Student Sits Through National Anthem, Gets Kicked out of Class and "Roughed Up"

From Moncton’s 91.9FM radio station last Thursday:

Miramichi teacher suspended after student sent to office

April 26, 2007 – 5:43 pm

MIRAMICHI, NB – A teacher has been suspended after sending a student to the principal’s office for refusing to stand during the Canadian anthem.

Eric Cameron, a Grade 9 teacher at Miramichi Valley High School, was disciplined following the incident last Thursday.

The superintendent of District 16 school board has declined comment, citing privacy issues.

The student who wouldn’t stand was roughed up after the incident by others on a school bus.

He wasn’t seriously hurt.

Supt. Randall Hansen of Miramichi Regional Police says they’ve spoken to a number of witnesses but charges haven’t been laid.

It can take guts to stand up for your beliefs and not stand up for the national anthem. Especially when you’re a high school student disobeying a teacher’s orders. Especially when you live in a conservative small town, where not standing for the anthem can mean – as it did in this case – getting “roughed up” by your jingoistic “peers”.

Now, subsequent to the above story getting in the news, the school principal issued a statement saying that the teacher was not suspended for kicking the kid out of class, but for some other reason. Right-wing bloggers, for their part, vented their indignation that the teacher might be suspended. For his part, anarchist Duane Rousselle (who had gone to the same high school as a youth) wrote an open letter to the principal calling on them to not rescind the suspension.

Miramichi, from what i understand, is a very white and relatively poor town in New Brunswick. People there have been fucked over by capitalism, but for all that there is not a lot of anti-capitalist sentiment. Rather, people are either blamed for their own difficulties – or else the blame is projected onto a convenient scapegoat, most usually the Mi’kmmaq who recently had some of their national rights to regulate their own lobster trapping in the Miramichi Bay recognized.

Indeed, from what i have heard, the surprise is not that the student got roughed up, but that he dared to take his stand (so to speak) in the first place. Most young radicals leave, going to places like Fredericton or Moncton the first chance they get.

It is a necessary part of our building a movement that we link up with people in places like Miramichi, help them break through their isolation, supporting them to the degree that we can. How to do that may not be obvious, but it should be on our agenda.


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