Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sandy Smith, This One's For You

Apparently I have a reader who wants to report me to the CTA (tee hee), of all organizations, for my "crass" post about the Breasts Not Bombs rally in (deep sigh) Berkeley. Read her comments--I get no indication of humor and joking from her.

So Sandy, this link is for you. I especially like the third picture, the one a commenter says looks like "a horny ewok."


Anonymous said...

A classy post from a classy guy.

Is this how you normally address legitimate criticism?

How is this message consistent with what you claim to your conservative values?

The only disclaimer that you had for a link to nude content the word “Nekkid” which my son tells me is a reference to Beavis and Butthead.

This is a website that you know your students read. Educator to Educator, I suggest you conduct yourself accordingly, or I will get the educational community involved.

Darren said...

If you want class, I recommend showing some yourself. You didn't raise legitimate critism, you attempted to threaten me by complaining to the CTA. You have done so again by threatening to "get the educational community involved".

Bring it on.

I don't respond well to threats. Nor do I respond well to idiocy. If you don't like what's on this site, don't come here. Very simple. "Educator to educator", mind your own freakin' business. I mocked you on my own site because you made a fool out of yourself on this same site. It is you who seems willing to stifle expression, a trait I normally associate with the left.

And I'm not a big fan of the political left.

Anonymous said...

I didn't come on this site. My 13 year old son did.

I didn't like the fact that he was looking at lurid pictures, courtesy of your site.

You had a link to inappropriate material, without a proper disclaimer.

In response to my concerns, you show me a picture of two dogs having sex. Real classy.

I don’t see why you choose to turn this into a political issue. I’m a registered republican, FYI.

You on the other hand, come off as just someone who hates “hippies” rather than someone who aspires to the republican ideals of limited government and family values.

In response to your John Wayne, “Bring it On” quote, fine. Since you seem so unafraid of the negative consequences of your actions, please give me the phone number and mailing address of your local superintendent.

Darren said...

I don't know who my superintendent is. I don't even know if we have a new one, after the last one retired in June.

As for reporting me, do so to whomever you want. Don't expect me to give you any assistance, though. Do it yourself.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Sandy's answer for her son looking at things that she does not approve of is to blame Darren. The NEA (and probably the CTA) and the left love to drool over the 1st Amendment so I am not sure that Darren is doing anything out of the ordinary.

Anonymous said...

We'll see what his school principle has to say about one of its teacher hosting a website that has links to lewd material. The offense is multiplied by the fact that he knows his sudents under the age of 16 read this site.

The fact that he as been resistent to give me any information to bring this to his boss's attention proves he does fear the consequences.

He can run, but he cann't hide.

How many teachers named Darren Miller with a degree from West Point could possibly teach Math near Sacramento CA?

You haven't heard the last of this.

Darren said...

I have no doubt that you can cause me difficulty, Sandy, but I also have no doubt that when all is said and done, I'll be just fine and you'll still be fuming. I merely see no need to assist you in your endeavors.

And you're right, there aren't that many teachers with my name, etc, as you described. Perhaps you can have your son track me down--he seems quite capable of finding information on the internet. It shouldn't be too hard, as a year ago several news outlets were able to identify and get in contact with me.

Had you come to me as a concerned parent, been rational, and been civil, we might have had an interesting discussion about a couple of points that you and 5wahls brought up. Your threats are escalating this, and I have nothing better to do right now than to take you on--except for moving this week, and going on vacation to Canada next week, and starting back to work the week after that.

You threaten, I'll taunt. When/if you ever decide you want to be rational about this, please let me know :-)

Phyllis S said...

Darren, Please let me know where to send the glowing character reference I will be more than happy to write, if in fact you come to need it, which I doubt.

Darren said...

I doubt it too, Phyllis, but I appreciate your offer nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

As one of Mr Miller's students I have been reading his blog for the past couple of months and find it extremely entertaining and informative. I regularly post comments and usually receive comments in return. I have to agree with what some other people posted above me, if you don't like your son looking at pictures of naked women in Berkley then I suggest you a) never take him on holiday to a beach in Europe and b) keep better watch on what you son looks at on the internet. Whether or not Mr Miller is a teacher has nothing to do with his blog. This is a site he maintains on his personal time. He is not forcing students to look at it and he has never once told us what the address to it is. I only found it because one of my friends is rather good at using search engines. So please take you threats somewhere else and leave us to debate political issues in peace. Mr Miller, please pardon me if I don’t post my name on this one, I wouldn't want to get in trouble.

Unknown said...

The title of the post is "Breasts, Not Bombs."

What more of a disclaimer do you want?

In fact, if I were 13 again, that title would probably make me want to click on the link.

I suggest we all do the rational thing here and go have our sons neutered.

What? Does that sound crazy?

Anonymous said...

Here I assumed that some mutt...

Sandy, I suggest that you learn to spell "principal" before you return to your classroom this fall, since you claim to be an Educator.

And frankly, your failure to adequately monitor your own child's internet surfing seems to me to be grounds to report you to Child Protective Services so that your son can be placed in a foster care facility where he will be exposed to much healthier values than those you teach.

Now don't you have some brown shirts and white sheets to iron before your next Klan get-together?

If you cannot see that the original post was legitimate commentary on "political speech" (degraded as it is by the Left) and that the current post is a satirical response to over-wrought threats of censorship by an unAmerican busybody who wants to limit what everyone reads and writes to what she finds acceptable for her 13-year-old, then I suggest that you are part of the problem with American education.

A Proud Texas Teacher

Anonymous said...

I am an 8th grade English/journalism teacher and the mother of a 13 year old boy. For one, as far as I know, the 1st Amendment guarantees our right to a free speech and press. Darren, as you well know, you can blog any bloody thing you want and if you were to get fired over it, sue the crap out of your admin. Secondly, HE'S 13! That's what 13 year old boys DO. Stop looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, Ms. Smith. Our sons are doing other heinous things like growing hair on their bodies and experiencing hormonal surges that rival a tidal wave. I am in my forties, and my teen years predate the Internet age. Back then, boys looked at Playboy. Is that the fault of the publisher? The person who bought the magazine? (Might have even been their Dad or granddad!)
It isn't fun to think of our sons growing up and not being our babies anymore, and it's downright yucky to think of their burgeoning sexuality and eventual sex lives. But they will have one some day, and rambling onto a sight with some aging hippies letting it all hang out is among the least of my worries as a parent.

In the end, sometimes, a wise parent should just close the door quietly and tip-toe away. They all grow up. You've given him the tools to make the right choices. He's just curious.

Southeastern Teacher

PS- Is there a law against teacher's watching Bevis and Butthead? Uh oh…

James said...


First, since when are naked bodies in non-salacious (and frankly I'm not quire sure how one should go about defining "salacious", but I suppose we all know what I'm writing about) poses represent anything that's lewd? Or are you of the John Aschcroft school of any exposed body part, such as the breasts of the statue of Ms. Justice, should be covered? Do you have the same problem with Michelango's "David"? Why is there lewdness in what you're seeing here? If you're trying to protect your child from breasts and exposed penises, good luck and be sure to keep him out of the locker room.

Please, oh please, do get the school administrators involved, I beseech you Sandy! Try to rally the education community as you threaten to do --- show us your righteousness, the purity and justness of your cause! I can use a good laugh.

If you don't want your 13-year old son seeing breasts and any other body part you may find lewd and offensive, keep him off the web, or be sure you're sitting on his shoulders the whole time he's there, and maybe you can find some time to send some silly notes to those who truly do engage in something I'd be interested in protecting kids from. Maybe if you were a bit less obsessed over breasts and nudity (there may be a therapist issue here for you Sandy, take it under advisement, please) your progeny may not think very much about it (though for a normal 13-year old boy it's hard to call) and he'd be a perfectly healthy young man who can deal with things like unexpected, non-pornographic nudity with a smile and some appreciation for the beauty of the human body (though admittedly few of the pictures Darren's hyperlink took me to did much for my aesthetic, or any other, sense), vice getting constipated and bent out of shape over something that's perfectly naturally. But in the meantime I really want to see you go on that hunting trip after Darren, I mean it's not often I can see a self-righteous mother have to deal with the fact that the world is not nearly as silly ("In this reality no one's ever naked and if for some reason they are we should NEVER look at - let's not even think about touch - them!" - not expecting grandkids too soon, are ya?) as she'd like to think it is, and you're apparently overdue.

Darren said...

I'm going to try to toss an olive branch to Sandy here. Ok, it's a twig, but I'm going to try.

I applaud you for actually knowing what your son's doing online. And if he called your attention to what he was seeing, then you've obviously instilled in him some sense of values. Either way, you come out looking like a diligent parent. Kudos to you.

As I've said to others in private emails, this current post did not demonstrate an apogee of maturity for me. I responded as I always to do threats--with hostility and aggression. I won't apologize for it because your threats were real, not just perceived. But I do recognize that this wasn't the most mature way to respond.

But come on. That third dog picture really is funny, isn't it?

Now, let's discuss my Republicanism and "family values". I'm a political conservative but a social moderate. The Republicans come closest to representing my views so that's what I register, but I'm dead set against some of the seemingly Republican social views. Personally, I have no problem with gay marriage, and in fact would prefer to get government out of the marriage business altogether. I also wouldn't mind seeing marijuana legalized, since I don't think it's any worse than the rum and coke I drink once or twice a year (and no, I don't smoke anything). Even though I don't like the idea of starving people to death, I thought the congressional involvement in the Terri Schiavo case to be abhorent.

So I have my own views on things, and I endeavor to be consistent. I'm a small government conservative and have my own set of values. I don't appreciate your lecturing me about "family values".

Hopefully we understand each other a little better now.

Oh, the Education Wonks have a short story about our little feud over at

Coach Brown said...

You guys are giving Sandy way too much credit.
1) The CTA has no juristiction over teachers in this matter. In fact, if there was a problem, they would be obligated to assign legal representation, as per their own statues. But there is no problem, so who cares.
2) In terms of nudity, I guess I'm going to jail. I have two units I do with freshmen World History students regarding the Renaissance and Impressionism. Both contain artwork that have nudes. It is perfectly acceptable. As are the pictures and videos that U.S. History students show of nude protesters in the 1960's.
3) He posted a warning, which is in accordence to the law.
4) It's his website, and contains no legal connection to the school.
5) Talk to your child about what is being shown, and this very issue. It's a hell of a lot more important than making a big deal about a couple naked people protesting. Be an educator!

EdWonk said...

The First Amendment's guarantee of the freedom to express one's political opinions applies to Teachers as well as Everyone Else.

We don't surrender any of our rights as citizens simply because we choose to serve students in the classroom.

Greg said...

If he's a typical 13-year-old, he's probably seen a lot worse than this and, maybe, done a lot worse. 13-year-olds are a lot more worldly today than they used to be. I too think it's nice that Ms. Smith knows what her son is looking at on the Internet, but I have a feeling she doesn't know what he's doing every hour of the day. That's what is important, not picking on a blogger.

Mr. McNamar said...


This past spring I experienced a similar situation regarding my blog. I spoke out about a serious violation of dress code and my disappointment with the incident. The parents and students wanted to censor me and tried to intimidate me. Heck, they went to the local news with it. And that is what Sandy has done. As I found out, you are protected. Like your incident, I do not broadcast to my students the website, nor do I ask them to visit. We may be teachers, but that does not limit what we discuss or write about. Keep posting. And I hope that Sandy takes your olive branch--for the sake of her credibility as an educator. But for me, the bigger issue here is the incessant need of some people to march down to administrators and supers to whine and complain about every little issue. I feel like I am back in 1st grade.

Anonymous said...

This discussion trail certainly took on a life of its own.
Sandy, I respect that you have the right to express your own opinion.
As does Darren.
Despite your anger, it might be important to know that you underestimate your perceived opponent.
However, you will certainly do what you believe is the right course of action. That's what we have in this country - a fair bit of freedom of action and thought.
I think you are wasting your time and breath.
But you are more than entitled to do so.

Darren said...

I'm so far from the line with these posts, the line is a dot to me :-)
(Anyone recognize that from Friends?)

I'm not convinced there is any "official" action that can be taken, so I feel free to respond however I like. I even offered an olive twig; we'll see if she takes it.

I still view myself as the aggrieved party. No doubt Sandy sees herself in that role.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Jerry, if you read your own source on conduct unbecoming, the exact sort of speech engaged in here would be invariably vindicated as protected and not grounds for discipline.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to tell if "Sandy Smith" is still reading or posting with this thread, but if I may speak as both a college educator and as a parent, I have a couple of comments for her:

Wanting to protect your son from lurid content on the internet is laudable, but threatening a teacher whose blog has a link to a non-pornographic web site featuring women's breasts is not going to accomplish that goal.

First of all, it's almost certain that any disciplinary action you initiate is going to result in Darrell being vindicated. This blog is, after all, his personal space, and he may write whatever he wants on it. Period. Whether it's agreeable or not. As long as it doesn't break the law. So your actions will only serve to solidify the very thing you are trying to act against.

Second of all, it's not the job of the state to protect your children from this stuff. It's the job of the parents. It's a very difficult job, but thank goodness, the state isn't mandated to do it for us.

Third, the approach you are taking here is not rational. Should ALL web sites run by educators that contain a link to some potentially offensive site be taken down? If so, where do you stop? Do you punish educators who have a link to a site that MIGHT be offensive to ONE person? Or how about a teacher with a site that contains a link to a page that has a link to such a site? Are we trying to absolutely hermetically seal our kids off from disagreeable web content? If so, this is frankly a fool's errand. The web is just too big, too robust, and too full of lurid content for us to expect to be able to simply make that content inaccessible.

The right approach seems to me to be to monitor our kids' internet use carefully; teach them well at home to inculcate moral values so that this content wouldn't be desirable; and practice civility towards people like Darrell who clearly didn't intend to peddle pseudo-porn to students. On that last point, maybe you should have just ASKED Darrell to please take that link down, rather than come out from the get-go spouting out threats of disciplinary action. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

Anonymous said...

Duh, the guy's name is DARREN not DARRELL. Sorry about that.

And I put my email down instead of my website! Not my morning so far.

Jenna said...

If a parent wants to protect their child from seeing "lewd" images, it would behoove them to activate the parental controls for their computer - almost all computers come with such functions pre-installed as do most ISPs.

Parental responsibility is just that... if you want to be considered the parent, you need to be responsible for your child's actions and not expect that others will do this for you. If you would like Mr. Miller to be responsible for you child, you should contact a lawyer and start adoption procedings.

FWIW - in addition to turning on the parental controls on the computer, you should also follow your child around the library to make sure that everything there is acceptable. Also, warn him of the dangers of reading National Geographic as there are many "nekkid" photos therein without any disclaimer whatsoever on the cover. You also might want to contact your legislative representative as NG has been doing this for years - my father saw his first breast therein in 1960!

tim maguire said...

I noticed Sandy identified herself as a Republican. I think that's excellent.

After years of Karl Rove's masterful insertion of moles into left wing discourse (for example,, Kos, Howard Dean, Michael Moore), there's actually appeared someone on the left with the wits to match tactics.

I assume Sandy is just the prototype and future moles will be better.

Anonymous said...

sandy, what r u thinkin? theres no way you can hurt Darrens reputation...i think im going to go 2 your princiPAL and let him kno that u cant spell and that you should not be a teacher because even me, a 16 year old can spell principal...(and u call urself and educator..) i think its funny that you are worried about him seeing breats on a picture of people protesting...theres so much worse stuff that he probably looks at all the time when ur not home....u can find pictures of anything on the internet...if i were you i wouldnt be trippin over a stupid little picture of naked protestors....

thanks for the pizza miller..

Anonymous said...

I just find this all very sad. First of all, Darren does have a right to write what he wishes. That being said, as a fellow teacher I know that we often have to tread softly. In the state that I teach in, this could possibly cause you to lose your job. In this situation, it is good that you are on the “left coast”. As a behavior specialist, I find it sad that Ms. Smith has missed a perfect teachable moment with her son. Instead of blowing up and all, she could have used this as a lesson for her son to learn proper uses of the internet and how “questionable” material can show up in the most “innocent” places. Since he is 13, she could have also had some great conversations about sex and the objectification of women. Instead, she just did what a lot of parents do. She blew it out of proportion. He was just being a normal teenage boy. It is far better for him to explore his curiosities than to repress them, thus causing some serious issues in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Mr. Miller!

I'm an English teacher in South Dakota, and I'm having a little trouble wih some parents upset about some of my off-duty blogging. I'm curious: did you ever reach any resolution with Mrs. Smith? Did your administration take any action at all? If things worked out for you, let me know! I could use a good precedent for my own arguments before the board. Thanks!

Cory Allen Heidelberger
Lake Herman, SD

Darren said...

She disappeared, as I knew she would. California has fairly strong protections for teachers in areas such as this.

Some states don't. Recently a 20-year teacher was fired in Texas because she took students to an art gallery--and they passed some nudes! Permission slips and everything, and she still got fired. That's nuts.

I'm a firm believer in the 1st Amendment and no teacher gives up that right as a condition of employment. In fact, the only people whom I can think of that *do* give up some 1st Amendment rights as conditions of employment are military folks, which teachers certainly are *not*.

It's just as stupid for the school to go after you for what you do on your off-duty time as it is for schools to go after students for what they do on their out-of-school time. I can't imagine that blogging can even fall under a morals clause, if you have one in your contract.

I'd recommend contacting the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Let me know how things go. I'm interested!