Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Martha Broom

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Martha Broom’s letter to the editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram underscores how much she values the right to free speech. What Ms. Broom did not expound upon was the nature of the elementary school Principal’s bilingual education remarks. If the principal said something callous like “those Mexicans damn well better speak only English on the playground, in the cafeteria, in the classrooms, and anywhere else where I can hear them!” , then the ┬áprincipal should have been “retired”.

It is great to support “free speech”, but be sure you have your facts straight about what was said. I suspect Ms. Broom is well off and does not really have to work for a living because if she did, she would understand the importance of racially sensitive speech in the workplace. I know principals have a lot of pressure on them having to oversee the administration of useless IEP’s, dealing with overbearing parents, etc , but they still have to conduct themselves in an ethnically neutral way.

Incidentally there is also a Martha Broom who is a professor at Ohio University. Not sure if this is the same Martha, but many of her students like her according to Rate My Professors.

I read with sadness the article about John Walkinshaw, the principal of Bebensee Elementary in Arlington, who “retired” after expressing feelings to colleagues about bilingual education that were deemed politically incorrect. (See: “Principal retires amid inquiry into comments,” Monday) It reminded me of a business trip to Hong Kong in 1985, a few years before the People’s Republic of China was to reclaim Hong Kong.
A local clothing manufacturer took me to lunch at a local restaurant in Kowloon. I casually asked how he felt about the future of Hong Kong under the People’s Republic.
He looked over his shoulder several times before giving me a scripted answer that “it would be fine.” I realized he feared being overheard saying the wrong thing.

I’ve never forgotten that moment and the gratitude I felt for living in America, where I did not need to fear reprisals for expressing my opinion.Have we come to be like the man in Hong Kong? Can’t we share our thoughts without fear of reprisals? Isn’t this how we learn and grow?– Martha Broom, Arlington

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