UPDATE: Welcome, Gateway Pundit readers!
UPDATE 2: Welcome, Weasel Zippers readers!
UPDATE 3: Welcome, Freepers!
UPDATE 4, Welcome, Behind the Black readers!
UPDATE 5: Welcome, The Blaze readers!
UPDATE 6: Welcome, The Real Revo readers!
UPDATE 7: Welcome, Liberty News readers!
UPDATE 8: Welcome, Reddittors!
UPDATE 9: Welcome, The Truth About Guns readers!
UPDATE 10: Readers interested in how Matthew’s parents — Pam and Brian Schoenecker — see the situation should read the recent posts and comments on Pam’s Facebook page, here.
UPDATE 11: For a video summarizing this story in less than four minutes, illustrated with scary pictures of guns liberals will need to ban, click here, or read the Sept. 3 followup post. And please RT this tweet on the four-minute video. The 16-minute video already has 4,500+ views in just two days (as of Sept. 4, 2 p.m.); this very short version should be even more effective in acquainting folks to the gist of the story.
UPDATE 12: It appears the school bureaucrats behind this fiasco are now pursuing a blame-the-victim strategy. Early in the morning on Sept. 4, Vicki McKenna posted on her Facebook page (here) and on her Twitter account (here) an image of a letter sent by the principal and superintendent to all parents of Matthew’s virtual school addressing (rather obliquely) the current controversy. In addition to stating that no one had actually been suspended or threatened with suspension (which Matthew’s parents already knew, and Vicki had reported (here), based on the discussion between Matthew’s mom and the superintendent), the letter appears to place blame on Matthew for supposedly not making “good choices” (para. 2). It also appears to place blame on Matthew’s parents for supposedly not having reached out to school personnel “for clarification” prior to contacting the media (para. 3). In fact, as Vicki discussed on her Aug. 29 afternoon show (30 seconds starting here, and 15 seconds starting here), the parents went to the media only after their efforts to seek clarification from the school went with no response! This blame-the-victims letter, and Vicki’s comments on it on her show(s), will likely be featured in a separate post. [Update: that post is here.]
Meet Melissa A. Horn. She’s the 40-year-old Wisconsin school principal who’s currently bullying an 11-year-old boy over a tiny picture of a gun and an American flag on the computer he uses only at home.
The boy, Matthew, is “attending” — through distance learning, via computer — Wisconsin Virtual Learning, a 4K-12K virtual school run as an online pubic charter school by the Northern Ozaukee School District.
Horn is its principal and executive director. For more on Horn, consult her LinkedIn page and her “Executive Director’s Message” in which she mentions that at Wisconsin Virtual Learning, “we pride ourselves in being both parent and student-friendly,”and “[o]ur lines of communication, whether face-to-face or via telephone, email, or Blackboard Collaborate room, are always open.”
This story was broken on August 29 by conservative Wisconsin talk-radio host Vicki McKenna. Her August 29 shows covered extensively how Matthew, a Second Amendment enthusiast, has been threatened with expulsion for using a tiny picture of a gun and an American flag as his online avatar in a e-mail to his “Student Learning Advocate.”
A copy of the e-mail avatar that triggered this bullying of Matthew by his principal is available on Vicki’s Facebook page.
Vicki initially covered this story in her August 29 morning show in Milwaukee. Here’s an unabridged clip of her discussion. (35 minutes; downloadable version here).
Vicki recapped the matter, and had an important update, in her August 29 afternoon show in Madison. Here’s an unabridged clip of that discussion. (30 minutes; downloadable version here).
For those with a special interest in how liberal educators are using their power to censor any reference to guns or the Second Amendment in the educational context, the full audio is well worth your time.
For those who want the gist of the story, here’s a video clip combining the most important parts of both broadcasts, with many of the points made by Vicki illustrated with screenshots of relevant web pages. Enjoy!
For journalists, or members of the public who wish to contact those potentially in a position to stop the bullying of Matthew for his exercise of his First Amendment right to use an avatar that reflects his enthusiasm for the Second Amendment (note that this charter school is presumably funded in part using both state and federal tax dollars), here is some contact information:
Principal Melissa A. Horn: Phone numbers 866-301-0401 or 262-692-3988 (from website). General school e-mail contact page here. Horn’s individual e-mail address (found in readily available public records) is apparently Horn.Melissa1@gmail.com.
[Update, 1:30 p.m. Direct e-mail addresses for school officials are listed here. In case that page is taken down, here are some of them: Principal Melissa Horn, email@example.com; Secretary Danielle Biever, firstname.lastname@example.org; Pupil Services Director Barb Peterka, email@example.com; Pupil Services Secretary Nicole Depies, firstname.lastname@example.org; Open Enrollment Coordinator Ann Baumann, email@example.com.]
The school’s Twitter feed (quite active) is @WisconsinVL. Melissa Horn’s Twitter feed (protected, and apparently inactive) is here. The school’s YouTube channel is here (for a 30-second ad touting the school and promising “it could change the rest of your child’s life” — as Matthews’ parents might well attest! — click here.).]
Superintendent Blake A. Peuse: Phone number 262-692-2489, ext. 402; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (from website). Contact info for his administrative assistant, Jackie Evraets: phone number 262-692-2489, ext. 410; e-mail email@example.com.
School Board: Bios of members here. Phone numbers of members, and addresses at which they can be written, here. Note that the next school board meeting apparently will be held next Monday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Ozaukee middle school/high school library. [Update, 4:30 p.m.: It seems that some sort of school board meeting devoted to the virtual school is being held on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 6 p.m.; see here.]
Update [11 p.m. Central time, Sept. 2]. Embedded below is a four-minute clip of the key new material on this topic from Vicki’s WISN show this morning, which was live-blogged here (see next six paragraphs). Downloadable version here. (The full eleven minutes of Vicki’s discussion during the 10 a.m. hour is downloadable here.)
Update [10:10 a.m. Central time, Sept. 2] Vicki is now reporting that she has an audio tape of Matthew’s mother speaking to the school superintendent, though she can’t air it due to FCC regulations which apply in Wisconsin and a few other states which only allow audio to be aired with the consent of all parties. (Wisconsin is a one-party consent state, so that the recording itself was legally obtained, and hopefully Matthew’s mother will authorize it to be put online, possibly in excerpted form.)
[10:20 a .m.] Vicki mentions again what she mentioned on Aug. 29: the principal was upset at the media attention. Vicki emphasizes that this is because Matthew’s parents couldn’t get anyone at the school to call them back! (Compare the principal’s assurance in her welcome message that “[o]ur lines of communication, whether face-to-face or via telephone, email, or Blackboard Collaborate room, are always open.”)
Vicki reports that the superintendent says “we’re going to have a conversation” about banning pictures of guns, because “we’re worried about safety.” They’re going to go back to the drawing board and create an idiotic policy!
This is what the educational bureaucracy does when parents raise issues. Rather than telling the parents a few days ago that there was no policy, and that Matthew need not fear being expelled, they’re now told that they’re going to create a policy against virtual guns!
[10:30 a.m.] A caller mentions that in high school football games, there are frequent references during games to the “pistol formation, “and “shotgun formation,” and to “bullet passes” — next to be banned, Vicki surmises!
[10:38 a.m.] A caller remarks that, not having a day of college, he’s obviously unable to understand the thinking of these elite bureaucrats. Vicki mentions that someone texted asking whether we have to stop talking about “shooting” basketball! She says “there is no endpoint to this madness.”
I am virtual school teacher in WI (not at this school). This is absolutely stupid and a waste of everyone’s time. The school is out of line with their request.
[9 p.m.] Although he reportedly spurned all efforts by journalists to contact him for comment on this controversy, at the end of the day Superintendent Blake A. Peuse tweeted about what a “great day” it had been in the school system:
Thank you to all parents/guardians for making everything work well on our first day. Many more great days for learning to come!
— Blake Peuse (@BlakePeuse) September 2, 2014
The tweet drew at least one critical comment.
Update, 6 p.m., Sept. 3. Here is the additional, highly entertaining, four-minute video referenced in Update 11 at the top of this post. For more background, see Sept. 3 followup post.