Update 1: Welcome, AR15.COM readers! (some excellent, although often quite blunt, comments).
Update 3: Welcome, Free Republic readers! (some very informative comments).
Update 4: A statement claiming to be made by a PR person employed by the school district has appeared as a comment at Gateway Pundit, here (archived here). It is substantively odd, as it simultaneously asserts that: (1) there was no inappropriate conduct by the teacher; but (2) both the teacher and the principal nonetheless promptly apologized to the mother for the teacher’s conduct. It is also procedurally odd because, as explained here, there is no trace of any official statement on the school district’s website or Facebook page, so that this blogger has requested that, if genuine, the statement be posted in some such place. This blogger has elaborated a bit on why the statement makes no sense, here. [Jan. 8 update: even though the school district apparently has not posted the statement on its website or Facebook page, a journalist has apparently verified the authenticity of the statement, or one similar to it; see here.]
Update 5: Injecting some much-needed levity into this unfortunate story, one Gateway Pundit commentator (“AClearThought“), rebutting the principal’s statement that “we don’t have dead animals in school,” notes (here) that just yesterday an actual part of a dead animal (not merely a photograph on a sweatshirt) was shown to children in Hinkley Elementary School!:
Update 6: Welcome, College Fix readers!
Update 7 (Jan. 8): Mike Moore (@ScribeMoore), the journalist with Outdoor News who originally broke this story, posted this update today: “School action with hunter creates controversy.” His report rebuts the “blame the mother” stance which the school district took in its statement (here): that the mother “received an apology the very next day from the teacher and the principal,” but hid that supposed fact from Mr. Moore. To the contrary, Mr. Moore reports: “The girl’s mother said she was never issued an apology from the school district” (emphasis added). So, crediting the mother’s account (which is appropriate, because the school district’s story that the teacher did nothing wrong but, nonetheless, immediately apologized, makes no sense, and because the school district has not produced a copy of the apology it says was issued to the mother), it appears that, in addition to bullying and harassing a 9-year-old-girl, the school district is calling her mother a liar.
Update 8 (Jan.8): The top of the school district’s website (archived here and here) now contains a very brief statement which, perhaps tellingly, does not assert that school officials ever apologized to the girl and her mother. Rather, the only point on which the parties appear to be in agreement is that they have resolved the situation between themselves. Of course, that does not necessarily end the controversy between the general public and school district employees over the employees’ actions.
Update 9 (Jan. 8): Welcome, Claire Wolfe readers!
Update 10 (Jan. 9): Welcome, Weasel Zippers readers!
Update 11 (Jan. 9): In a bizarre development, it turns out that on Jan. 5, two days before this blog post was published, the Highland school district issued an official press release regarding the incident involving Domonique Yatsko, but neglected to e-mail this blogger (or even leave a comment on this blog) so he could alert readers to it. You can read the press release here (archived version here). The Jan. 5 press release conflicts with several later statements made on behalf of the school district, so it is currently impossible to ascertain the district’s precise position regarding whether any of its employees did anything inappropriate, and whether any sort of apology was made to the girl and her parents (the mother indicates no apology was made). Look for a separate post later this week addressing the school district’s reaction to this controversy.
This blogger found a link to the press release this afternoon, in the midst of hundreds of comments left on the Gateway Pundit blog post — a link to this post on the Facebook page of Outdoor Ohio, the media outlet that originally broke the story. The company’s president, KC Allen, has an important, nicely balanced statement of the pros and cons of the school district’s handling of this matter, available here. Of note, Mr. Allen concludes that the first-year teacher involved was “ill-equipped to deal with what turned out to be the concerns of a few of the third-grade students in her class, who were saddened by the photo of a dead deer on Domonique’s shirt,” and that “[t]he Principal was ill-advised to be on the side of the teacher rather than standing up for what’s right.”
Update 15 (Jan. 14): Welcome, Bowsite.com readers!
Update 16 (Jan. 17): Welcome, RokSlide.com readers!
* * * * *
The problem of left-wing public school teachers and administrators bullying school children for thinking and acting like normal Americans seems to be a continuing one.
Two years ago Wisconsin talk-radio host Vicki McKenna, in a story which quickly went national, outed Wisconsin school principal Melissa A. Horn for bullying an 11-year-old boy, threatening to expel him for bringing a “virtual gun” to his virtual (i.e., home) school. His offense? Displaying a tiny picture of a gun, with an American flag, on the computer which he used only at home — an image viewable by no other student. See blog posts here, here, and here.
About a month ago, Vicki’s colleague Mark Belling (the godfather of Wisconsin conservative talk radio) outed a Wisconsin public school teacher, Courtney Hiers, for bullying her entire class, via a public Facebook post in which she called her students “racist” for rejecting her liberal whitewash of Islam.
Now Vicki has outed a Ohio public school teacher for bullying a nine-year-old girl, Domonique Yatsko. Domonique’s offense? Proudly displaying a photo (containing no gore), on her sweatshirt, of her posing with a buck she had shot on her first day of deer hunting. Specifically, this photo:
As Vicki has previously urged, to have any hope of combating the malignant leftism which is entrenched in much of the public educational system, and to have any success in deterring public school employees from bullying children who are raised in conservative households, conservatives need to “name names” — to publicly identify, and castigate, the offenders.
Ms. Copa is in her first year of teaching, on a one-year contract. In 2011 she graduated from Elyria Catholic High School [Update: webpage down; cached copy here; copy archived for historical reference purposes here]; an elite institution in rural Ohio. She obtained a B.S. degree in early childhood education from Ashland University, having apparently completed most of her college credits [Update: Google+ page down; copy of relevant page archived for historical reference purposes here] at Lorain County Community College.
When Domonique showed up at school wearing her sweatshirt, proud of bagging a buck in her very first day of deer hunting, Ms. Copa reportedly shamed the girl, causing students at the school to ridicule her, telling the girl: “killing animals is not what we do.” After being ridiculed for her sweatshirt, Domonique threw it in the trash when she returned home.
Neither Ms. Copa nor the principal, James Carpenter, apologized for this bullying of a young girl for having engaged in a legal recreational activity, even after Domonique’s mother, Heidi, pressed the matter. The principal’s defense? “We don’t have dead animals in school.”
For those interested in Vicki’s take on this story, here’s a clip of her entire discussion (under six minutes) in her Madison show yesterday afternoon:
The Medina Gazette has a followup article by Halee Heironimus (@) who reports that the school superintendent, Catherine Aukerman, concedes that Domonique’s sweatshirt did not violate the school’s dress code.
It appears that neither the teacher nor the school principal has apologized to Domonique, even though her mother Heather has made clear: “I was looking for an apology for my child, that’s all.”
For those interested in contacting the teacher, the principal, and/or the superintendent to urge that the teacher and principal issue a public, written apology to Domonique, here is their contact information (of course, if you write or call them, you should be as professional and respectful in tone as you would expect them to be in dealing with you or your child):
Teacher: Hannah Copa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Principal: James Carpenter: email@example.com;
Superintendent: Catherine Aukerman:
firstname.lastname@example.org; (330) 239-1901, ext. 1217.