Saturday, June 10, 2006

Teacher "Guilty" of Excellence

From Marin County, north of San Francisco, home of the American Taliban, comes this not-so-pleasant but entirely typical story:

MILL VALLEY made national news again recently when an "anonymous tipster" complained to the Tamalpais Union High School District and the Marin County District Attorney's office about physics teacher David Lapp's use of a rifle to demonstrate the physics of motion in the classroom.

While the district attorney's office has stated it will not take the case, the physics demonstration has been banned by the school district in spite of support for the teacher by Tamalpais High School Principal Chris Holleran.

The harassed Mr. Lapp, beloved physics teacher at Tamalpais High, has been performing the rifle demonstration with his .30-caliber M1 carbine in the classroom without incident and with proper approval from school officials since 1992. He fires the Korean War-era rifle at close range through a wooden block, which is suspended from the ceiling.

Students take measurements of the lateral and upward movement of the block and calculate the velocity of the bullet.

The story goes downhill from there. Go take a read.

Cadets at West Point once hung a sign from the barracks, reading "Guns don't kill people. Physics kills people." I wonder how they feel about that in Marin Country.


Anonymous said...

1. The teacher is correct and did his homework before doing the experiment. He secured permissions from his superiors and should not/will not face disciplinary action. His demonstration was safe and san; he knew what he was doing.

2. The controversy arises NOT from the teacher's politics, but from weak-spined school administrators. Weak-spined school administrators come in all flavors, so spare us the beaten-down, conservative minority slant. (I know, I might as well ask you to stop breathing.) The teacher's detractors are short-sighted and relish in being offended. That's what they do; it's all they know.

3. A teacher in Darren's own San Juan Unified School District did the same demonstration until he retired some years ago. The fact that he "got away with it" should not be construed as evidence that his politics were liberal. (He was a B-52 pilot in Vietnam.) Chances are his students never knew about his politics. He probably spent the limited time he had with his students teaching them... physics. What a concept!

BTW: the bullet is fired into the wood block (or tree stump), not through it. If the bullet didn't stop in the block, the physics wouldn't work out and the demo *would* be dangerous.

FWIW: Mr. Lapp *did* put the demo on hiatus for a few years following Columbine.

Cameron said...

Didn't I tell you that story in class? I know I told one of my teachers.

rightwingprof said...

Sorry, but I fail to see what all the hubub is about. Then, I'm not a gun fearing wussy.

Anonymous said...

As a gun owning liberal (yes we exist) I have to say this was not the school districts finest hour, it's up there with SF trying to ban guns. Just as not all conservatives are religious wack jobs not all liberas are anti gun. Some of us get annoyed when democrats blame guns the same way fiscal conservative are annoyed at the record deficits under the current administration.