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Austin schoolteacher who didn't believe Linux existed Answered

From linuxlock:

A teacher in Austin who threatened to report a local free-Linux-machines charity to the police because "there's no such thing as free software" and they had therefore deceived the student she caught distributing Linux disks in class.

The teacher sent an email to the blog, which sparked this whole incident.

The teacher's initial email: (Thanks, gmoon!)

After confiscating the disks I called a confrence with the student and that is how I came to discover you and your organization. Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. These children look up to adults for guidance and discipline. I will research this as time allows and I want to assure you, if you are doing anything illegal, I will pursue charges as the law allows. Mr. Starks, I along with many others tried Linux during college and I assure you, the claims you make are grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods. I admire your attempts in getting computers in the hands of disadvantaged people but putting linux on these machines is holding our kids back.

This is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all. I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older verison of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them...

Original Article which started the situation

New Article that clears things up

Discussions

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bounty1012

9 years ago

Lol, the only operating system I will ever use is either Windows Xp or the new windows 8.0

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lemoniebounty1012

Reply 9 years ago

Windows 8.0?! Damn, I've only just got used to the idea of 7 - is this beta? L

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bounty1012lemonie

Reply 9 years ago

Lolz I cant remember what number it was it was eitther 7.0, 8.0 or 9.0

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KentsOkay

9 years ago

Austin Texas Austin?

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KentsOkayKentsOkay

Reply 9 years ago

I will deal with this miscreant accordingly, show them the Bliss that is Mac...

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Kiteman

9 years ago

Fortunately, though, after a horrendous, over-the-top reaction from the slash-dot community, the facts have been set in place, and four days after the original blog-post, the blogger is apologising for setting the whole mess in motion.

Because of one blog-post about one teacher who was ignorant of one fact that didn't affect her professional approach or her ability as a teacher, an entire profession got dragged through the mire for a few days, and mud sticks, especially when many of the commentators will not have bothered to check the facts, and then not checked back later for developments.

*I too would have confiscated discs a child was handing out during a lesson and telling their friends to put on any computers they use, and I would also have been sceptical about the motives involved (the software might be free, but discs aren't, and it's quite possible that the discs were deliberately infected with something, or contained unsuitable material). I wouldn't have contacted the police without checking first, but that's a minor quibble, since any teacher has to treat as suspicious an adult handing out free discs to minors.

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killerjackalopeKiteman

Reply 9 years ago

That and schools are very tetchy about security on computers, usually from fear of explicit material scarring someone, we have an issue in tech with it all, our macs are barely surviving because they are now connected to a server across town, which is a bad plan for trying to run demanding video editing software and it's probably killing their servers, now we keep losing work as the machines suddenly wet themselves and they keep babbling about security issues, more so because there are students as young as 15 on the machines at some points and special needs classes are occasionally run. I have strong enough opinions on the way those classes are run as it is, a teacher actually told me how nasty I was because I had an intelligent conversation with a guy in the class one day, which was sickening, both of us were doing photoshop and were teaching eachother different tricks in it and discussing general stuff, apparently unless the class is molly coddled and patronised they'll never learn

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n8mankillerjackalope

Reply 9 years ago

Just this year my old middle school banned flash drives(well, at least the head computer teacher did) because another, less convenient, way of transferring files between home and school has been found. My high school has also banned them but I do not know if this is the first year that they are banned.

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killerjackalopen8man

Reply 9 years ago

At the end of the day it's an effective an important way of moving stuff around, they'll switch back soon, those school systems fail all the time when noone's using them much, if they're under any load they'll really go to bits.

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n8mankillerjackalope

Reply 9 years ago

My schools just fears viruses (both intentional and unintentional) and with the growing intelligence of each grade it is an understandable fear, but I really want to bring in some of my flash files.

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skunkbaitkillerjackalope

Reply 9 years ago

That's genuinely sad. Some people are so afraid of anything productive!

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killerjackalopeskunkbait

Reply 9 years ago

I do know there are some people that aren't such ****s about special needs teaching but there are too many that way... I don't get the idea of it all, if you treat anyone like a person they tend to respond, in most cases, there are some times less usual approaches are necessary but all the same, if there's a guy who barely speaks to people having a great conversation then let him have it... The classes themselves produce a stigma aswell, which makes things worse, the other two guys were openly shoving a kid back and forth between them because he's a little off....

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skunkbaitkillerjackalope

Reply 9 years ago

"Special needs" is such a sensitive topic. There's so much political correctness involved. Most of the SN folks I've known have been well versed in a topic or two, and really come out of their shell (and at the very least enjoy themselves) if they just get treated like regular folks for a change. Can you imagine being "talked down to" ALL the time?!! No wonder so many of them turn inward!

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killerjackalopeskunkbait

Reply 9 years ago

Exactly, I understand the need for protection/precautions but at the same time it's unreasonable to talk down to people that much, granted some people get so sick of it they start assuming people are talking down to them... Maybe at some point this kind of stuff will be common sense, rather than avoiding eye contact...

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gmoonKiteman

Reply 9 years ago

Hmmm. Ken Starks may have made some unfound accusations regarding Microsoft and the NEA, but the teacher's her over-the-top reaction was patently ignorant. Ignorant to the point of accusing Stark of illegal activies and even threatening him.

If that's how the teaching profession deals with the open-source community, there's a real problem.

I personally have taught at both the high school and college level, although teaching isn't my vocation. I can understand the need for discipline, and have a certain amount of sympathy for the teacher--but I cannot for the life of me understand how a teacher could draft this type of statement without doing at least a little research first... Some teachers loose perspective, and expect the rest of the world to respond to the same techniques they use in class.

The teacher's initial email:
After confiscating the disks I called a confrence with the student and that is how I came to discover you and your organization. Mr. Starks, I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom. At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. These children look up to adults for guidance and discipline. I will research this as time allows and I want to assure you, if you are doing anything illegal, I will pursue charges as the law allows. Mr. Starks, I along with many others tried Linux during college and I assure you, the claims you make are grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods. I admire your attempts in getting computers in the hands of disadvantaged people but putting linux on these machines is holding our kids back.

This is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all. I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older verison of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them..."

Anyway, both 'advocates' learned something, The two camps (MS and Linux) will continue to snipe at each other over who should shoulder the blame. Of course, if this illustrates a problem, that's a good thing.

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Keith-Kidgmoon

Reply 9 years ago

Wow, I was looking for the original thing! Thanks a lot! I can see how this whole thing started....Seriously, thanks!

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gmoonKeith-Kid

Reply 9 years ago

Well, I imagine Starks sent the first email after being contacted by the student or his parents. I can't imagine that his email wasn't somewhat incendiary, too. Something to the effect of "you give that student back his property which you so unfairly took from him!"

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Keith-Kidgmoon

Reply 9 years ago

I want to see how he responded.....I haven't actually read the whole article, since I didn't understand what the teacher had said, but now that I know, I'll have to check out the article.

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skunkbait

9 years ago

Why didn't the teacher just ask LinuxMom?

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DJ Radio

9 years ago

I was telling my math teacher about linux, and she was like "what the hell is linux?"

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LinuxH4x0r

9 years ago

AHAHAHAHA! Sad but true

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Lithium Rain

9 years ago

O_0 That's both sad and hilarious.

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Derin

9 years ago

OMG!