And I Heard, As It Were, The Noise of Thunder…

...going 'round...and taking names.  Deciding who to free and who to blame...everybody will be treated just the same.

…going ’round…and taking names. Deciding who to free and who to blame…everybody will be treated just the same.

It’s good to have my hammer back.

Today, the District’s Health and Safety office was on campus long before I arrived early in the morning. There was much concern about the structure that has been erected in my building, to remove hazardous materials. There was further concern about the failure to communicate what this was all about with staff, since apparently there were decisions and meetings made about it over the Winter Break.

Meaning, quite simply, that Darth knew what all of this was about, and could have replied to my co-teacher….but just didn’t.

For nine days.

Nine days with a truck parking outside saying “Environmental Safety and Remediation,” disembarking workmen who entered the temporary structure in my hallway to don hazardous materials uniforms. Needless to say, the staff members found this stressful, while the students were simply curious.

Needless to say, I made sure I had a moment or two to talk with the various inspectors, and express the staff’s concerns. They were pretty clear that the information had been there, and simply wasn’t shared. This amazed me, because simply put, we have students in our care. Once a teacher make an inquiry about a strange construction in their building while school is in session, and the presence of hazmat wearing workers…it should be Standard Operation to just read every teacher in. You could send an e-mail to the entire staff, and be done with it.

But that was part two…as an interlude, to break things up, lets look at he black and white artwork:

With a little help from my friends.  That's how we do it.

With a little help from my friends. That’s how we do it.

Eight weeks ago, roughly, Darth arrived and really “Christianed Up” our meetings. I was pretty much told “just because it makes you uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean it has to change.” That’s pretty much the official slogan of Oppression, by the way. The First Amendment was considered Dust in the Wind, and various district bulletins were selectively quoted by Darth and Pledge LA to make the whole thing work out. I was told to pretty much just accept it.

It seemed like I did.

That’s why, some time ago, we had this issue: Defeat?!

For some time since…weeks in fact, there has bee a subplot in the strip, where the Hebrew Hammer had been cast into space, hurtling into the Sun. Time where I have been biding my time, and applying for things like the United Way Inspirational Teacher Award, and winning it. Time to set up a very public set of accolades, and meetings with fairly key figures.

More importantly…that award is precisely the ting that Pledge La would want to use for their own press and fundraising. As I departed school yesterday, both Darth and Pledge LA had letters from the lawyers of yesterday’s issue, suggesting in brief but strong words that since the work environment became discriminatory, I no longer found it acceptable for them to derive profit or publicity from my achievements.

Suggesting is actually too delicate. It straight up told them.

The timing of this was perfect. That letter happened the day of the Award, although United Way sent out an e-mail blast somewhat earlier in the day than mail call. Social media was utilized to generate such publicity, and numerous e-mails were sent to me by people that I consider hypocritical and deceptive in their dealings, congratulating me.

Once again, as I left for the award, my E-mail to all of the people I would be having dinner with, in my own honor, about Health and Safety issues on campus dropped from on high. I did not even cc Darth…since he had already failed to reply to multiple inquiries from my colleague.

Failure to read snail mail, and lack of advance notice about the e-mail resulted in an impressively poor day. I felt like I had sent a message, to be sure, but perhaps not one that was strong enough. We all know that Darths are wily and durable…they can regenerate, survive dismemberment and burning, transfer to clones…even live for a time without a head.

Education Darths are similar. This kind of thing was a mega hit, a bad day that left a worse taste in the mouth…but it wasn’t an Ender. It did illustrate that yes…the rest of the First Amendment was still pretty @#$%ing strong, and not to be trifled with. Still…Darths are slow learners.

However, like our hero, I once again have legal and political powers firmly in hand. I have demonstrated that unfair or unsafe practices, in the school where I teach, will not be tolerated, and will be met with extreme opposition, outside the basic scope and sequence of the average teacher. For the first time in a long time, I’ve taken a very serious swing BACK, and it hurt.

You could see it in his face.

I don’t feel the least bit bad about it. By no means should there every be a lack of communication on health and safety issues in a school…that’s beyond the pale. If you read this webcomic for any amount of time, you know how viciously I guard the Constitutional rights outlined in the Bill of Rights, and most specifically the First Amendment. Without those, teaching would be impossible for the lack of free speech, and the religious right would have even more control of our lives and thoughts than they do now. If you do both of those things…

…I have to come after you. For the good of my students, and for the hope that the system isn’t so hugely broken that it won’t self correct that kind of thing.

The best part was that it has been a long game. Honestly…Pledge LA and Salinious thought that with the passing of December, my First Amendment/Public School inspired rage must have passed over. Darth himself realized that my demeanor was cold, distant….but I still do the job over and above. No tantrums, no debate, very little contact. That’s where panel one came from, and also the post from two days ago.

They thought it was done. Over. That it wouldn’t come back.

This is because Suits and Darths don’t plan. They don’t know how to, because planning goes beyond buzzwords and double talk, and involves a kind of artistry of motive. A commitment to getting something DONE, anything really…so long as you have a Goal. You have to focus on it like a laser beam, and have some true grit to actually endure the frustration on the way to it.

You have to be willing to lose in the short term, because there’s a bigger battle that you stand for.

This story arc has been about that. I don’t plan the strip…I plan what happens at my work, and the strip is derived from those events.

Lets look again at my favorite panel, the hit from behind that goes right through, leaving destruction in its wake:

...I beheld a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death.  And Hell followed with him.

…I beheld a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death. And Hell followed with him.

Johnny Cash is great for captions about something that rough. Also, I’m making a button of that as soon as this posts.

The final panel is the key sentiment though. I am rejuvenated for fixing problems, and in fact affixing blame where needed. In part from the Andy Warhol endorsed power of relative fame, plus one healthy dose of serious assistance from friends in teaching, and friends outside of teaching…it all comes together. With perseverance, togetherness, and grit…we will certainly prevail over the forces of old and evil.

It’s good to be back.

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