UNITED STATES: 'Bring back Nevins!'


ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Rio Rancho High School (RRHS) teacher Bill Nevins' suspension and the linked free speech issues are mentioned in an article entitled "The Big Chill" by Alisa Solomon in the June 2 issue of The Nation.

A follow-up story in last week's Rio Rancho Observer described a public reading and publication of a poem (officially approved by RRHS administration) which directly attacked anti-war protesters and includes the line "shut your face", directed at opponents of the Iraq invasion. RRHS principal Gary Tripp is quoted in the same story as saying that the flag-raising ceremony at which the poem was delivered by RRHS military liaison officer Lawrence Morrell was "a new high as principal" for Tripp.

The substitute teacher assigned to Nevins' humanities classes reported that Nevins' former students have conducted spontaneous in-class demonstrations against Nevins' removal. The students held hand-made signs saying, "Bring Mr Nevins back" until they were forced to stop by school authorities.

One student, an outspoken poet in Nevins' grade 10 humanities class known for his direct and forceful poems and for his deep admiration for Chicano writer Jimmy Santiago Baca, refused to comply and was sent to the RRHS principal. According to the sub teacher, this same student has now dropped out of RRHS.

Sadly, the New Mexico chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has declined to look into Nevins' case.

From Green Left Weekly, June 4, 2003.

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