BoE’s Presberg slams printing of letter as ‘feeding racist attitudes’

Our family has been quite upset since reading last week’s published attack on Sandy Creek High School.

How can a newspaper be so irresponsible as to publish an anonymous attack based on hearing about one part of one isolated incident? As far as we know, no one tried to do any reporting or fact finding related to Sandy Creek High School. No one checked with any administrators or students. No one called any parents or teachers.

Because if they did they would know what we know. Because we’re there every day. We know that there is no unique discipline problem at Sandy Creek. We know that athletes are no more favored than AP students, or award-winning DECA club students, or any other of the students who are known personally by their teachers as hard working members of the Sandy Creek community. We know that there is no difference in the behavior, interests, ability, worth, desire, or any other qualities between the students at Sandy Creek and any of the other students in our county.

Why would a newspaper publish such a letter to the editor? The letter was a broad generalization based on one person’s account of what they heard about one incident. The letter denigrated a whole school’s culture based on what is essentially gossip, or hearsay.

There’s only one reason that the newspaper would publish such a letter, a letter that describes Sandy Creek as an “inner city school.” The only reason to publish such a letter is try to divide our community through fear. This letter preys on people’s fears that children who don’t look like their children, or dress differently than their children, or speak differently than their children, are not safe to be around. By printing an editorial like this, the newspaper is providing a forum for and feeding racist attitudes. And that is deeply offensive. A community paper should inform us and help us know each other better, not feed our misunderstandings and fears.

To print this also shows woeful ignorance of the true challenges faced by real “inner city schools.” Schools such as Harper High in Chicago where last year 29 current or former students were shot. (You can listen to a powerful podcast on Harper at http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/harper-high-s...). Schools where the entire student body struggles so much with daily survival that the children who truly want to learn and the teachers who really want to teach are up against insurmountable odds. No child at Sandy Creek or at any Fayette County school lacks the opportunity to succeed if they choose to do so.

We are father and mother, current and future student, board member and physician, coach and player, mentor and friend. We support every student at every school in our county. We treat everyone as our neighbors and members of our community. And we do this regardless of what our neighbors look or dress like, where they come from or what language they speak at home. And we will stand up to blind stereotyping, bullying and name-calling from wherever it comes.

Because we are Patriots.

Leonard Presberg, School Board Post 5

Elizabeth Moore, MD, Women’s Medical Center

Emma Presberg, SCHS ‘14

Eli Presberg, SCHS ‘16

Isaac Presberg, SCHS ‘20

Newsboy
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"Responsible" newspapers

Responsible newspapers don't print unsigned letters to the editor -- PERIOD! The Citizen proved long ago that it is not a "responsible newspaper." Mr. Presberg is right -- Cal Beverly has an agenda. Sad but true.

Larry.Sussberg
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Disappointment

I am disappointed and saddened to read some of the criticisms posted here because "until you have walked in the shoes of discrimination" for whatever reason, color of your skin, sexual preference, religion, it should be hard for anyone to really criticize.

Discrimination can be very subtle and have double meanings...much like the famed southern expression..."bless your heart".

When Mr. Presberg was appointed to the FCBOE, he was immediately attacked for an affliation he had with Free Thinkers and when asked his religious beliefs he was repeatedly questioned at a public meeting which was very frightful. One person demanded to know how he prays since Fayette was 70%+ Republican and Christian and others demanded to know if he would impose Hindu or Jewish theocracy and teachings in the schools. Question after question!

With all that being said, I know that Mr. Presberg works hard each and every day on behalf of our schools, children and parents. Parents will tell you he is one of the most visible board members in the community traveling to schools,speaking at parent groups, attending important sports events and classroom activities. He is totally engaged and involved.

As someone who has in the past walked in the shoes of discrimination, and knowing that Mr. Presberg recently walked in those same shoes as recently as his appointment to the FCBOE, I would ask people to be aware of his perspective on this, whether you agree or disagree but to think twice before criticizing and pointing fingers. I am not defending this article or Mr. Beverly's but I stongly believe enough has been said and we need to think twice before we speak...possibly both authors had good intentions but let's drop the spitballs, dirt bombs and sticks.

Thank you.

PTC Observer
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Mr. Sussberg - Discrimination & Mr. Presberg

It seems to me that Mr. Presberg and now you are twisting the dialog here, no one is denying that discrimination is prevalent in our society. No one disbelieves that we should treat others the way we would want to be treated.

However, the subject is behavior in our classrooms, the disruption that some students impose on other students and the inability or unwillingness of teachers to control this behavior. The fact that Mr. Presberg dismisses the possibility that such administrative/student behavior could exist shows either bias or neglect. Neither of which are good traits for an appointed official charged with the administration of countywide education. Mr. Presberg is not omniscient but perhaps he thinks he is?

I would suggest, that instead of indignation over a letter to the editor, Mr. Presberg could have been more creditable if he actually looked into the charges, proved them false and wrote of how he went about proving it. I believe this is called competency and due diligence.

The fact is, his knee jerk reaction and his own leap to bigotry and stereotyping has damaged both his office's stature and calls into question his ability to do his job. Calling someone racist because they have an opinion or voice a complaint is beyond the pale and is pure statism that uses the "R" word for intimidation. Not everyone is a racist, just those that don't happen to agree with you, right? We should have all learned from history what this type of official rhetoric can wrought on the human race. Never forget.

As to his attack on this newspaper's editor, well that speaks loads about his understanding of freedom and private property.

Thank you too, on this we will have to just disagree.

Now, let's see if Mr. Presberg can pull up is breeches and do his job in a rational and professional way. This what we expect from our appointed officials and elected ones as well.

Husband and Fat...
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Larry - I will throw it out there

Like it or not, FC is in the heart of the bible belt. One of the early questions we got from the local realtor was asking us what church were we going to join. She then tried to sell hers as the place to be. (Almost like she got a free month for referring us) lol.

When I joined a civic club, I would say half of the people inquired about my families church affiliation within my first 3 months of joining.

I have lived all over the US, working my way up the corporate ladder and I will say that though this happens everywhere, it was more prevalent here in FC.

Being seen at a certain church, to many, is more important than being a good citizen. Discrimination is alive and prospering in our own back yard.

Spyglass
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Pencil Thin Mustache

By: jimmy buffett
1974
Now they make new movies in old black and white
With happy endings, where nobody fights
So if you find yourself in that nostalgic rage
Honey, jump right up and show your age

Chorus:
I wish I had a pencil thin mustache
The boston blackie kind
A two toned ricky ricardo jacket
And an autographed picture of andy devine

I remember bein buck-toothed and skinny
Writin fan letters to sky king and penny
Oh I wish I had a pencil thin mustache
Then I could solve some mysteries too

Then it's bandstand, disneyland, growin up fast
Drinkin on a fake i.d.
Yeah, and rama of the jungle was everyones bawana
But only jazz musicians were smokin marijuana
Yeah, I wish I had a pencil thin mustache
Then I could solve some mysteries too

Then it's flat top, dirty bob, coppin a feel
Grubbin on the livin room floor (so sore)
Yeah, they send you off to college, try to gain a little knowledge,
But all you want to do is learn how to score

Yeah, but now Im gettin old, don't wear underwear
I don't go to church and I don't cut my hair
But I can go to movies and see it all there
Just the way that it used to be

Chorus:
That's why I wish I had a pencil thin mustache
The boston blackie kind
A two-toned ricky ricardo jacket
And an autographed picture of andy devine

Oh, I could be anyone I wanted to be
Maybe suave errol flynn or the sheik of araby
If I only had a pencil thin mustache
Then I could do some cruisin too

Coda:
Yeah, bryl-cream, a little dabll do yah
Oh, I could do some cruisin too

mudcat
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Great song, spyglass. On my ipod. Is it relevant somehow?

Can't believe it is 40 years old, but time marches on.

Oh, I get it now -

"Yeah, but now Im gettin old, don't wear underwear
I don't go to church and I don't cut my hair
But I can go to movies and see it all there"

A Haddix riff. Cool.

Who you voting for spyguy?

PTC Observer
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Free Thought - Mr. Presberg

Stop reading The Citizen......that's freedom.

Start your own newspaper.....that's freedom.

Print whatever you want to print in your paper.....that's freedom.

Run for representative office.....that's freedom.

Get fairly elected by your fellow citizens and represent them......that's freedom. (I am sure you are rushing to change the law that got you appointed instead of elected, right? Just another free thought for you there Mr. Presberg.)

Send your children to any school you wish them to go to without being forced to pay the state for this freedom.....that's freedom.

The truth is Mr. Presberg, you don't have any idea what is going on in the Fayette County schools, you just think you do. At least in your rant above it becomes pretty clear you don't.

As far as I know, no one has mentioned race but you, it is behavior that's at question here not race, not your neighbors, not the way people dress, and not the way people talk. Are your stereotyping? Who's being divisive?

Are you suggesting that there aren't disruptive students? Are you suggesting that some of those students that are disruptive can't be athletes? Are you suggesting that teachers and coaches can and are effectively disciplining disruptive students? You actually believe that there aren't any discipline problems at SCHS? NO disruption? You can't prove a negative Mr. Presberg, but as a free thinker, is it possible that the scores at SCHS could be better if we didn't have disruptive students? This assumes that you agree that there is a remote possibility that there are disruptive students.

You sir, don't have any idea what Freedom of the Press is all about, luckily Mr. Beverley does.

BTW, Free thinking requires an open mind Mr. Presberg, why don't you try it sometime? Start doing your job Mr. Presberg. If you can.

ginga1414
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PTC Observer - Freedom

I couldn't have said it better.

Mr. Presberg once told me that he cares about "ALL" Fayette County Students.

If that were true, it seems to me that he would have been out there trying to track down "Concerned Parent" and talk with that person and their child.

Considering the fact that Mr. Presberg is paid by ALL of the taxpayers, I think he should talk with ALL SCHS parents and students.

If Mr. Presberg is so in touch with ALL that goes on within the walls of SCHS, I'm sure he must know about a young member of my extended family who was bullied at SCHS to the point of having to leave the school. The bullying didn't stop at school. That particular student also received threatening phone calls at home. I guess Mr. Presberg also knows that the sibling of that particular student was so afraid at the school she had to transfer, also.

Surely Mr. Presberg also knows that bullied students would rather walk through fire than disclose names.

Why? Because of fear that things will only get worse if they tell!

There is nothing worse than being 15 or 16 years old and having some little something, be it clothes, hair, etc., that doesn't quite fit in with what other 15 and 16 year olds accept as acceptable.

Maybe he knows that parents of students who have been subjected to bullying fear even more retribution if they make a stink.

It seems that Mr. Presberg's "one isolated incident" isn't just "one."

I greatly appreciate the fact that Cal Beverly has the courage to let us ALL speak. I cherish my "Freedom of Speech!"

It is a crying shame that ALL students aren't free to receive a quality education in an environment that is FREE of turmoil caused by others.

It is also a crying shame that someone we have to pay to watch over the best interests of our children wants to take away one of the Freedoms most of us hold dear.

Davids mom
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Bullying

unfortunately is a national problem. Our young people, regardless of where they attend school, are too often victims of this act. A young girl committed suicide after being bullied at her high school. Social media, twitter and Facebook are now used as tools for bullying. Educators and parent groups throughout the country are being assisted in how to handle this. I hope such a program is implemented/ has been implemented in FC to help our students.

ginga1414
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David's Mom and Suggarfoot, I Agree

Concerned Parent was speaking from a frightened point of view. That parent didn't know which way to turn and did the only thing they could.

I've been there, too.

Hopefully, the dialog that has resulted from Concerned Parent's letter will provide others with information for thought about what really goes on within our schools.

I want Concerned Parent to know that there are other parents out here who understand what they are going through.

Joe Kawfi
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The bully in the White House

It's a sad day in America right now because we have a bully in the White House. He and his administration want to rule by intimidation, as evidenced by the recent scandals involving the IRS, Benghazi, and the AP reporters. obama sets a poor example. Children will look at what he and Holder are doing and think that it is o.k.

True leadership begins at the top, and obama has failed miserably in that respect.

suggarfoot
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Great point DM

Then we can all agree.... all kids at SC are not ALWAYS our little angels, and in fact do show out. The parent that wrote the article was on her last nerve with the situation. I can understand.

suggarfoot
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Great point DM

Then we can all agree.... all kids at SC are not ALWAYS our little angels, and in fact do show out. The parent that wrote the article was on her last nerve with the situation. I can understand.

Aztecgirl
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Makes me sad

I feel so sad for all of the hardworking, talented, compassionate students at SC who had to read the stupid letter from the gutless anonymous author. My niece, who is # 2 in her class there, and my nephew who graduated last year, also at the top of his class, were highly offended. I have watched countless athletic, fine arts, and other activities take place at Sandy Creek and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I also went to a less than desirable high school in Southern California, and I know first hand how it feels to be thought of as second rate and always being compared to a bunch of spoiled, white rich kids that attended the neighboring high school in La Jolla. But, in the big scheme of things, it doesn't matter. Kids are resilient and there are so many awesome kids at Sandy Creek, I wouldn't want my kid going anywhere else. To this parent that wrote this lame letter to The Citizen, please transfer your student elsewhere, and if you find a school with no discipline problems please let us know. Coward!

skyspy
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Is this the Best We Have to Offer?

After reading this angry childish tantrum I can see why parents are sending their kids to private schools. I would too. Is this the same rabid angry individual that verbally assaulted a parent in our 4th of July parade last summer? Is this really the best we have to offer for an elected position?

Umm Mr" Angry all of the time" Presberg it 's called the first amendment. This is the U.S A. and we are free to utilize our first amendment rights anytime we please.

Instead of being angry and defensive you might want to investigate this and other complaints. For the last 5 yrs . at least I have been hearing the same sad stories coming from parents of Sandy Creek students. Calmly addressing the issue like a true professional, is more effective than an angry race baiting outburst. Don't kill the messenger. You, are the only one who introduced race into this complaint, that says more about you and your small mind than it does about anyone else in this community. Luck with anger management classes.

Cyclist
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BoE's Presberg

Given the recent Federal court ruling regarding district voting I wonder if he'll keep his seat after the next election.

S. Lindsey
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Well that might be the fly in the ointment...

... after all we have to have fairness now. So maybe it is time for him to step aside and have a fundamentalist Christian take the reins.

I mean we want balance now right?

Cyclist
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SL,

Oh yes, it must be balanced. If not, they'll send in Holder's "balance" police from DC.

I wonder if the good BoE chairman will march with the Obama contingent July 4. I hope there's not another silly string incident.

Cyclist
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Dupe....

Grrrrrrrr

suggarfoot
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"We know that athletes are no

"We know that athletes are no more favored than AP students, or award-winning DECA club students, or any other of the students who are known personally by their teachers as hard working members of the Sandy Creek community. We know that there is no difference in the behavior, interests, ability, worth, desire, or any other qualities between the students at Sandy Creek and any of the other students in our county"

That is such a 'crock' pressberg!

My kid was NOT in Foot B...but it was in the papers of a coach that took in an out of county that was playing there and let them live with him so he could keep playing ball for SCH. That made the papers.

And while we are into the BS that I know of that went on there I might as well tell it.

My child came home one day totaly disgusted! It seems that a child who's parents were kind of VIP at SC (if we have anything like that there) Came in saying that the son (one of the favored there...one that no teacher thought could do any wrong because of who is parents are...) showed him a video that a friend of his made of him and his girlfriend getting it on. Seems the friend was hiding in the closet and both boys made the video without the girls knowledge) My son was totally grossed out. The girl may or may not have been underage at the time. I told him to go to school and tell it was being shown on school property. He said "Mom, you don't understand, he is their golden boy and they would brand me if I spoke up against him. It was really sad that my child felt that way. I didn't understand until 2 years later when the same 'golden boy' was charged with rape at the Univ of Ga!

The girl was smeared for telling it. And the last I heard the boy was kicked out for a 2nd time. It seems the girl filed charges the year before, it was hushed up and he was let back n school up there(on a scholarship I was told)....only to go after the girl again and get her roommate by mistake and either raped/ or attempted rape of her. He was wearing a speedo....anyone remember the speedo? Most at SC know who wore it.

This is to say all the "privileged" treatment only leads the other kids (mine) to think they can't speak out...and the "privileged" to act worse. I think the person that wrote the blog has every reason to say what they think...and I wonder why Presberg protest so loudly...Is this not a Democracy? Seems not if your kid goes to SC and doesn't go along with the BS! I never thought that much of Pressberg...now even less. The woman has every right to say what to her is true. I know what my kid came home and told me of the character of the other child seems to have been true. I feel for my child and his morals. The teachers he felt wouldn't believe him let him down.

It is AMAZING it wasn't in the papers here. Sure was in the Athens one!

skyspy
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We Know Suggarfoot, We Know

We have been hearing the same sad story for years.

Husband and Fat...
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Un.......believable

It's a shame that the editor of this paper felt the need to start a battle with a school board member he has never had a kind word for, simply due to a difference in the beliefs. I have contacted Mr. Presberg and he is always the first to respond to my inquiries. Even when I've disagreed with him, he always provides a rational response that conveys some information, that I might not have known. I respect the man.

Now:

IF the videotape "story" you claim is true, than you Suggarfoot should be ashamed of YOURSELF for not marching your hind end into the sheriffs office and filing a complaint, especially if you thought the girl was a minor or was not aware of the tape. It's not the responsibility of your weak son to stand up for what's right. It's yours, as a parent/adult/upstanding community member to demonstrate how we want our youth to become good citizens. Take a good look into the mirror tonight and know that if your story is true, you failed to do the right thing by not reporting the alleged crime. You could have saved the other girls the horror of being molested. But you left this slide.

You and the woman who wrote the letter last week are the weak ones who evidently are too afraid to stand up and face your alleged problems face to face with administration/police.

If this had been my daughter, and I discovered other adults knew and turned a blind eye because it wasn't their problem, there would be a problem when I showed up at the door.

suggarfoot
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My son

was Not the one showing a video. He was the one disgusted. He was BY FAR NOT the only one shown the video, so there were quite a few "weak" as you branded him, who didn't come forward. My son was NOT the one that was reported at UG by the same girl. My son was not the one that got suspended for a semester on a scholarship and then found his way back into UG, only to attack the same girl's roommate by mistake. As I said, it made the papers in Athens.

There was even a sad article written 'Nobody listened' that detailed the girl's complaints and how she somehow turned into the 'bad guy'. When the arrest was made, she was vindicated. How sad it had to go that far.

By my saying something now..he and I are being attacked by YOU. That is the same reaction that would have happened then if someone had spoken up against the "golden child". It seems you don't like the truth about how some things go right under the rug and the messagers are shot. That isn't the way it should have been at Sandy Creek.

I also don't see you saying a thing about the coach taking in the out of county kid to live with him so he could play ball for Sandy Creek.

It is disgusting that the woman had no place else to vent except the newspaper. And Pressbergs stupid reaction shows her comment s would not be welcome to his ears.

reddawg44
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suggarfoot.......
suggarfoot wrote:

I also don't see you saying a thing about the coach taking in the out of county kid to live with him so he could play ball for Sandy Creek.

You have mentioned this enough times already without someone calling you out on it. Do you mind disclosing the name of both player and coach involved in this situation? And furthermore, do you have some evidence that this did in fact occur?

I am guessing that you will not reveal the names of this student (now graduated or still at SC?) and coach (still at SC or moved on?). Nor do you have any sort of evidence to substantiate your claim. I say this because you have time and again supported this first article by a coward parent who didn't reveal their identity with unsubstantiated claims and take it as the the Gospel truth.

I am somewhat interested in your response, but then again I know you have no idea what your are talking about so your response will be quite predictable.

Husband and Fat...
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Reddawg don't hold your breath

She doesn't want to get involved.

Anyone who doesn't go to the authorities about an alleged rape and video of an underaged girl after her child told her about viewing it, needs to turn in their license to be a caring human being.

suggarfoot
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"Anyone who doesn't go to the

"Anyone who doesn't go to the authorities about an alleged rape and video of an underaged girl after her child told her about viewing it, needs to turn in their license to be a caring human being."

What my child saw was a video that was shown to many more than one child there. He never liked the kid and didn't at all consider him a friend. As I understand it, and stated before, one kid videoed his friend and the girl who never knew she was being taped...

What is happening now is the same thing that would have happene then. You are pronoucing the wrong person guilty. All the kids that saw it didn't say anything and probably for the same reason. Did they tell their parents? I don't know.

As for what ..DID... happen to the girl who spoke up repeatedly...and the indifference she was shown...just google "'Nobody listened': Former student built history of abuse (w/documents)

She was up against a brick wall.

TheRealityCheck
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Thank you, Mr. Presberg

Thank you for your eloquent response.

The one correction I would make is that the Citizen is not a "real" paper. From my observation its a place where the some in the community can spew their poison and hide behind a mask of anonymity. A real paper would be more responsible.

S. Lindsey
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Irony..the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite
TheRealityCheck wrote:

the Citizen is not a "real" paper. From my observation its a place where the some in the community can spew their poison and hide behind a mask of anonymity. A real paper would be more responsible.

Said while using a pseudonym and while being anonymous.

Now that's ironic....

TheRealityCheck
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I didn't write the letter...

I didn't write the letter that made some serious accusations against a school and its administrators. Why hide behind anonymity with such serious accusations? One could say anything that could cause unrest in a community - if its true then provide names, dates, and places. Better yet, if its true, talk to the schood administrators and teachers. This is like throwing a rock, and hiding your hand.

Yes...people do hide behind anonymity and say things they might not say if their name or their face was known. I do not use my digital mask as an opportunity to spew poison. I have worked in Information Technology Security for several years, and seriously, a savy tech geek could find out who you are right down to where you live the websites you visit. So while you think you are anonymous - you are not really, technically speaking.

You really get to know the truth about how your neighbors feel when they think they are not known.

BTW - It would be an irony *if* I said something I wouldn't say if you knew my identity. Anything I have said, I will say in public and not be ashamed or afraid.

fayettehuntman
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S.L.....ironic?...

Ironic ....or just plain hypocrisy?...either way, typical twisted liberal progressive thinking... seems they get that from the liberal progressive federal education system we have in place; especially in the so-called "higher learning" institutions. ..."professing themselves to be wise; they become as fools"