Don’t believe the Pink Hello Kitty Bubble Gun Incident without looking deeper or until #suziespeaks

I'm angry. I'm angry because I've sat by too many times quietly and let educators be heckled. You know what I mean. Those preposterous stories of people who have done ridiculous things that shock us. We think,

“Really, would an educator REEEALLLLYYYY do that?”

Well, the answer is “NO THEY probably WOULDN'T.”

We have allowed a mainstream media to bully us as educators. We are bound by confidentiality. Parents and their children, however, are not.

I love children, I want them to be treated with love and fairly. I believe every child deserves to be loved. If you read my blog, I'm sick and almost sappy. Well, my friend Suzie Nestico (here with her students keynoting a project) is cut from the same cloth. When we were in India for the Flat Classroom Conference,  her students and me and my students were shopping in a local market. She saw one of my students getting nervous with a negotiation and helped her get out of buying something she didn't want and cared for her, until she made it through the crowds. I've known her for at least five years and presented with her several times. I've seen her interact with students and seen her work. I know her. I know she loves children.

Now, I don't know the circumstances or her side of the story with this article that hit Huffington  yesterday and ABC today. I ‘m not allowed to know nor do I want to know. But I know Suzie and the idea that she'd suspend a student for JUST having a pink “bubble gun” is totally ridiculous. There must be more. There are two sides to this story.

Her small rural community is a lot like mine where I'm pretty sure that people hunt and recreate in rural ways. She loves her small town, I've heard that as long as I know her. She's always told me that the people are some of the finest on earth and has always praised her superintendent and staff. She loves the people there.

But there is a disgruntled parent and children are involved. And do we really know what happened?

But this is not about the circumstance. I know nothing and AM NOT QUALIFIED TO MAKE A JUDGEMENT. Come to think of it… neither are you… neither is Huffington or ABC. There are two sides to every story.

However, if they looked deeper at the lawyer for this girl and her parents, they would find the lawyer that filed this court case, and who is known as the “NBA Heckler.” He is so rude and obnoxious that NBA athletes have written about him as mentioned in the video below. Of course, the Huffington post nor ABC says anything about this lawyer and the story is posted as fact.

Robin Ficker, the lawyer defending the parents and this child, and well known NBA Heckler who has actually had his license suspended for over a year for misconduct, defines a heckler as a person who:

“Is a someone who tries to take the mind of the opponent off their game, to get them thinking about something else – something the coach is something else — to take their mind about what they are supposed to be doing.”


Ficker is so obnoxious that the NBA adopted a policy known as the Ficker Rule — “You can't say anything that will interfere with coaches and players during time outs.”

He obviously LOVES media attention and will get it any way he can whether it is yelling at games, running for Congress, or sensationalizing stories. I heard once that most cults are actually 95% true, but the 5% is what gets you. I would say that this is often the case on issues between schools and parents. It is the 5% that gets you and you're not going to get at that fine grain, that fine line without all of the facts.

 Well. He's doing it again but now it is someone I care about, who doesn't deserve it.

Do children lie?

As I've blogged before, my sister had a young man write a poem. I'd like to quote from that blog post, The Sweet Smell of Success starts at home:

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by…” 

She gave the child a zero only to have the Mom call for a conference. The Mom brought her son, the handwritten poem and herself trouncing into my sister's  room and smacked the poem onto my sister's desk like someone playing in the last round of slapjack.

“My child wrote this poem and you ARE going to give him credit. Son, tell your teacher who wrote this poem:”

“Me. I wrote it.” He mumbled sheepishly.

“My son doesn't lie and he wrote this poem. Now what are you going to do about it.”

My sister got up from her desk, walked over to the corner and  quietly slid out a book. She opened to a page with the poem Sea Fever by John Masefield and opened it beside the poem.

“If your child wrote this poem he is not only a genius, he is a mind reader because his poem is in this book and was written by John Masefield.”

“All I know is if he says he wrote it he did, and you should give him credit.”

The Mom never backed down but my sister never did either. The child kept the zero but was taught by his Mom that it is OK to lie.

Children lie. Adults lie. And your children know that the biggest threat to their perceived self-preservation and status quo is if you actually start talking to their teacher. Get both sides of the story before painting yourself in a corner.

Do adults lie?

Lance Armstrong.

Does the media get it wrong?

Lance Armstrong.

And now… quite possible, the truth behind what happened in the Pink Hello Kitty Bubble Gun Incident. A story so preposterous that it is unbelievable. Maybe it is unbelievable for a reason.

I think if the truth was known that we would be hearing many different stories. The media is in competition for eyes and ears against social media so they have to get more and more sensational. Are they all bad — NO.

But, I would think that if they are brought a SENSATIONAL RIDICULOUS story from a man who behaves like the man in the video above that they would expose a man who not only heckles CHILDREN AT WRESTLING MATCHES but also does it to adults. To educators, no less, because he knows they are easy targets. Children bound by innocence and educators bound by confidentiality are easy targets for us.

Are we educators getting it wrong?

Are we so afraid of being cowed by the media that we cower?

I am ashamed. I'm ashamed because all of those other stories I've read about educators. Did I think that it was a LIE? Did I ever think – – the whole truth isn't being told. Perhaps not. I didn't think about the LIVING HELL that litigious parents put up by lawyers would make on the life of person.

HOWEVER, there are injustices that do happen — I'm not saying there aren't. I would never say that children aren't victimized or harmed and if they are, they should be protected.

But there are TWO sides to every story and the media usually only gets one and reports it as fact. Proverbs 18:17 says:

In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,    until someone comes forward and cross-examines.”

The injustice of time: time to give the unheard side the benefit of the doubt.

When I was a young child, my sister and cousin were riding the go-cart and they had been riding TOO long. So, I picked up a pebble, no bigger than a Raisinette and handed to my other cousin and said, “Here, throw it at them and get them to stop.” Although we were at least 40 yards from them, he was such a good shot, the threw it and hit my sister in the eye, we heard a crash and within moments my cousin and sister were on their way to the emergency room with gashes and came home with stitches.
My sister insisted that she was hit in the rock with a pebble. I insisted:
“Mom, we were out by the mailbox and you saw us, how could my sister have been hit over by the pump house with a pebble? It doesn't make sense.”
Mom agreed over my sister's tears because who could have that good of an arm and my sister was grounded for weeks.
I confessed in my 20's. Far too late for me to be grounded or my sister to have any real vindication. Once I knew I had done something really wrong, I lied. I lied because I was scared of my parents.
Sadly this happens with our “justice” system every day— we don't let innocent until proven guilty define us any more– we want to be the judge and jury out here in the public, where we are NOT QUALIFIED to make a decision. We don't have all the facts and can't.

In Conclusion

I'm not saying that is the case in this situation or any other situation. I know just as much as you do about this situation. What I am saying is that because there is the potential for a scared child to be involved, that we MUST, I repeat MUST, as educators start speaking out. ESPECIALLY when we see someone who obviously is a rude, obnoxious person who heckles children acting so perfect and self-righteous about what has happened.
I know Suzie Nestico and although I don't know Robin Ficker – I've watched a VIDEO that aired on the Bleacher Report about how famous he is for HECKLING and I'm not going to sit quietly by and let another educator twist in the wind without pointing this out.
Before you flip, also realize that many of us are very upset about gun issues right now. I'm from a been saved from a rattlesnake before by a gun and glad my Dad and husband each had one when it was needed. But there is a group of people who are using this issue to paint a picture that educators, in particular, are hysterical, irrational people.
I know Suzie and she's not hysterical or irrational. I'm not making a public statement on this case because I know NONE of the circumstances. 
But I am and will continue to tell educators and those who love kids that if we keep allowing a one-sided vilification of educators by the manipulation of facts that we will continue to breed a society full of educators who are so afraid of being bullied by the media and the minions who believe everything it says, that they don't have the courage to take action with incidents before it happened. If a threat was made to shoot a classmate and the child did it the next day but it wasn't dealt with, the news would be entirely different, condemning the principal for not investigating thoroughly. Well, what is it? Take threats seriously or not? 
And if the media won't at least call out this particular lawyer who is involved, I say, shame on them for not asking the right questions. Is he doing this to protect an innocent child or for yet another opportunity to see his face on TV and get some attention? 
I see a heckler who has spent his life being rude going after a teacher and now a principal who has spent her life in service and love to children and it turns my stomach. 
I know that nobody reads blogs on Saturday night but I'm posting it anyway because tomorrow morning Good Morning America goes live with the story and I want my friend to know that I know that there are two sides and until she has her words, I will not pass judgement nor should anyone else.
Let's wait until #suziespeaks and until then, we will call out media for crucifying educators and naming their names when they KNOW that they are bound by confidentiality and cannot speak. 

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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