warns, is that the Lega keep its handsnclean and not attempt to join in anynruling coalition.nTime will tell. In the meantime, thentalk goes on, all over Europe, of Europeannunity, but the reality is the growthnof regionalism and petty nationalisms,nand a rising tide of what some peoplenlike to call nativism but I prefer to callnself-respect. Are the United Statesnsunk so low that we are incapable ofnforming regional “leagues” here?n— Thomas FlemingnPOLITICAL CORRECTNESSnhas finally made its way from ournuniversities to our junior high schools.nLast March, in the northern Illinoisntown of DeKalb (population 32,000),n75 students of Huntley Middle Schoolnwalked out of class, held a press conference,ndemanded the resignation ofntheir principal, and called for the punishmentnof two classmates who hadnconducted a survey that supposedlyndemonstrated “racist” student attitudesntoward blacks.nThe girls’ survey, which sought tondetermine whether the racial attitudesnof their classmates differed accordingnto gender, was a social science projectnthat both their teacher and principalnhad approved, and the survey’s reportedlyn”offensive” results were displayednat the school alongside other studentnprojects. I say “reportedly” because thencity school board has confiscated thenposter on which the results were displayednand refused to release it to thenpublic.nHowever, it was the survey itself andnnot the results that led to the demonstration.nHuntley students not onlynheld the girls responsible for the “offensivenattitudes,” but they even brandednthem “racists” for their participationnin the project. Tim Lewis, the eighthgradernwho led the student walk-out,ntold the press, “We don’t feel that thenstudents who walked out need counseling.nWe feel the girls who made thenproject need to be counseled and thentwo administrators at Huntley need tonbe counseled.” He said of Del Brouwer,nthe school principal, “We havengiven him many chances to address usnand each time he has addressed us henhas gone in circles so we no longernwant to speak to him.”nTim and his co-demonstratorsncouldn’t have been more successful.nDel Brouwer will step down as principalnat the end of the school year and benreassigned as a teacher, and schoolnofficials and city school board membersnhave privately determined the “propernpunishment” for the two girls. Neithernthe school board nor the girls’ parentsnwould acknowledge the nature of thenpunishment.nTim and his friends will even get thencounseling they demanded. DeKalb’snsuperintendent of schools. Bob Williams,nimmediately ordered “sensitivityntraining” for the school’s staff andnhired consultants to integrate multiculturalismninto the curriculum. Not surprisingly,nthe paid consultants determinednthe situation at the school to benso dangerous and volatile that theynrecommended that their services notnbe postponed until the new schoolnyear.nHuntley’s assistant principal,nGeorge Boyer, told the press that thenstudents who walked out of classn”should be commended and won’t benpunished.” Why? Because “the studentsnwere learning. They were exercisingnthe democratic process. Thenevent was orderly. No one got hurt.”nThis episode highlights “the harm thatnracial insensitivity can do,” he concluded.nThis episode was indeed a learningnexperience, but not in the way Mr.nBoyer presumes. DeKalb’s teachersnand school administrators could havenused this incident to teach their studentsnthat learning often means uncoveringnpainful truths, and that for learningnto occur our schools must remainnopen to inquiry and debate and notnclosed to sensitive and controversialnsubjects. They could have remindedntheir students that citizens in this countrynare innocent until proven guilty,nand that the girls’ project had beennsanctioned by their teacher and principalnand in no way proved any malicenon their part.nBut what did the students learnninstead? They learned that rules meannvery little, that adults and elected officialsncan be easily cowed, and that thenmature way to get what you want innour society is not through merit, ability,nor frank and free debate, but throughncoercion, pressure politics, and civilndisobedience. Most offensive is thenlesson Mr. Boyer taught the students.nthat any action — including cuttingnclass and holding demonstrations — isnacceptable as long as “no one getsnhurt.” Apparently Mr. Boyer doesn’tnconsider the principal’s lost reputationnand position, or the trauma the twongirls have suffered, as damage of anynconsequence.nThe true tragedy of this case is notnthat opportunities were lost or thatnwrong lessons were learned. Rather, itnis that DeKalb students will no longernfreely ask questions without first wonderingnwhether their inquiries are acceptablenor unacceptable, “correct” orn”incorrect,” or important enough tonrun the risk of ostracism and punishment.nWe have long taught our childrennthat the only dumb question is thenone never asked. DeKalb’s punishmentnof two innocent girls may havenirreversibly paved the way for manynyears of silence.n— Theodore PappasnDONALD SIEGEL, R.I.P. Fewnpeople, apart from film buffs, recognizenthe name Donald Siegel, butnsince the 1940’s Mr. Siegel had directednsome of the best American filmsnever made. Critics either hated or despisednhim both for pandering to popularntastes and for refusing to pander tonthe political prejudices of the intellectuals.nThe original Invasion of thenMOVING?nrnLET US KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!nTo assure uninterrupted delivery ofnChronicles, please notify us in advance.nSend change of address onnthis form with the mailing label fromnyour latest issue of Chronicles to:nSubscription Department, Chronicles,nP.O. Box 800, Mount Morris, Illinoisn61054.nNamenAddress ,nCitynnnState ^ip.nJULY 1991/9n