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Teacher Leaves Muslim Student In Tears

A Houston Algebra teacher at Clear Brook High school (Mr Todd Burrows) mocked a 9th grade Muslim student by telling her “I heard about about your uncle” after Bin Laden’s death.  The student’s mom says she was offended by what her daughter says happened Monday in ninth grade algebra.  She said, “The teacher told the student that ‘I bet you’re grieving.’ And she basically looked at him and said what are you talking about? And he said I heard about your uncle’s death and she said wow, because she understood that he was referring to Osama Bin Laden being killed.”

I came across this story while checking my email messages.  The headline that I saw read: “Teacher Mocks Muslim Student: “I Heard About Your Uncle”.  When I first read that headline, I have to admit I did giggle a little.   Although it was a quick visceral reaction, it was still wrong of me to find humor amidst the racist torment that this Muslim student must have felt.  All through elementary and junior high school I was the only Black kid in most of my classes, and I have gone through similar situations with racist teachers as well as racist classmates.  Because of this, I can definitely  relate to this young female student.  You would think I would be the last person to find humor in something like this, and I am just as confused as you are by my initial reaction.   I guess I have some “issues” of my own to work out… but I will say that I think this teacher should be fired ASAP.  Kids go through so much these days and the last thing they need to worry about is ignorant teachers alienating minority students by making racist comments in front of their classmates.  Some kids look up to their teachers, so when a comment like this is made, it sends a signal to those impressionable minds that this kind of behavior is acceptable.  When an educator displays this type of poor judgement, punishing them with “administrative leave” does not go far enough.  They need to be fired and made to attend some kind of racial tolerance class before they can even apply for another teaching job.

I think it’s great that the girl’s classmates stood up for her.  It gives me hope for their generation.  I think this teacher could learn a thing or two from these students… it’s called CHARACTER (and that’s something he clearly does not possess).

FYI – The school would not release the name of the teacher to the press, so I had to do a little detective work to find out who he was.  It was not an easy task but I didn’t give up.  I thought it was wrong to protect this man’s identity.  I was even able to locate a picture of him and his wife.  I know the quality isn’t very good, but it was the only one I could find.  I hope this incident will make Mr Todd Burrows take a long hard look at himself, and want to become a better person.  Everyone makes mistakes and I believe redemption can be achieved by anyone that’s willing to admit their shortcomings and work diligently to overcome them.  

11 Year Old Hangs Himself Because of Bullies Calling Him Gay

When I first heard this story last night, I got physically ill. I had to turn the tv off because I felt an eruption of emotion waiting to explode up out of me and manifest itself in the form of violence. Words can not describe how horrible all of this is. It made me angry, upset, vengeful, and hurt all at the same time. Anderson Cooper interviewed the boys mother on his show last night. You could see how deep her pain was just by looking at her. As she began to tell the story of what happened, I struggled to choke back tears so I could listen to everything she was saying. When she showed a picture of her son, I looked at him and saw me. We even shared similar upbringings. I immedieatly felt a connection to him. I could probably tell you almost everything going through his mind that led to his suicide. The adults, the teachers, and all other authority figures failed this child. The measure of greatness in a civalized soceity can be measured by how it treats it’s weakest members. Judging from what happened to Carl Joseph, WE ALL FAILED HIM. His mother would be justified if she decides to sue the teachers, the principal, the school, the school board, and the state. Maybe this will finally make people see what intolerance can leads to. The blood of this innocent little 12 year old boy is on the hands of ALL those right-wing evangelical, hate spewing, homophobic, republican, bigots that are teaching their children that it is ok to treat gay’s and lesbians like inferior 2nd class citizens, because they aren’t real people anyway. They might not come out and say it like that, but that’s the message they are sending when they form groups to ban gay marriage, and when they pass laws to keep homosexuals out of the military, and when they preach in their churches about how much God hates gays, and that God is sending all homosexuals to hell. It’s very logical to make that leap in a child’s mind, and because of this, they think it’s ok to commit violent acts, and throw hate speech to gays because according to what they’ve been taught, Gays are evil horrible and damned by God and Jesus. WWJD? Jesus would want us to “discriminate, kill, bully, and get rid of” homosexuals”. … right? I’m only being facioious here to prove my point.
I’m trying to be optimistic about the future of this country, and the fact that we just elected the first African American President has made this a little easier, but when things like this are still going on in 2009, it’s like one step foward, and 2 steps back. When are people going to finally wake up, get wise, and stop spreading their ignorance disguised as “religion”. What ever happened to showing the love of God? Whatever happened to “judge ye not”? What ever happened to “Love thy neighbor”? For some reason, Christians tend to forget about those teachings when it comes to gay and lesbian people. They would rather fight for oppression, instead of learning about tolerance.

I’m just so so so very sad, tired, and depressed about what this beautiful child had to endure. It makes me feel powerless because I am only one man, and it’s going to take a lot more people than just me, to change things. And no matter what I do or say, I can not bring Carl back to his mother and make things better. His pain at school was so great that he thought hanging himself with an extension cord seemed like his only option. How many more children have to die before we open our eyes and open our hearts, and finally get rid of this ugly evil stain on our country known as hate and intolerance.

Here’s some links and video that explains Carls story in more detail:

RIP Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover

April 17, 1997 – April 13, 2009

11-year-old’s suicide brings bullying to forefront
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