17 March, 2014

Unacceptable Language: the First Meeting

WARNING: this transcript contains offensive and even “obscene” language; for example, the word “cunt” occurs four times in this post (including once in this warning).


Thursday 20 February, 2014.
An Assistant Principal of Hobart College, Vanessa Warren, asks Alfred, a student, to attend a meeting at 09:00:

Assistant Principal [1], Vanessa Warren: You’re probably aware of what that problem is?
Alfred:  I’m guessing—
Ass. Principal:  It was the issue at the community forum.
Alfred:  Okay. 
Ass. Principal:  Now, the teachers that were at the community forum, there was Jill Chisholm, the youth worker, and two other staff members, okay?
Alfred:  Okay. 
Ass. Principal:  They reported back, almost verbatim [2], what you actually got up and said. I suppose the issue from the college point of view is simply that you were representative of the college at that community forum and, from what I heard, the actual language used and the abuse, the obscene abuse of a person, was inappropriate, okay. 
Alfred:  I don't see how I was in any way representing the college seeing as how we don’t have a uniform. I didn’t state at the beginning of the question that I was from Hobart college— 
Ass. Principal:  Sorry, what was that bit? 
Alfred:  Seeing as how we don’t have uniform so I wasn’t in uniform. I didn’t announce that I was in Hobart college— 
Ass. Principal:  No, that’s right, no you didn’t, but— 
Alfred:  and I wasn’t there with a class, it was my own choice, so I wasn’t aware that it was actually a political thing. I went there with no ill intentions, I was just told that it would be a voting thing. 
Ass. Principal:  My concern is the language, the obscenities I suppose, the actual verbal abuse of a person, if I can quote you from the other day I think you finished up by saying, calling Nick McKim a “fucking cunt”. 
Alfred:  I ended with just “you cunt”; but I used “fucking” twice in the sentence. [3] 
Ass. Principal:  But that’s a personal attack, really; it’s verbal abuse and in actual fact if you’re out in mainstream—it’s an offence.
Alfred:  It has been proven in court that it isn’t actually that offensive. [4] 
Ass. Principal:  Okay, well it is it is it is; and from our end of things the issue is the fact that you are part of the group: you signed on and off the bus—sorry, off the bus—as part of the Hobart College contingent, you went there as part of the public. 
Alfred:  Well, actually, I didn’t actually sign anything. 
Ass. Principal:  Sorry, you went down on the bus as part of the Hobart College contingent that arrived at the community forum. 
Alfred:  But, apparently, there was a permission slip that I didn’t know about, so didn’t sign, I was just told I could go, and I went. 
Ass. Principal:  Yeah, okay, in going you were part of the Hobart contingent and, I suppose, my concern and our concern—I have talked to the principal about it and assistant principals [5] about it—it was the language, it was the violent sort of the vitriol that you unleashed personally on—it was Nick McKim, I presume? [6] 
Alfred:  Yes. 
Ass. Principal:  Okay, and you have every right and entitlement to think what you like, and say what you like but, whilst you’re, I suppose, representing or part of a representative group of this college, it’s inappropriate. You can understand that, surely. 
Alfred:  Okay—but as part of a school you have no right to take away my rights, and one of my rights is the freedom of speech. 
Ass. Principal:  And we talked about freedom of speech etc.; however, given that freedom of speech, the fact that, and it’s interesting, ’cause Jill will be here in a minute—she was there—, the fact that most of your, the point you were trying to make, was lost in a sea of obscene language, you need to have some self knowledge, in relation to how you want your point put across, I mean wrapping it in obscene language or abusive language doesn’t necessarily—no, no it veils that freedom of speech you want, because all people hear is the actual, you know, the barrage of obscene language. 
Alfred:  Even if I did ask, phrase it “nicely”, it wouldn’t have changed the actual outcome; no-one would have noticed it; using “obscene language” was really the only way for it to get noticed—
 Ass. Principal:  But, but, but— 
Alfred:  because it is so easily brushed off these days. 
Ass. Principal:  But, but according to the people that we’ve spoken to from the group, even the other students, they were unsure of the point you were making; they just heard this absolute barrage of, you know, aggression and obscene language, 
Alfred:  I don’t— 
Ass. Principal:  so your points were lost. 
Alfred:  I don’t feel— 
Ass. Principal:  Whatever points they were were lost
Alfred:  I don’t feel like I said it aggressively at all, I thought I said it rather calmly. 
Ass. Principal:  Hmm kay, and, well, the reason I’m involved is because the teachers came back from that and reported the incident to me and of course the principal, and of course we were all a little bit dismayed because it was such a public performance, and, um, I believe that Tracy, the principal made communication with Nick McKim’s office— 
Alfred:  [astonished] Okay? [7] 
Ass. Principal:  in relation to the incident, okay? 
Alfred:  Okay. 
Ass. Principal:  There was obviously media there, etc., etc., [8] and you know things had gone—if that night, for example, if Hobart College had been singled out and, and your presentation of your opinion had been aired, it would have gone a little higher.  And you wouldn’t be sitting just in front of me.  So, what I’m saying is this is serious, okay, because I suppose it’s a community thing; it’s when you become part of a community, whether this community, which is a microcosm of the larger community that we belong to— I mean, there are regulations and mores etc. that we follow to exist, don’t we? 
Alfred:  Yeah. 
Ass. Principal:  Whatever, harmoniously.  Now, I don’t think is a really good rôle model for other people to see that’s the interaction that one should have when one’s expressing their freedom of speech. 
Alfred:  And do you believe it’s a perfectly good rôle model to lie to entire states and even the world? 
Ass. Principal: No, not at all, I think, mildly, that’s not appropriate either.
Alfred:  Because I was.
Ass. Principal:
  It’s difficult isn’t it? Because see.
Alfred
:  I actually had proper questions I would have asked; I wrote them down but, when Nick McKim did start to lie in front of us, it just really angered me.
Ass. Principal
:  Okay, and that anger, that anger, and because of that anger that’s manifested it, itself in the way that you responded, obviously, yeah?  Okay.  And that’s understandable if you’re passionate about, those sorts of things, but what’s, but what’s happened here is that, um, the watchdog, the social, moral watchdog of the political world, that can’t quite nail the lies and whatever, and um, I suppose, there isn’t any legislation as such that we’ve got that we can say that that’s an out and out lie, unless you take them to court, and you, and you you know, you two arguments where you can prove it.
Alfred
:  Well, it has been proven time and time again by scientists and, if not in court, then it would easily be proven in court.
Ass. Principal
:  Yeah, but so all that aside, and you know I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m, I’m saying yes there are boundaries that, that the political world will push all the time, in order to, um, for whatever for expedience for, um, where they want to head on a personal, professional level, whatever whatever, that’s that’s there, but if we take that shift, ’cause I don’t want to spend this morning talking about you and I intellectual debate about climate change [she really said that], but I want, it’s it’s more the fact that that taking up that, that little bit where you actually that did anger you and that that actually were a public point of view, is an issue.
Alfred
:  Okay.
Ass. Principal
:  All right. Now because it’s a college, because it was a college, um excursion as such, a college thing then, then again I’ve had discussion with the other A.P.s [9] et cetera, and we believe that’s it’s, I suppose serious enough for um, the consequence, around some, ah, form of suspension.
Alfred
:  So, seeing as this is a disciplinary hearing, should I come back tomorrow with my dad?
Ass. Principal
:  Well that’s what I’m about to say, that what I’d like to do, is now go away and ring is, um your dad, you do mean your dad?
Alfred
:  Yeah.
Ass. Principal
:  Yep yep, and is he able to come up this morning?  Possibly?
Alfred
:  I would say no, because of my little brother, since my little brother is home schooled. Dad will be looking after him.
Ass. Principal
:  Does your dad know about the incident?
Alfred
:  Yes.
Ass. Principal
:  Okay, you told him?
Alfred
:  Yes.
Ass. Principal
:  Okay. So any discussion about that at all?
Alfred
:  Yes, some.
Ass. Principal
:  Okay um. So it won’t be a shock to him if I ring him and talk to him about that?
Alfred
:  No.
Ass. Principal
:  Um. Will it be a shock to him that that the college will take some disciplinary action in relation to your, um, outburst?
Alfred
:  No.
Ass. Principal
:  Wouldn’t be a shock to him?
Alfred
:  No.
Ass. Principal
:  No.  Okay.
Alfred
:  We discussed this, rather at length, I’d say.
Ass. Principal
: Okay.
Alfred
: Yesterday.
Ass. Principal
:  Right, and and what um, [vaguely mumbling] well I’ll get your dad on the phone in a moment and have a chat with him.  What sort of views did your dad express in relation to what happened?
Alfred
:  Um [thinking hard for the appropriate word to say], entertainment.
Ass. Principal
:  But he’s still aware that there may be disciplinary action from the school?
Alfred
:  Yes.
Ass. Principal
:  And is he entertained, sorry is he humoured by that [smugly], or is he humoured by?
Alfred
:  Yes he is.
Ass. Principal
:  Is he humoured also by what you actually said at the time?
Alfred
:  Yeah.
Ass. Principal
:  Okay. He doesn’t feel it was inappropriate at all?
Alfred
:  No.
Ass. Principal
:  Okay. Well all right I’ll go and give him a call, I’ve got the number here.
Alfred
:  So, shall I wait here?
Ass. Principle
:  Yeah, if you could.  [She leaves.]
 

End of Part 1
[to be continued*]

1  one of four assistant principals!
2  by “almost verbatim” she means “not verbatim”.
3  I said to Nick McKim MHA, after he lied about a supposed consensus of scientists, “Please stop lying; that 97% statistic is fucking bullshit, and you fucking know it, you cunt.”
4  see the famous court case wherein the magistrate, Pat O’Shane, dismissed a charge of offensive language, determining that the defendant’s calling policemen “fucking poofters” was “not offensive” by 
“common usage”.

5  there are four of them, you know.
6  I had already said so, I seem to recall.

7  I was so astonished by her revelation that my eyeglass leapt, like a surprised Thomson’s gazelle, from my eye-socket. 
8  et cetera is Latin for “and all the other things”, so saying “etc., etc.” is the same as saying “and all the other things and all the other things.”
9  there are four of them, you know.

*  it’s hard work to make a transcription from the recording I made because the Assistant Principal spoke so quietly, breathily and rapidly.

See also “Question climate change in school, or how to get expelled” at Catallaxy Files; I thank many contributors thereto for their support.

Updated 18 April.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Alfred I have been wondering what has been happening with respect to the Assault of the Harpies on your freedom of speech. Were you as a student ever made aware of any particular policy vis a vis swearing or the like? Did the principal/Ass Principal ever explain to you what the contact with Dim McKim entailed, did he contact them first or did they contact his office at first instance. If they made first contact then they breached your privacy. I am sure you know all this -- glad you stuck to your guns -- Thomas Sowell is a wise contemporary American who said that there are few things more dishonourable than misleading the young. Best wishes and good luck.

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    Replies
    1. I will be covering the school policy as I was made aware thereof in later posts.
      The principal contacted McKim, but refused to go into any detail—as will be evident in later posts.

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  2. Good work publishing this in the form you have chosen, Alfred, since the teaching profession are 97% Greenfilth communist anti-civilisationists who oppose the foundation of Australian society. Your teachers thought it would be a cinch to caricature you as an outcast. In fact, they are the caricatures. It's just that they think the whole world are leftist public servants sucking on the sweat of the productively employed majority. Just as well the anti-civilisationists are once again the troublesome minority who must do what the majority tell them to.

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  3. I'll bet the 'staff' at your school hate it that you have a reasoned argument in this. Treat it as if you were presenting evidence in court. Enjoy.

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