Teacher: “No Software is Free” [Updated]
A thoroughly shocking saga from “across the pond”.
This blog is momentarily interrupted to bring you a snippet of recently received email.
…observed one of my students with a group of other children gathered around his laptop. Upon looking at his computer, I saw he was giving a demonstration of some sort. The student was showing the ability of the laptop and handing out Linux disks.
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…”
xxxxxxxxx Middle School
Where on earth does one start? I assume that AISD is the
Austin Independent School District,
1111 W. 6th Street,
This teacher’s position is frankly scary; to be in a position of authority and yet be so ignorant. I would suggest that she is sent on a two day FOSS course at AISD’s expense and then asked to give presentations/tutorials to the rest of her teaching community. She could also burn some CDs and give them out too.
I really hope that my children (who both use Edubuntu) will not encounter such blind ignorance during their school life.
I hereby pledge that I will do my utmost to help any offending teachers should this arise.
Update: Helios has written a postscript to this story after it became caught up in a frenzy of /. and digg mania. It seems as though Helios thinks he needs to apologise for something. Personally I didn’t feel that he had done anything wrong in his original post (he did keep the teachers identity private afterall) but clearly he didn’t like the tone of many of the comments. That’s honourable and almost certainly the right thing to do. But surely this is a two way street? Don’t you agree that Karen should have done at least a modicum of research before launching her exocet? Afterall she is a teacher…