The Teacher and The Tea Party

By Elizabeth Rich — April 21, 2010 1 min read
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Fox News is reporting that the Oregon affiliate of the controversial Tea Party movement isn’t looking to punish an Oregon middle school technology teacher for publicly lambasting the group. They want him to get help.

According to Fox, on his now-defunct “Crash the Tea Party” website, teacher Jason Levin allegedly expressed his intention to “dismantle and demolish” the movement. His alleged offenses include asking his supporters to collect Social Security numbers and other personal identification information from Tea Partiers. He’s also being called out for intending to embarrass the movement by attending rallies dressed as Adolf Hitler and carrying signs with “racist, sexist, and anti-gay epithets,” says Fox.

In turn, Geogg Ludt, the founder of the Oregon Tea Party, is calling for Levin to undergo “sensitivity training and some anger management therapy.” “We don’t want to see Jason Levin fired. We want to see him helped,” said Ludt. “We want to reach out to him and we want to use his actions as a teachable moment.”

In a press release, however, Ludt also asked for the Levin’s school district of Beaverton to “apologize for inadequately supervising [Levin]; issue a written pledge to thoroughly investigate whether Levin encouraged his students to repeat overtly racist statements; and to send a letter to staff reminding them of district policy prohibiting teacher engagement in political activity on school time or using school resources.”

The state education board has responded to Levin’s actions by placing him on administration leave while they determine whether the technology teacher “promoted identify theft against Tea Party activists and misused school property.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.