Friday, September 21, 2007

Earning the freedom to get an education

Tater (my favorite AF pilot) sends me tres kewl emails from time to time. Some are videos, some are jokes, and some are stories. This one was just too meaningful to pass up as a post. And it's a true story. Snopes has more, and I encourage you click the link to read, as Tater put it, "the rest of the story".

Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a
social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock ,
did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the
permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building
supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom. When the
first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no

Looking around, confused, they asked, 'Ms. Cothren, where're our desks?'
She replied, 'You can't have a desk until you tell me what you have done
to earn the right to sit at a desk.'They thought, 'Well, maybe it's our

'No,' she said.

'Maybe it's our behavior.'

She told them, 'No, it's not even your behavior.'

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third
period. Still no desks in the classroom. By early afternoon television
news crews had started gathering in Ms. Cothren's classroom to report
about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats
on the floor of the desk less classroom, Martha Cothren said,
'Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has
done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in
this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.'At this point, Martha
Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.
Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniforms, walked into that
classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the
school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside
the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place
those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their
lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, 'You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did
it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it's up to you to
sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to
be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom
to get an education. Don't ever forget it.'



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