Thursday, June 01, 2006

West Point Reps Barred From HS Senior Awards Banquet

A student mentioned this to me today, and then the news article came to me via a maillist of West Point graduates. Put succinctly, a high school in the "progressive" and "tolerant" state of Massachusetts has refused to allow West Point officials to present letters of acceptance to two students during an awards banquet.

At first blush, this is yet another outrageous liberal slight against the military. However, if the news article is accurate, it's nothing of the kind.

But when West Point officials approached King Philip Principal Elaine Hanson, they were told it was against the school’s policy, according to parents and public officials.

State Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham, a major in the National Guard, said the high school only allows access to local groups that give scholarships, not academies or universities wishing to honor students.

If they wouldn't allow Harvard to present a letter of acceptance, it's reasonable for them not to allow West Point to do so, either. It's nice to learn that local parents, as well as politicians of both parties, are disappointed with the decision, though.

There was at least one mistake in the article, though. It's not "unheard of" to have two students from the same class go to the Military Academy. In the Class of 2003 at the school at which I teach, two students were accepted to West Point. And last year, our school had two students accepted to the Air Force Academy and a third accepted to West Point. =)


Anonymous said...

Actually Rio had four. Josh Reddis, Trevor Johnson and myself to USAFA. Steve Smiley to West Point.

C3C Bartlett

Darren said...

Thanks for the correction.

So how do those clouds on your shoulder look? :-)

Texas Truth said...

This could be a violation of Federal Law. If the school takes federal money, FOR ANYTHING, they must be allowed into the school. There was a similar incident here in Texas, and once the Feds got involved, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! Seems schools like the federal money more than they like being a "liberal jerk."

rightwingprof said...

Brit Hume reported last night that the school had backed off and was allowing them now.

MikeAT said...

Texas Truth

Remember, this is "Land of Kennedy", not the United States of America.

Anonymous said...

The clouds are great. Got that line across the bottom to block out s*&t and the chevron on top. It is wierd not being a freshman anymore....but in a really really good way.

EllenK said...

Hey, if the Armed Forces could get a good ACLU lawyer, they could make the case for denying access for students that actually desire a very expensive and extensive education paid for by taxpayers. I think this is more of an issue of the faculty not being comfortable with them on campus. Frankly, I would rather have the West Point, Annapolis and The Air Force Academy recruiting kids for college first rather than the Army recruiter that is haunting my son because he signed up for a free hat. As a parent of teenaged boys, I have to admit, it's scary when they come home talking about how they can "pick their training" when you know that training is going to end up sending them right to Bagdhad. If I thought this was really his ultimate goal in life, it would be one thing, but when he just thinks it's "cool" it makes me want to discuss the downside. From that POV I can understand it, but the service academies aren't really like that. They are after the best and brightest to fill the ranks of officers. These kids aren't the ones that would be sent over to the front lines necessarily.

Darren said...

EllenK, a large number of West Point's graduates end up going to the MidEast right away.

Your son should make an informed choice about the military. That means listening to a military recruiter *and* to your concerns.

Your views about his becoming cannon fodder (correct me if I've misread between the lines) are more than a little uninformed, though.

OldCarKook said...

Whoa! The facts here are not properly reported (as usual) and the press has incorrectly reported what happened.

I live in Wrentham, Mass. I am not a bleeding heart liberal. I find the comments that simply place anyone from Mass in a category of liberals to be blind remarks from the uninformed.

The principal of KPHS made a unilateral decision to deny attendance by the USMA by cloaking that decision as "this is a local event". The reality is that the principal used her position and her students to make a political statement. When teachers, or even worse - principals, use students to advance their own political views it is deeply troubling.

The FACTS here are:
1) In 1999 the last student from KPHS to attend a US military college received his award from the Major from the Air Force Academy at the very ceremony that was characterized as "local".
2) This entire event occured over Memorial Day Weekend further insulting those who have served our country.
3) To have two students from one graduating class attend West Point is nothing short of remarkable.
4) The principal, in an attempt to save her own skin from the firestorm of her denial, invited the good Major to attend the graduation ceremony and lead the ceremony's Pledge of Alligence.

Gimme a break! The proper course of action here is to can the principal for using her own students to make a personal political statement and to research the facts of the issue before getting all of your exercise flying off the handle and jumping to conclusions.

This thing stinks like rotten fish and the very right that we all have to make these statements is defended every day by West Point graduates among many other solid American citizens.

Cut the hogwash and see it for what it is: One person in authority used her students to make a political statement without the approval of, or the endorsement of School Committee or any other governing body.

West Point is a pinnacle of achievement and for KPHS to have not one but two students chosen from over 13,000 candidates is nothing short of incredible. Years of work by these two students is marred by the political actions of the principal.

The KPHS principal has grossly abused her position and then had the audacity to veil it and wrap it around something else, then adding insult to injury she invited everyone to graduation to make nice-nice. At least have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and say what your objections towards the very military that protects your right to do what you have done instead of back pedaling and dancing after you get exposed for the decision.

Principal Hanson has managed to put Wrentham in the National news but NOT in the way that I would like to see it.

Darren said...

Wow, I see why you put "kook" in your nickname.

Notice that I put a few cavaets in there--"if" this news report is correct, "if" they wouldn't allow Harvard to present, etc. Given those conditions, the barring of West Point reps (which I understand was eventually reversed anyway?) would have been entirely acceptable.

I'm a West Point graduate. I love it when kids are accepted to West Point, and I think it's great when they're honored by their schools. It was a big deal to me to be honored thusly by my own school. But I'm not prepared to state categorically that *any* refusal to do so is automatically the result of an idiot or a lack of patriotism.

Given the report that *I* had to go on, the response seemed acceptable. If there are other details to which I wasn't privy, I hope my cavaets still shielded me somewhat from defending the indefensible.

If this principal *was* abusing her authority to perpetuate her own beliefs, then she deserves any disparaging she gets. I just didn't want to jump in on the disparaging if she didn't in fact deserve it.