The reaction was swift and sure, and it came from across the country.
A story in Saturday’s (Columbus) Dispatch about an immigration project run by Olentangy Liberty High School Spanish teacher Erica Vieyra sparked instant outrage. First, it drew fire from nationally syndicated conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, then from dozens of Internet bloggers before finally showing up on the Drudge Report, an online aggregator of news sites.
Before long, the e-mail inboxes of administrators filled up and national radio talk-show hosts called looking for interviews. Even CNN wanted a comment.
Though the district went through an Internet phenomenon once before, after the superintendent banned two books from a high-school summer reading list in 2006, the national attention this time around caught Liberty Principal Mark Raiff off guard. Locals, it seemed, weren’t calling or stopping Raiff on the street to complain. The story grew online.
“We’ve been bloggercized,” Raiff said. “But I am in 100 percent, absolute support of Ms. Vieyra and, as I watched this project all the way through from beginning to end, I knew the students were learning incredible things.”
This was the fifth year that Vieyra had assigned the project. Forty Spanish V students assumed make-believe Latino identities, researched life in their “home” countries and developed plans to get into the United States. The students first filled out actual paperwork from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and, after Vieyra denied them entry, they developed plans to sneak in.
The students researched places to live, work and bank. Then, by the end of the project, they devised a way to gain legal status, by marrying a citizen or becoming a student, for example.
Of the hundreds of e-mails that have flowed into The Dispatch since the story appeared, a majority accused Vieyra of indoctrinating students with liberal rhetoric. Many called for her dismissal.
I cannot believe they are wasting time teaching such crap to high-school kids. What part of illegal don’t these educators understand? Why is this teacher still working in the school system? wrote a woman from Cincinnati.
Erica Vieyra is manipulative, dishonest and immoral. Her snide little experiment is a waste of valuable education time and is a thinly veiled effort to encourage illegal immigration, wrote a man from Dayton.
……Vieyra said the district’s support has overwhelmed her. She said she’s charged with not only teaching Spanish but also making sure the students learn about the perspectives, products and practices of Spanish-speaking cultures.
The kids are clueless:
Her students also support her. The day they presented their projects, no students said they had come to the conclusion that illegal immigrants are going about things the right way.
I hope they came to the same conclusion as millions of angry American citizens.
The fact that such a project drew national fire doesn’t surprise Ezra C. Escudero, director of Ohio’s Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs. He said the immigration issue no longer has a middle ground. “It has become a hypercharged, polarized debate on the fringe,” he said. “But it involves real people in real situations, and we must find a way to be able to discuss it civilly.”
The invasion of millions of illegals into our country should be a unifiying issue. The liberals tend to label those who disagree with law-breaking advocates as “polarizing”. We are about 25 million illegals past being “civil”.
That doesn’t happen much online, experts say. Kelly McBride is an ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“The Internet is a contact sport,” McBride said. Things that once would have been very local news stories now spread like wildfire, she said.
Those interviewed or involved, she said, often underestimate online reaction. “Once the snowball gets rolling there’s nothing you can do about it except recognize the Internet is a mob mentality and deal with it.”
Well, I for one am thankful for the internet. It provides us with a voice to speak out against lunkheads like Vieyra. Ain’t free speech grand?
Congratulations, Olentangy. You have taught children that the felons who traipse across the border everyday are somehow justified for breaking the law. Ever read Title 8 of the U.S. Code? You ought to. It spells out the penalties in black and white for illegally entering this country along with the consequences for aiding, abetting, harboring, and hiring those who do.
The real message to these kids is how to subvert the law, falsify documents, and commit fraud.
In typical leftist fashion, you’ve forgotten the actual cost of illegal immigraton.
We pay millions of dollars for ill-gotten health care, not to mention the cost to society because of the murders, rapes, molestations, assaults, thefts and subsequent incarcerations. And you wonder why American citizens are so angry.
While your at it, how about having your pupils put themselves in the shoes some of the victims of the “open borders” concept, like murdered Newark students Iofemi Hightower, Doshen Harvey, Terrance Aeriel, and Natasha Aeriel.
Why don’t you put American civics back into the cirriculum? That would be more useful than misguided sympathy for criminals.
Consider yourselves “bloggerized”.