I guess it’ll make the ‘giftees’ feel better for the time being. You and the Mad Man need to get something else to hang your hats on … this tee shirt deal is pathetic and most ‘normal’ people (not the one’s Mad Man speaks of) would not see the wearing of the tees as prudent.

  55. Came across this quote … seems to apply here…

    I think it in our interest to punish the first insult; because an insult unpunished is the parent of many others.

    Thomas Jefferson to John Jay 1785

    I’ll even go so far as to say that the first insult was probably made by the ‘jock’, although not necessarily. Be that as it may, … how do we stop the viscous cycle? One more insult?? One more let’s get even? Just one last comment? Where does it stop, and who stops it? It seems to me that Ken and Mad are intent on ‘getting back’ just once more. Call me crazy (or ask Mad … he’s got plenty of platitudes for me) but I think they’re only continuing the cycle.

  56. Mad Scientist says:

    How do you stop the cycle? Easy. Do not allow it to begin in the first place.

    However, turning an insult into a badge of honor is not an insult to the original insulters. If the offenders don’t like it because they have had a weapon taken away, then too bad.

    The whole issue was spawned by people who were jealous of (or threatened by) the ability of those they called gifties. Work on THAT issue first.

    So I am to assume that we are the villians for pointing out the flaws in your so-called logic. Seems fair enough. Just shows how blind you are to an alternative view.

  57. Mad….The ‘flaw’ lies here in your statement… “The whole issue was spawned by people who were jealous of (or threatened by) the ability of those they called gifties. Work on THAT issue first.” …. that’s an assumption that they were indeed jealous or that it is a badge of honor rather than just another attempt to continue the belittling. Given some of your obvious hate tags you’ve described ‘them’ with .. duller compatriots, students who do not value academic achievement, underachievers, tards, vanilla idiots (new one to me), and the jock culture (not exactly a team of endearment). Then you called me a ‘fool’, an idiot of the largest magnitude and suggested that as a teacher for 35 years that I was doing a diservice to my students and the community (for a philosophy assigned to me by you that I do not possess). I am not blind to an alternate view. I’ve looked at it and have revealed it for what it really is; nothing more than a retaliatory ploy that would do nothing other than satisfy an ego such as your’s … one that is seeking your own little … “Revenge of the Nerds”.

    We don’t need kids in junior high school wearing ‘giftee’ t-shirts to satisfy your desire to right some childhood unjustice you’ve suffered. Get over it, get help!!!

    By the way, your contemptuous description of some students as ‘duller compatriots’ is particularily offensive. I think that parents with hard working children who have absolutely no interest in making fun of anyone and struggle to perform their best in school would find you extremely insensitive, uncaring and egotistical. You doth suffer from vainglory.

    All in all, you don’t sound like a very nice person. My guess is passive agressive.

  58. Gifted Parent says:

    Interesting discussion. A few personal observations from a TAG parent. That’s Talented AND Gifted. Makes my kid twice as good as your just “giftee” child.

    Athletics letters, last I observed, represent the first letter(s) of the High School’s name and don’t spell “jocks.” That would be the only comparison you draw on this analogy.

    Gifted programs are minimally pull out programs and usually self contained, segregated programs. That gives the students of the program daily recognition by their peers that these students have indeed achieved something.

    Competition to get into these programs is fierce. Thousands apply and test for them, a few hundred qualify. And since I am discussing a major school system, qualify means not just academically, but racially as well. I have personally seen parents research their genealogy to find a minority ancestor somewhere in their past. And that’s where the trouble begins.

    There are parents of gifted children and then there are gifted parents. I’ve even heard them referred to as “Optional Parents” by some teachers in the TAG program. Their child’s status is the driving force in their life. Notice I said status, not well-being, not their achievement.

    So here is my observation of what I think is going on here. I am not an educator, just a parent who values education. 5 kids, three are in or graduated from TAG programs, 2 just plain old regular learners, but top of their respective classes. And this is simple:

    Gifted is an achievement, “giftee” is an attitude. Here is an administration that actually had the courage to slap their little wrists and say something the “Optional Parent” rarely does. They said “NO.” Kudos to them!

  59. Dear ‘Gifted Parent’ … our school (where my children attended) had a similar program called GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) .. sounds similar … I agree with your take on this and will warn you that the ole Mad Scientist will be after you when he gets home from antagonizing his coworkers today. He is after all the GET IT DONE guy at work!! Good luck and thanks for some support.

  60. Mad tells it like it is. I cheered that someone else had the guts to speak out, not as a victim but as someone who understands. Oh, and if he really treats his staff like he says, I’d gladly work for him. I adore being treated like an adult who is responsible for herself and her actions.

  61. Gifted Parent, if you’d looked at the article, you’d have seen that the ‘gifftees were called that by the regular kids. It was used as an insult. They didn’t decide to start calling themselves that to let everyone know that the were better. They had no wrists that needed slapping. They weren’t offending anyone.

    Until they turned the regular kids insult int a slap in their faces. THEN it became wrong to use these type of labels. THEN it became something the schools needed to take some action on.

    Understand now?

    Cooper, I’ve been reading your comments and you seem to be missing this completely. You grudgingly admit that MAYBE the other kids started it–and then you put forth the notion that the giftees should not exacerbate the situation. But all they did was remove the weapon from the hands of the bullies.

    And then I saw the word ‘coach’, and it all made sense.

    Listen, Coach, sometimes the jocks, and the regular kids, can be real hard on the brains–and it happens on Long Island just like it happens anywhere else. What school are you at, coach? Are you one of the Long Island coaches whose kids like to engage in broomstick rape?

    Harsh, sure, but any teacher who can ignore the fact that there are hierarchies among students–and the anti-nerd faction that is big among them obviously has the kind of blind eye that desperately needs opening.

  62. Gifted Parent says:

    Jack, if you looked at the article you would see that both terms of giftees and retards were unacceptable BEFORE the t-shirt issue. Do you understand? And unless you have dealt with “Gifted Parents”, you can’t understand.

    Read Joanne’s February 22nd article “Frenzy” and you’ll see exactly the type of people who would sue over a t-shirt. This isn’t at all about the kids.

  63. Mad Scientist says:

    Mr. Cooper:

    Unlike a person guaranteed a job due to his union status, I must produce for my employer to justify my continued employment. Seems you have a problem with a merit based system. But then again, it must take someone very special to teach the same stuff for 35 years without variety. I mean, once you have the lesson plan down, why not just phone it in?

    This was posted near the top of the blog today. Somehow it is singularly appropos of how you tend to approach this issue.

    “Professor Brian Leiter, who fancies himself an arbiter of all things academically respectable, disagrees with my assertion that conservatives are treated with condescension and hostility in the modern university. His way of proving me wrong is to call me “embittered” and a “crackpot,” a “lunatic” whose “ranting” and “paranoid” “lies” are not only “embarrassing,” but raise “a serious psychological question” about my mental stability. Then, calling in the heavy intellectual artillery, he links approvingly to another blog which characterizes my article as “bullshit” and “total crap,” and me personally as “nuts,” a “Neanderthal,” “stupid,” “dim-witted,” “a twit,” “a moron,” a product of “the breeding ground of chaos and hate in this country [which] lies nested in the pathological conservativism of murderous anti-abortionist goons, right-wing militias, and wanna-be theocrats,” and — the coup de grace — “Ann Coulter’s long lost fraternal twin.”

    All you need do is to replace your name for the good professor’s, and the paragraph seems to fit you to a tee.

    I admire you for being very consistent. Wrong, mind you, but consistent. As the Brits would say: “Seldom correct, never in doubt.”

  64. Mad Scientist says:

    Thank you speedwell. There are people at my plant that are begging me to create openings on my staff so they can work with me.

    Funny thing, people want to work with a winner.

  65. “if it isn’t retaliation call it what you like, but … I’m guessing that it says yeah, ‘we’re giftees’ and you’re not, so up your’s.”

    Well, you’re guessing wrong. It’s saying “Yeah, we’re giftees, and we’re damned proud of it, and if you think you’re hurting our feelings by calling us giftees, you’re wasting your time”

    “Why don’t you tell me what it would mean to you if you were going to wear it to school tomorrow.”

    Pretty much what I just said.

    “I’ll even go so far as to say that the first insult was probably made by the ‘jock’, although not necessarily. Be that as it may, … how do we stop the viscous cycle? ”

    There ain’t no cycle. Those people will continue their harassment as long as they can get away with it, with or without provocation.

    “I think that parents with hard working children who have absolutely no interest in making fun of anyone and struggle to perform their best in school would find you extremely insensitive, uncaring and egotistical.”

    Those hard working children who have absolutely no interest in making fun of anyone are not going to be offended by the shirts.

    “Gifted is an achievement, “giftee” is an attitude.”

    Yes, it’s an attitude that their achievement is something to be proud of, rather than a source of shame.

    “Here is an administration that actually had the courage to slap their little wrists and say something the “Optional Parent” rarely does. They said “NO.” Kudos to them!”

    Slapping their little wrists and saying “NO” would make sense if they had actually done something wrong. Showing their pride in their achievement doesn’t qualify, even if it violates the decree of their “peers” that they ought to be ashamed of it instead.

  66. Well much ado here … Jack … your comment regarding the ‘broomstick’ wasn’t harsh, it was crass … probably a reflection of the author. And the ‘giftees’ may have removed the weapon, but assuredly it would be replaced by another and another to no end. I did not ignor the hierarchy among students, only tried to soften the differences among them and foster respect … if that’s ok with you!!

    Ken … I said …”if it isn’t retaliation call it what you like, but … I’m guessing that it says yeah, ‘we’re giftees’ and you’re not, so up your’s.”
    ……. then you said… Well, you’re guessing wrong. It’s saying “Yeah, we’re giftees, and we’re damned proud of it, and if you think you’re hurting our feelings by calling us giftees, you’re wasting your time” ….I’m not quite seeing the difference here … it’s almost exactly what I said … instead of ‘up yours’, you say ‘you’re wasting your time’ GREAT … so we agree .. excellent. I said it was a vicous cycle but you instead said … “Those people will continue their harassment as long as they can get away with it, with or without provocation.” … again we agree … this is fantastic … And Ken this comment from me and your response …”I think that parents with hard working children who have absolutely no interest in making fun of anyone and struggle to perform their best in school would find you extremely insensitive, uncaring and egotistical.”

    Those hard working children who have absolutely no interest in making fun of anyone are not going to be offended by the shirts. ….. My comment was directed at Mad who refered to them as their ‘duller compatriots’ … and that they would be offended by him, not the tee shirts. READ.

    Now Mad … you are by far the most egotistical, arrogant, pompous, self -aggrandizing wind bag I’ve come across in awhile. Are you arguing a point here or politicking for a better position in your company. It would seem that instead of a salary adjustment, you need an attitude adjustment. And, your complaint about my job being such a piece of cake, and your’s being sooooo hard … as you yourself said …’it must suck’! I know, I know, you love it. Pass the barf bag. You’d last about a second in a high school classroom before the kids would see right through your smug attitude and eat you alive. People like you don’t last very long in teaching. Pompous asses we don’t need. As it were Mad(or should I call you ‘winner’ … because you are certainly that … a real winner), not agreeing with you does not fortunately make one wrong. But, with an ego as big as yours, I can understand how you feel. I guess as a brainiac in school you got used to never being wrong. Well .. now you are … it’s not all that bad .. actually happened to me once. Just kidding of course… twice.

    I’ll try this again for you ‘giftees’ … If the students were allowed to wear the tees .. (for whatever reason you want to insert) … it would have only provoked further animosity … and then more..more…more. Where does it end? When someone gets hurt? Let’s say they wear the ‘giftee’ T … some ‘jock’ comes up to the kid and smacks him. Ken and Mad are there with their lawyers in a flash…this situation no matter who was at fault up to any particular point needed to be stopped. The administration no matter how inept they were before in addressing this problem, did the right thing. I’ll say this however, the more you two intellects pontificate your viewpoint, the less support you get.

  67. In looking back at the rhetoric thrown about here, there was nothing in the original post regarding ‘jocks’ or athletes wearing letters. Cousin Dave threw that in. I’d even wonder if they have a sports program at the junior high level in Chicago, although they may. But, not the issue here.

    The students had respectivily labeled each other as ‘giftees’ and ‘retards’. I would assume that the initial name calling incidents did not in all liklyhood take place within earshot of teachers or administrators. I’m sure neither side’s name calling was condoned. I don’t know who started it, but I don’t believe that the exchange between the two groups took too long to develop before anyone could successfully intervene.

    I’m sure kids complained to their parents and soon teachers and administrators became aware of the situation. You can argue that they should have known sooner, but kids are very good at concealing this kind of stuff (for awhile anyway). As soon as it was evident that the t-shirt deal was going down the administration acted to put a stop to a situation that was getting worse, not better. To have done otherwise would have been irresponsible.

    You can go back and forth with insults and t-shirting and all that malarkey, but it seems that the score is never even. Sometimes you just have to stop it where it is … forget the score … and stop it!!! Not too unlike the Israeli – Palestinian situation … is the score ever even … does it ever end??

  68. Mad Scientist says:

    Now Coop:

    Glad to have made your day. So tell me, how does it feel to see one’s reflection in the mirror?

    Who was complaining? I simply believe that a union system that strives for mediocrity usually falls far short of getting it. But then again, if that’s what you needed to survive I am sure the taxpayers were glad to help. That is why it must suck to be you. (Damn, if you are going to quote, at least get it right.)

    I never said my job was hard; quite the contrary. My job is easy because I know what I am doing, I do it well, on schedule and under budget. I have always marveled as to why some people think I complain about my job when I equate getting results as being a winner. You must believe that being held responsible for the outcome of your labor is an onerous burden. So sad for you.

    I am, in your world, “arrogant” (some would call it self-confident) precisely because I have something to be arrogant ABOUT. It seems you have NEVER faces someone who is proud of his accomplishments because he has SOMETHING to be proud of. So I would assume that anyone who has major accomplishments is a “Pompous Ass”.

    No, not agreeing with me does not make you automatically wrong. You slavish devotion to illogic and ingoring the facts of what had happened is what makes you wrong. You have misanalyzed the situation, and applied the filter of your little, protected universe to the world as a whole. You refuse to admit the original labeling was wrong. You refuse to hold the administration culpable for allowing that behavior in the first place. THAT’S what makes you wrong.

    And as for the physical violence you are so afraid of, last I checked Assault and Battery were CRIMES in NYS. But then again, you are of the opinion that “He hit me back first” is a valid justification.

  69. Mad … not sure how this got to the point of you putting down the teaching profession and patting yourself on the back for being such a wonderful person. You seem to have some particular disdain for teachers and that’s unfortunate. I’ve had much to be proud of … whenever you see a students eyes light up when they ‘see’ something or come back to you years later and thank you for setting them on the right path. Not bad for a ‘union’ job. And, no, you don’t have to be a pompous ass just because you accomplished something. Sometimes a little restraint shows a thing called ‘class’ …something you apparently lack.

    You also, have absolutely no idea of who called who first here, and given your pompous attitude it wouldn’t suprise me if one of your ‘ilk’ called some other kid a ‘retard’ first…. It’s happened!! I’ve analyized this logically, and you in all your anger for having been picked on in school, have viewed this as some deserved revenge.

    And, people who are truly self confident do not need to proclaim their accomplishments … it is those lacking self confidence who need to be braggards. Sounds as if you’ve got a big axe to grind. That sucks for you!! (hope I got that quote right Mr. Perfectionist) No one likes a smart-ass. Like I said before … sounds like passive agressive to me. You must be the Bobby Knight of your profession. A great coach … great results, but what an a–hole!!

  70. Mad Scientist says:

    Mr. Seldom Correct, Never in Doubt:

    My wife teaches in a PRIVATE high school. My sister teaches at the university level. I could also teach at the university level if I wanted to, but chose not to.

    I have disdain for those people who refuse to admit when they are wrong.

    At least in my experience, it is usually not the brains or giftees who start the cycle of verbal abuse. Typically, it is the jocks. And it’s not just verbal, it also manifests itself as physical. So I have a pretty good idea of what goes on.

    So tellm, O arbiter of taste, how does one present their bona-fides if one does not state their accomplishments? I just claimed I got results. I never claimed what order of magnitude. So exactly how is that bragging?

    For a mathemetician, you really do need a refresher in logic. I guess being a math teacher automatically qualifies you as a shrink. Bully for you!

    Nope, you got it wrong again! Keep on trying.

    And as far as the name calling and verbal abuse goes, I would suggest you check your own mouth. I have refrained from calling you some of the more vulgar names, which you seem to revel in.

  71. The verbal abuse you’ve dealt out has just set me loose I guess. Stating your accomplishments can be done in a variety of ways. If it’s really worth it’s salt others will sing your praises and you can just bask in the glory. Your disdain for people not admitting they’re wrong is fairly obvious, but have you ever looked in the mirror so to speak.

    So, I can back off the name calling and I’d wish you would also. How’s that for starters? What your sister teaches, or your wife or what you could is of little revelance. And I too could teach at the ‘local’ colleges but choose not to. Also, your disdain for ‘union’ teachers has not gone unnoticed … kind of nasty actually. The lesson plan and teaching the same thing for 35 years. You actually don’t know what I taught … a variety of different level math courses along with programming, Basic, Fortran, Pascal and VB to name a few. Obviously not for 35 years … some of those languages didn’t exist way back then. Anyway the point is that your mail in the lesson plan was less than funny. I still had to show up to teach the plan. Sucks for me huh? And, regardless of what any union strivings were (which was excellence) I hung my hat on my own pride and student outcomes.

    Now, back to the facts… it was NOT established who started it … it is not important in terms of stopping the exchange of barbs who started it … what was important was that both sides cease (not that one side get in its last licks) … it was important that it be stopped as soon as possible so as not to further worsen the situation … are you with me so far ? Now what do you do … you’re a principle … you learn that there’s some exchange of barbs between two groups of students … parents have complained … from both sides … you don’t know who started it … and you hear that the ‘giftees’ are going to wear ‘giftee T’s’ tomorrow. What do you do? A) nothing because those other kids who have called ‘tards’ (and you know this) and they’ve got it coming B) Ask them not to wear them, and speak to the faculty regarding the problem, looking for solutions If you do A, then you risk some other incident and you are also making several assumptions … I’d pick B … how about you?

  72. I know princiPAL .. I guess I was just thinking about principles when it came time to spell the other one!!! So shoot me … no ‘giftee’ here …

  73. Mad Scientist says:

    I still do not see how turning an insult into a badge of honor denigrates the people who coined the insult.

    Suppose the tards started the abuse by labeling them gifties. The gifties have two choices:

    A) Retaliate by calling the tards tards, or

    B) Embrace the name gifties and put it on a t-shirt.

    Choice A accelerates the verbal abuse. Choice B is a NONviloent response to violence.

    I would bet that Ghandi AND King (ML not Don) would approve of “B”. A GREAT lesson for Black History Month.

    Telling the gifties that option “B” is not open to them takes away THEIR right to protest a perceived wrong, and only leaves them choice “A”.

    So instead of allowing a creative protest, you would stifle all discussion of nonviolent protest and how it shaped the 20th century.

    Wow! Your solution is just so much MORE creative that it boggles the mind.

  74. Creative does not necessarily equal prudent!!! Let’s not go Rosa Parks here or go sitting -in at lunch counters!! The difference here is, you’re replacing one wrong with another … Rosa was replacing a right with a wrong. Choice B is a non-violent act whose result would be simply more of the same. What you are calling creative is in reality nothing more than elementary school yard banter … you’re it, no I’m not, yes you are, no I’m not ….yadda yadda yadda. You are also forgetting about the ‘regular’ kids who were called ‘retards’; do you want to take away their right to protest a perceived wrong? Or, did they have it comming because you think they started it. You see, we’re now in the ‘he hit me first… no I didn’t’ cycle… which needs to be stopped. It would appear that your solution B would not accomplish that, only perpetuate it.

    People like you, who have a need to ‘get even’, are the problem, and, of course, if you’re part of the problem, you’ll never be part of the solution!! So, Mr. Creative, once again you’re solution is just one more childish response … he hit me … so I’m gonna hit him.

  75. Gifted Parent says:

    Judging by the response of the Council Chair it looks like the name calling was already in place and the administration had already made the point that it would not be tolerated. This t-shirt issue came after that warning was delivered. The plea for civility had already been made and the t-shirt was in violation of that. I researched the Chicago Public School’s website and it looks like this program has been in place for several years. I doubt that this was the first violation of the name calling issue by either side, just the most blatant.

  76. Gifted Parent .. I would have certainly have thought that such a policy would have been the case and that the administration was trying its best to halt a situation that could have only gotten uglier. Some people however it seems enjoy stirring up a hornets nest.

    Go configure!!!

  77. Mad Scientist says:

    You still have failed (miserably, I may add) in explaining how one group wears a shirt with a name they have adopted as their own is calling the group that gave them that name in the first place an entirely different name. How is that “getting back”? Please explain.

    In addition, why did the administration not deem it necessary to take any action until THEY were offended that some students thought their enforcement of the rules was lacking?

    As for non-violent civil disobedience, you should review the violence that Ghandi and his compatriots endured UNTIL the British government finally realized they were wrong. If non-violent civil disobedience does not force the administration into taking action against the verbal abusers, then the administration must go.

    But, this is not an easy lesson to teach middle schoolers. After all, some of them might actually have to think.

    I also find it quite disappointing how my post did not stoop to pointing out any one of your many character flaws, but you have applied psychobabble to determine I have a need to get even.

    Are you always this dismissive of an alternative solution? I would imagine with you, authority is not to be questioned.

  78. Gifted Parent says:

    I guess only the school involved could determine what previous incidents precipitated the issuance of the the no name calling policy in the first place. I am yet to see a policy of this type that was put into place just from simple name calling. I would bet something physical caused it in the beginning. Why invite more?

  79. Let’s try something, maybe to get you to a point at which you can understand.

    The regular kids–who do, in general, tend to pick on brains, started calling the kids in question ‘giftees’. Are you with me so far?

    I’m not assuming the situation was reveresed because, having been in the situation myself, when the brains make fun of the regular kids the regular kids usually attack, okay? I think, Coach, if you check your school records you’ll find that nerds get picked on far more than they pick onother people…let’s continue..

    The brains, in retailiation, began calling the regular kids ‘tards’.

    Now, at this point, one of two things happened. One side complained or was overheard. Or, a full exchange was overheard. If a complaint was issued or the matter was overheard the kids put forth the ‘well they were calling me—‘ defense.

    Still with me?

    At that point school officials did what they seem to do in every conflict lately. Assume both sides are ‘guilty’ and issue a statement forbidding either side from doing whatever caused the ruckus. Coach, you showed yourself to be a proponent of this when you called this a ‘cycle’. Or to put it how it feels to the kids in the situation…

    A slap on the wrist for the perpetrators..
    …and a slap in the face for the victims.

    Somewhere along the lines schools got into the notion that defending oneself from attack is as bad as attacking.

    Still there?

    Now, given that result, what do you think happened? Right, the perpetrators went right back to doing what they were doing in the first place.

    The victims, seeing that adopting the strategy of the perpetrators only got them in trouble changed their tactics. They took the name that was still being poked at them and made it into a good thing.

    Are we all still together?

    This second strategy not only called into relief the fact that at least one side of this was still going on–it also pointed out the futility in the school’s ‘action’. A futility you highlight, Coach, with your admission that the regular kids will just find another stick to beat the ‘giftees’ with.

    So the ‘giftees’ got a de facto ISS while the perpetrators were vindicated once more.

    I think we’re all together now. So what can be done?

    Well, schools need to admit that sometimes kids can be bad. And sometimes bad kids can do bad things. And sometimes they do those bad things to other kids. And sometimes those other kids defend themselves. And when someone is defending themself they are NEVER, EVER at fault. That’s a good start.

    The second thing to do is, when punishment is meted out, DO NOT punish the person who was defending themself. Is that hard?

    Well much ado here … Jack … your comment regarding the ‘broomstick’ wasn’t harsh, it was crass … probably a reflection of the author. And the ‘giftees’ may have removed the weapon, but assuredly it would be replaced by another and another to no end. I did not ignor the hierarchy among students, only tried to soften the differences among them and foster respect … if that’s ok with you!!

  80. Mad Scientist says:

    Gifter Parent:

    I guess you admire administrators taking the “easy out”. Far easier to put out a blanket rule than to actually punish the little bastards that instigated the whole episode.

  81. “Choice B is a non-violent act whose result would be simply more of the same.”

    The result of doing nothing would be more of the same. Those kids will keep harassing people as long as they can get away with it. Nothing their targets do, other than publicly beating the crap out of them, or somehow publicly humiliating them, will have any effect on their behavior.

    They’re not being provoked into it. They’re not being pushed into it. They’re harassing people for fun and entertainment, and they’ll keep doing it simply because it’s fun and entertaining for them whether or not their targets respond in kind.

    There ain’t no cycle.

    “The plea for civility had already been made and the t-shirt was in violation of that. ”

    No it wasn’t. There’s nothing uncivil about wearing a t-shirt that proclaims your own pride in your own accomplishments. Even if it violates the decree of the regular students that they ought to be ashamed of it instead.

    If regular students proclaim that you ought to be ashamed of something, should you be required to accept their judgement and refrain from “provoking” them by expressing pride in it instead? Is the administration really supposed to reinforce the social pecking order that the kids impose on each other?

  82. First for Mad … I’m going to make a big assumption here being well aware of that danger …if the ‘giftees’ were not wearing the tees to make a point and get back, could you explain what the purpose was? I would think that it was some sort of response or getting back. Neither you nor I have any idea of what the administration knew or did beforehand. So your contention that they were treating the ‘giftee’ unfairly is an irresponsible statement. You also do not know what actions were taken by the administration regarding the ‘assumed’ perpetraters. And your need to ‘get even’ is so obvious that one of those ‘retards’ could figure that out. It’s hardly rocket science (your field maybe?). I think calling the ‘retards’ ‘little bastards’ about blows your cover.

    And Jack, no, I’m not with you from the get go. You’ve got an axe to grind apparently and seem to be consumed by this just like Mad.

    And ‘Gifted Parent’ your comments are of course right on and as I predicted Mad is on your case too. I wouldn’t worry .. he’s got some need to ‘get even’ .. that sucks for him!! I’m trying to refrain from name calling so I’ve had to resort to psychbabbling … it’s like name calling but subtler.

  83. Mad Scientist says:

    Mr Seldom Correct, Never in Doubt:

    Look, if you can’t expalin why wearing a shirt with a label someone stuck on you is an insult to them, then you just don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

    So either put up (by explaining it), or shut up (and prove to everyone here you are a know-nothing blowhard).

    The choice is yours.

  84. Ok Mad, we’ll educate you if you must. First understand that the ‘giftees’ have been calling the others ‘retards’ or ‘tards’ (either first or in retaliation) … the ‘tards’ have been calling them ‘giftees’. So, probably some parent (but maybe a kid) thinks … why don’t we just show them how much better we are and we’ll wear t-shirts that say ‘giftee’ and rub it right back in their faces. In other words .. yeah we are ‘gifted’ … thanks for the compliment … in your face… what do you think of that ‘tardo’. I can’t figure out why this obvious ploy is not transparent to you. But, I guess you’re so blinded by your need to ‘get even’ that you are missing it. Either you cheated to get in the ‘gifted’ program as a youngster or as we in education say … it’s the ‘mommy says’ entrance program!! Either way you are doing a diservice to other Mensa types.

    I hope you get it now!!! BTW….Shouldn’t you be working??

  85. Mad Scientist says:

    Way to go, dumbass.

    That was, without a doubt, the absolutely LAMEST explanation of anything I can recall.

    It ranks right up there with “Because I said so!”

    You are pathetic.

  86. It’s pretty clear now that you are either a complete fool or a fraud … if you can’t see what these 8th graders are doing then you are without a doubt a complete ignoramous. Pleeze oh Mensa Midget … why on earth were they wearing the tees … civic pride?, national ‘giftee’ day?. How can anyone with half a brain (about what you apparently have) not see what they were doing?

    Pathetic is correct!! Get into an ‘anger’ management program quickly!!

  87. Mad Scientist says:

    Hey dumbass:

    When I was a kid, we were taught “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”. Guess you missed THAT lesson.

    What I see is a creative way of taking the weapon from the abuser. If the abuser don’t like it, tough! If the abuser attacks, then PUNISH THE ABUSER. If the administration will not enforce that rule, then fire the sorry sons-of-bitches and sue their asses off.

    Now if the shirts said something like “Gifties rule; Tards drool!”, then THAT is offensive. But I guess you can’t see the difference. You are far too blinded to your jock loyality.

    If you can’t figure out the message was: “Sticks and Stones…” then the world is better off without “educators” like you.

    Blame the victim for the attackers behavior. Yeah! That’s the ticket!

  88. Actually I did get that ‘stcks and stones’ lesson which is why your name calling doesn’t bother me. I have no jock loyalty … I taught all kinds of kids … ‘jocks’, ‘tards’, ‘giftees’, and ‘heads’. With some obvious exceptions, I loved them all. Exceptions would be kids who were disrespectful of others be they ‘jocks’ or ‘giftees’ or obnoxious people such as yourself. No one here is blaming the victim (assuming I give you that the ‘giftees’ were indeed victims) … a situation was being addressed so as to not make it worse. You seem to be hell bent on punishing the ‘jocks’ … which by the way they were not so identified. I believe they were the regular students (or ‘tards’). Perhaps if you were a ‘regular’ student having been called a ‘retard’ first, you might see this differently. I don’t mean to offend you with the possibility of being just ‘regular’ … I just would like you to see some other point of view.

    Any responsible administrator worth his salt would have done exactly what they did, and if they hadn’t and this thing escalated you’d be the first in line with an ACLU lawyer. Burn your Mensa membership card … you don’t deserve it!!!

  89. Don’t get upset but I’ve an obligation to attend to and I won’t be home until late this evening. I will of course at that time respond in kind to your next round of unintelligible pap. At some point this exchange will need to end and I highly expect that you’ll have a greater need to get in the last word than I will. I would guess that your ego would require it.

    You can argue, name call and do whtever else is necessary, but the fact remains that the administration did the right thing. You undoubtedly have an issue with this nerd/jock thing that should be taken up elsewhere. You’re going to great lenghts to find blame with the ‘regulars’, when blame is not really the issue here. All are to blame, the issue was how to stop a situation where it was regardless of who you thought started it or who did or didn’t do the right thing beforehand. That is all conjecture and unimportant.

    Later Mad!!

  90. Mad Scientist says:

    Rule one: Defense is MORAL. Offense is IMMORAL.

    No one has the right to accept any sort of abuse, whether it is verbal or physical.

    Everyone has the right to stand up for their rights.

    The administrators singled out the giftees precisely because the administration could see the giftees do it (and stand up to the administration’s INACTION).

    If the kids were REALLY interested in torquing the administration, they would ALL do it EVERY DAY until the administration caved. All they had to do was push a little harder. The administrators made the teachers travel to the giftees class, which is a major cave. How long would the teachers put up with it?

    Suspending one student is no big deal. Suspending 30 or so for taking a non-violent stand would sure as hell get someone’s attention. Especially if the parents decided to keep them out until the administrators stopped acting like a bunch of cretins.

    You still have not explained how openly embracing a label someone has placed on you is patently offensive to those who first applied the label. Hint: “Because I say so” is not a valid argument.

    Yeah, you were a coach and a teacher. Now I have to deal with the raw material you send me. I want my money back for the shoddy product. Just to clarify, I mean “you” as in all the stupid teachers and administrators who cannot apply common sense to a situation.

    Tell me, if one of the giftees gets the crap kicked out of him, will you blame him for just being “too damned smart and proud of it”?

    Idiots like you make me sick.

  91. Gifted parent says:

    Mar Scientist

    I would almost accept your premise that the regular kids instigated the whole name calling cycle. The original post to this seems to indicate that. But having been involved in these programs for many years and knowing the parental types that mold these little gifted minds, I am not willing to make that assumption. And the original article that brought this whole thing to the light of this discussion forum also indicates that the design of the shirt was also disallowed by the school. So adding g*****s to an already objectionable shirt compounded the administrations objection to it.

    But I guess I’ll give the giftees credit for one thing. They probably felt it was a pretty safe bet that the other kids wouldn’t have a shirt made that had “r*****s” on it. Smart or smart a**?

  92. Mad Scientist says:

    And by the way. All are NOT to blame. That presuposes that someone “had it coming to them”. There are true victims and true instigators here.

    The LAZY answer is to blame everyone.

    Who let it get out of control? Hint: it sure as hell wasn’t the kids.

  93. Mad Scientist says:


    It was pretty smart. The giftees KNEW that being labeled a “giftie” is something to be proud of. They also knew that it is somehow fitting when an individual takes pride in being a tard.

    The gifties knew what to be proud of. They were just telling the tards in a way that required no dialogue. And even better if the tards couldn’t figure it out.

    I guess the administrators missed the day when “Sticks and stones” was taught. The gifties seemed to get the message loud and clear.

  94. Gifted Parent says:

    I will agree, it most likely wasn’t the kids. But let’s look at what happens outside of school. What reinforcement is given at home and what does it look like? By nature, the home life of a gifted kid is more academically centered. They are voracious learners. And the majority of them get that reinforcement in a positive manner. But all it takes is a small minority to plant a seed of discontent that grows into an evil weed. The lawsuit was filed by 3 PARENTS from this class. I see no mention of the 24 other students involved. Again, back to my very strong belief in this situation there was negative reinforcement at home.

    And I can’t speak for a system as large and bureaucratic as I’m sure Chicago is, but all of the gifted programs I have seen, once a student gets into the program, they are there to stay unless the parent chooses to remove them. Which might mean that this group had traversed their elementary years as a self contained unit. Walk alike, talk alike, think alike, act alike. What would regular school kids in a long term cohesive group be called?

    A gang?

    These are big city kids after all.

  95. Mad Scientist says:

    It could very well be that the 3 parents sued because they believed their kids were being denied their free speech rights (I still don’t buy the argument that the shirts were disruptive). My guess is that the parents had complained to the administration before about how their kids were getting picked on, and nothing was done. This just happened to be the last straw.

    I believe the bands are called “cliques” . Just like the jock clique, the cheerleader clique, the smoker clique, the head clique, etc.

  96. Gifted Parent says:

    Hopefully Ms. Jacobs will post the results of this matter here sometime in the future. I just hope all of the kids involved somehow come out better for it all, in spite of us adults.

  97. Wow, I leave for a couple of hours and a civil exchange takes place. Don’t know how I can fit in here now. But, I’ll try. Spoke tonight to a friend of mine, an ex-principal and ex-assistant superintendent. I explained the situation and asked him what he’d do. He said at first that he’d allow the shirts for the one day and then say no more. He’d have it followed up with discussions with teachers parents and students involved. We are no longer friends. … no, just kidding of course. It is a very thin line to walk and placing blame is not that simple. He agreed that this stuff begins out of ear shot of teachers, parents and administrators, in the hallways, playgrounds and in their neighborhoods. Then slowly it gets back to the parents and then teachers. Unless a teacher has both parties in close proximity, they are unfortunately the last ones to know. Kids making fun of smarter kids is fairly common, but so too are kids making fun of those with lesser abilities … so I’m not entirely sold on who is to ‘blame’. My guess is the parents play a major role in the actions of both groups.

    I still think the administration acted properly. Their actions should not however be seen as necessarily placing blame on the ‘giftees’. I would hope that if the ‘giftees’ had started the name calling, and the ‘regular’ kids showed up with ‘tard’ tees that they would have stopped that as well. I do not believe that we know enough about this situation however to be placing too much blame on anyone. More needs to be known.

    Mad … sorry if I’ve been overly nasty … just very passionate about my teaching and I honestly believe that I’ve always treated all kids equally and fairly and insisted that they treat each other that way as well.

  98. Mad Scientist says:

    Apology accepted.

  99. Ah, so now we’re all smiles and sunshine, yes? Because a friend agrees, at least in part, with the people you’ve been disagreeing with, lo these many posts?

    And despite you nice word to MS, you persist…

    “..so too are kids making fun of those with lesser abilities …”

    Why yes they do, Mr Cooper, tell me, how often are those kids who pick on those with lesser ability nerds? Perhaps your choice of ‘lesser ability’ was a clue. Rather that use a term that connotates ‘not-as-smart-as’, you chose something more ambiguous. AND, Mr Cooper, how often, when nerds pick on those with ‘lesser abilities’ do these matters come before a school administration?

    I tried to go over this on a point by point basis, but that was apparently too much for you. Instead of actually responding you claim–of all things, not to comprehend the progression of events as outlined in the article.

    And then follow up with a personal swipe.

    Well, Mr Cooper, I DO have an axe to grind, particularly with the type of teacher that sees punishing the victims as meet and just. As I stated before I have been there, as a student and as a parent. I have had to watch as my child was disciplined because she defended herself against the boy who struck her. Struck her because, in his own words, ‘she was reading too much’. I got to watch as she got suspended because, while they were picking on her, she said ‘if you don’t leave me alone I’ll kill you’. She has been repeatedly disciplined for defending herself–all in the name of some sick form of balance that the retards that pass as our education establishment seem blind in their adherence to.

    She is not a nasty child. She is helpful to a fault–even up to helping the same children who pick on her relentlessly when they need it. And when they stop needing her help? Gratitude? HA!

    I cannot speak for the parents you so quickly spread the ‘blame’ to, but my level of frustration with situations like this must be more than evident. Perhaps the ‘giftees’ parents share that frustration and are suing. Perhaps they will finally get some justice from a system all too willing to punish the victims defense as if it were the perpetrator’s attack.

  100. Jack … let me once more state my position as clear as possible … I cannot speak for other admiistrations and you’re painting with too broad of a brush with your comdemnation. I cannot speak to elementary situations where this goes on, but in high schools, the gifted programs tend to cease to exist. Kids are in accelerated or enriched classes and many of course take AP courses. Some kids who were not in gifted programs in elementary school but have abilities in English or Math may be in AP classes with these same kids, and are working and competing side by side. Many of course are on athletic teams, band and other activities together. There was in my school a blending of students in many areas. At one point our administration decided to not list kids on the honor rolls by their standing, but rather alphbetically. Every teacher I know, myself included thought this ridiculous. Give credit where credit is due. They didn’t want the ‘lesser’ children feel ‘lesser’ I did not concur!! Hard to believe, but you’re complaint regarding how the administration handled your daughter’s case is preaching to the choir. I actually find it appalling what they did and I can assure you no one I know in teaching would have handled it that way.

    This began because the administration in the Chicago case stopped what could have been a ugly situation. Just having stopped it in and of itself does not necessarily place blame. And how it got handled after that is what is really important. To be sure if the perps were the ‘tards’ then punish them … no problem here. Somehow you’ve gotten the impression that I’d support the ‘regulars’ not true. And my choice of using ‘lesser ability’, ‘not-as-smart-as’, ‘tards’, ‘regulars’ etc… nothing too calculating there … just my selection process which probably has no rhyme or reason. Don’t read too much into that …. I’m only a regular, and I’m not that clever.

    As per the law suit, I’d be very suprised if it wasn’t thrown out of court in a NY minute. Your frustration is a little evident … ‘the retards that pass as our education establishment’ … is a bit harsh. As I’ve said before, as a teacher I taught them all … valedictorians right on down to felons … loved them all (except for the fellon and even he was a funny character – in school) and required their best and that they respect one another. I personally saw very little of the taunting of the type you describe and I think that by high school the taunting and posturing revolves around other things like boy friends and girl friends, and said what about who etc., etc. By that time the differences in academic ability becomes less of a focus. There are still cliques to be sure and always will be … it’s how teens survive.

    And finally the personal swipe … maybe you’ll recall the ‘broomstick’ comment you made. That wasn’t personal was it? Wanting to know if the kids on my teams like to engage in ‘broomstick rape’. Here’s a swipe … I’d like to tell a few of them what you accused them of and give them your address. Bet they’d have a few nice things to say to you … and to boot, I’ll make sure that half of them are giftees.

  101. administrator says:

    First of all, you people have way too much time on your hands. Secondly, you can’t possibly know the facts unless you were a part of the controversy.

  102. AHomeschoolMom says:

    After reading all this banter I realize now why I homeschool. At least in my school we actually allow the freedoms my family members fought for to be used. I think all of you should back up and realize that these children are only following in the footsteps of great historical leaders like Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. The have a complaint with the existing “social norms” in their “community” so they have found a means of non-violent social change through civil disobedience. If someone really wanted to fix this problem they would put the entire school through some sensitivity training. I also feel that they should have an assembly. At this assembly, they should allow the “gifties” and the “jocks” and the “tards” and all the other kids to have an open mike to voice how they view themselves and how they feel about the labels they have been given. I am sure these kids have strong viewpoints and I feel that freedom of speech is just as much their right as it is mine. The concept that all men are created equal extends to children also. They have feelings and they have the right to express those feelings within acceptable parameters. Non-violent civil disobedience is an acceptable parameter. Of course I realize that the dictators that run the public school system will never believe this but it is reality. By the way before someone jumps me about my opinion let me address a few issues. I am a certified teacher, mother of two children with learning disabilities, mother of two gifted children, mother of one suicide victim courtesy of the public school system, and somewhere in the eight kids are three typical ones. Our school allows the children to think and reason and make choices and be accountable for those choices without the need for dictatorship. My 5th grader has already championed a cause he felt needed changing through non-violent social change and a form of civil disobedience. He staged a sit-in in front of his sister’s room and forced her and her friends to walk around him all night when she had a sleep-over because she took his sleeping bag for one of her friends to use without asking and refused to give it back. Now we have a rule in our house that camping equipment belongs to the family not to the individual. This gives us the freedom to force them to share if someone’s equipment becomes lost or damaged while out camping. It was never intended to be used to guarantee that an individual could use someone else’s stuff without asking. However, the rule was worded rather ambiguously. He understood how the rule was intended to be applied and he did not like her using the rule to take his sleeping bag so he staged a protest. My daughter begged me to force him to leave but I explained that the same freedom within the law that allowed her to take his sleeping bag allowed him to stage a protest. After about an hour she asked one of her other brothers if she could use his sleeping bag and he agreed therefore the other son got his sleeping bag back. He looked at her and stated, “If you had asked me I would have let you keep it.” Touche! She was so busy being angry that she missed the point of his protest in one way but did get the point that she might ought to ask the other brother so she would not have a repeat of the first disaster. All he wanted was to be treated with respect. That is all the children in the gifted class wanted. They did not get that and the administration appeared to not address the issue appropriately (this is no great surprise) so the children staged a protest in the form of “non-violent civil disobedience” by taking on the intended derogatory label as a banner and disregarding school rules about inflammatory words on clothing in order to state their feelings. No, I don’t think they have to play nice and pretend nothing happened but I do feel that dialogue between the groups is necessary to resolve this issue in a positive manner. I also realize that in the dictatorial world of Public school dialogue is not going to happen. There has been more discussion on this board that there will be between the students actually involved in the conflict. That is the sad part of this whole issue.

  103. Michael Renkosiak says:

    Just as an update, their case was thrown out of court.