Monday, July 31, 2017

What Teachers REALLY Do During Their Summers “Off” by Janice Little Strauss

As teachers, we’ve all been on the receiving end of comments like, “Must be nice to get your summers off”, and “Cushy job, working only 10 months per year”. It is nice to have a quick and snappy comeback like, “Well, there are a lot of openings right now, get certified and you, too, can be a teacher.” But the real answer is a lot more complicated than that, of course. So I asked a few teacher friends what they do during their unpaid summer. Following is a list of activities the five of us have done, sometimes many times over, during our time “off”. Imagine if we had asked some of you – the list would be nearly endless! Perhaps you’d like to add a few of your own accomplishments to our list. Then you could print out the list, keep it in your wallet, and the next time someone says, “Gee, I wish I had the summer off like you teachers!” You can say, “Yes, that time “off” allows my colleagues and me to accomplish the following:
1. Do inventory of books, materials, supplies and equipment
2. Submit work orders for classroom needs, equipment repair, software upgrades, etc.
3. Pack up everything in my classroom so the custodians can work
4. Put it all out again before school starts
5. Shop for supplies with my own money
6. Go into school to decorate my room
7. Take in-service classes
8. Teach in-service classes
9. Take college courses
10. Attend 4-week long immersion workshops (Foreign Language teachers)
11. Work on National Board Certification
12. Attend education conferences
13. Plan education conferences
14. Write curriculum
15. Research and create new classroom activities, projects and teaching aids
16. Develop rubrics for extended projects and short term projects
17. Attend school board meetings to get the curriculum approved
18. Attend school board meetings to promote our program
19. Travel to other campuses to plan field trips for the year
20. Meet with businessmen and visit industrial sites to plan trips
21. Visit historical sites and museums
22. Reflect on previous year’s lesson plans to analyze what worked and what did not
23. Re-work old lessons to modernize and update them
24. Read research, opinion articles and subject-related journals to be able to update materials.
25. Read current books on education
26. Write educational articles for professional publication and/or opinion articles for the local newspaper
27. Meet with teacher center directors and boards to plan for teacher and student needs
28. Visit local teacher center to use die cuts, poster printer, laminator and other equipment for making classroom supplies
29. Meet with newly hired teachers to help them get ready for the school year
30. Meet with new student teachers and help them with plans
31. Meet with my department to discuss needed changes and improvements
32. Network with other educators via blogs and other media
33. Make contacts to invite and schedule experts to visit the classroom where appropriate
34. Sort and revamp my files
35. Search for possible guest speakers for my classes
36. Go into school to run off papers for the fall
37. Search the internet for the latest educational programs
38. Spend many hours on the computer to learn the programs
39. Write grants to secure funding for classroom technology and other eligible expenses
40. Consult with others in the profession to see what is happening in other schools and even in other nations
41. Collect "authentic realia" while traveling in foreign countries (Those pesky Foreign Language teachers again! )
42. Visiting the supermarket to beg for the Italian foods display when it is taken down, so it can be brought into the classroom to add some atmosphere (Guess what that person teaches)
43. Go to the state capitol to write test questions
44. Go to the state capitol for State Ed meetings
45. Visit my legislators to advocate for education programs
46. Run summer camps for students
47. Work at a job that strengthens real world understanding & connections
48. Volunteer to work in the community to benefit children
49. Attend local events that support students and allow chats with parents
50. Coach (fall sports begin practice in early August)
51. Renew Red Cross/First Aid/CPR certification that is mandatory for coaching
52. Work a summer job to supplement teachers' low salary
53. Take care of everything not possible to do during school year such as doctor, dentist, financial adviser, podiatrist, attorney, eyeglasses, jury duty, and elective surgeries
54. Go into school to create initial and quarterly tests & other education reform requirements! 
This is the point at which you can now add activities unique to your grade level or discipline --- or any that we didn’t think of during our e-mail brainstorm. Then in a nice, friendly voice, you can tell the commenters how grateful we all are to have our unpaid summers “off” so we can get a few things done!

There’s A Lot To Criticize About Donald Trump–Why Play The Gender Card? by Dr. Mitchell Robinson

Originally posted at:

Peggy Noonan is out with a new opinion piece in the Wall St. Journal (“Trump is Woody Allen Without the Humor”on the daily circus that is the Trump administration, and it’s getting a lot of attention. While I rarely agree with Noonan’s “takes” on the world of politics, the thing that I found the most troubling in this essay was not her conclusion (Spoiler alert: She doesn’t think Trump is doing a good job), but rather how she got there.
But first, let’s clear up a few things… 
Is Donald Trump a good leader? Of course not. 
Is he a good person? Absolutely not.
What I don’t understand is why Ms. Noonan feels compelled to resort to laboriously gendered language and innuendo to make her points. As she describes Trump’s behavior in office, she trots out hackneyed female stereotypes…
“He’s not strong and self-controlled, not cool and tough, not low-key and determined; he’s whiny, weepy and self-pitying. He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic. He’s a drama queen.”
“Half the president’s tweets show utter weakness. They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn.”
…as well as casting aspersions on his “manhood”, with a wink and a nod…
“It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.”
“His public brutalizing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn’t strong, cool and deadly; it’s limp, lame and blubbery.”
My best guess is that it’s her attempt to get under Trump’s skin, to inflame him, to get his goat. To hit him where it hurts, by making fun of his masculinity, the very thing he fell back on so many times on the campaign trail…”she doesn’t look presidential…I can tell you there are no problems with the size of my…Little Marco…
But it’s just embarrassing to see Noonan wax wistfully about by-gone notions of masculinity…
“The way American men used to like seeing themselves, the template they most admired, was the strong silent type celebrated in classic mid-20th century films—Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Henry Fonda.”
…and read her thinly-veiled jabs at more modern takes on masculinity, as though being verbal and emotionally open were qualities to be avoided…
“His (Woody Allen’s) characters couldn’t stop talking about their emotions, their resentments and needs. They were self-justifying as they acted out their cowardice and anger.”
Noonan ends with a parting shot, again targeting Trump’s masculinity, rather than his erratic temperament, poor decision making, or bad judgment:
“We close with the observation that it’s all nonstop drama and queen-for-a-day inside this hothouse of a White House.”
There are so many things to criticize when it comes to Trump’s first 6 months in office:
  • RussiaGate
  • ScaramucciGate
  • PriebusGate
  • The military trans* ban
  • Jeff Sessions
  • Jarivanka
  • Inciting police violence
  • Delivering a lewd speech to the Boy Scouts
And that’s just this week.
So why roll out dated sexist tropes to make Trump look weak, by characterizing him with “feminine” traits (whiny, weepy, shrill), calling him a “drama queen“, and describing him with gender-loaded terms like limp, weak, sobbing, and plaintive so as to question his manhood? 
Haven’t we moved beyond the lazy sexist thinking that uses “feminine” qualities to connote weakness, and associates “masculine” characteristics with strength?
Especially after the events of the past 48 hours–during which we’ve seen the leadership and courage of women like Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Maine Senator Susan Collins blunt Trump’s attempts to destroy our country’s health care system–it’s way past time to recognize that one’s strength is best demonstrated by what’s between your ears, not by what’s between your legs.
We expect this kind of behavior from Trump. Let’s not sink to his level as we work to resist his agenda.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Charter School Lobby Panics as NAACP Rejects For-Profit Schools by Steven Singer

White America has a history of freaking out at perfectly reasonable suggestions by the black community.

Hey, maybe black people shouldn’t be slaves.


Hey, maybe black lives should matter as much as white ones.


Hey, maybe we shouldn’t be making money off of children’s educations?


That’s what seems to be happening at think tanks and school privatization lobbying firms across the country after a new report by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) this week.

Some news sources are characterizing the report as “radical” or “controversial.”

However, the report, titled “Quality Education for All: One School at a Time,” basically says nothing more revolutionary than that all public schools should be transparent and accountable.

That includes charter schools.

“Public schools must be public,” the report states. “They must serve all children equitably and well. To the extent that they are part of our public education system, charter schools must be designed to serve these ends.”

And why shouldn’t they?

More than 3 million students attend charter schools across the country. Approximately 837,000 of them are black. Don’t they deserve the same kinds of democratically controlled schools and fiscal responsibility as their counterparts in traditional public schools?

Somehow your local public school is able to teach kids while still keeping a record of how it’s spending its money – your money. And if you don’t like what’s being done, you can go to a school board meeting and speak up or even run for a leadership position.

How does getting rid of that help kids learn? How does operating in secret in the shadows benefit children?

The report also recommends that local communities should have more control over whether to open charter schools in their districts and calls for an end to for-profit charter schools, altogether.

Not exactly the musings of anarchist provocateurs.

Charter school cheerleaders like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos call their movement School Choice. Shouldn’t communities get to choose whether they want them there in the first place? If the program is based on the free market, let them make their case to the community before setting up shop. They shouldn’t get to make a backroom deal with your congressman and then start peddling their wares wherever they want.

Moreover, if charter schools are, indeed, public schools, why should they be allowed to operate at a profit? They are supported by tax dollars. That money should go to educating children, not lining the pockets of venture capitalists and hedge fund managers.

The authors were very specific on this point:

“No federal, state, or local taxpayer dollars should be used to fund for-profit charter schools, nor should public funding be sent from nonprofit charters to for-profit charter management companies.”

But that’s not all.

The author’s also call out charters infamous enrollment and hiring practices. Specifically, these kinds of privatized schools are known to cherry pick the best and brightest students during admissions, and to kick out those who are difficult to teach or with learning disabilities before standardized testing season. The report called for charters to admit all students who apply and to work harder to keep difficult students – both hallmarks of traditional public schools.

In addition, the report suggests charters no longer try to save money by hiring uncertified teachers. If charters are going to accept public money, they should provide the same kind of qualified educators as their traditional public school counterparts.

However, even if such reforms are made, the report is doubtful that privatized education could ever be as effective and equitable as traditional public schools. In perhaps the most damning statement in the report, the authors wrote:

“While high-quality, accountable, and accessible charters can contribute to educational opportunity, by themselves, even the best charters are not a substitute for more stable, adequate and equitable investments in public education.”

The report was written by the 12-member NAACP Task Force on Quality Educationafter a set of intensive hearings or “listening sessions” across the country in cities such as New Haven, Memphis, Orlando, Los Angeles, Detroit, New Orleans and New York. The final product is the result of the input they received during these meetings.

This is only the latest in a growing movement of skepticism toward privatized education of all sorts – especially in relation to its impact on students of color.

Less than a year ago, the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the country, called for a moratorium on any new charter schools. This week’s report takes that caution to the next level.

Despite a truly controversial record, over the past decade, the number of students in charter schools has nearly tripled. In terms of pure numbers, black students only make up more than a quarter of charter school enrollment. However, that’s a disproportionately high number since they make up only 15 percent of total public school enrollment. To put it another way, one in eight black students in the United States today attends a charter school.

The NAACP isn’t the only civil rights organization critical of charter schools. Groups such as the Journey for Justice Alliance, a coalition of grassroots community, youth, and parent-led organizations, and the Movement for Black Lives, a conglomeration of the nation’s youngest national civil rights organizations, have also expressed concern over the uses and abuses of students of color in charter schools.

However, this week’s report wasn’t focused solely on privatization. It also addressed the central issue at traditional public schools – funding disparities.

The report identifies severe inequalities between rich vs. poor communities as the cause of so-called failing schools. The report argues that “to solve the quality education problems that are at the root of many of the issues, school finance reform is essential to ensure that resources are allocated according to student needs.”

Closing the achievement gap requires specific investment in low-performing schools, not punitive measures. There should be more federal, state, and local policies to attract and retain fully qualified educators, improve instructional quality, and provide wraparound services for young people.

The report suggests states model their funding formulas on those of Massachusetts and California and that the federal government should fully enforce the funding-equity provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

It would be difficult to find more rational and reasonable solutions to the education problems in today’s schools.

But pay attention to the response it’s getting.

Corporate reformers are running scared with their hair on fire as someone finally has the guts to point out that the emperor is walking around stark naked!

The Intersectionality of Unruly Teachers by Laura D. Brown

Originally posted at:

The Intersectionality of Unruly Teachers
How teacher’s issues are at the heart of the resistance.
Public school teachers see America every day. When teachers get loud, it is for good reason. On Saturday, July 22, 2017, about 1,500 unruly teachers marched on Washington D.C., and many others did so in cities across the United States. This intersection of public school teacher’s protests with the issues in the larger society are both significant and telling. Make no mistake, teacher’s issues are everyone’s issues.
Women’s Issues
In 2015, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there were 3.1 million public school teachers practicing the craft in the United States. Almost 76 percent of that 3.1 million were female.
Teaching has traditionally been a low-paying, low-status, female-dominated profession. It is also family friendly employment. Often well-educated women have selected teaching in an attempt to gain a life-work balance which coordinates with family schedules.
It is caregiving work.
It is physical labor.
It is mentally draining.
It is challenging.
It is underfunded.
It is under-appreciated.
It is extremely rewarding.
These descriptors parallel with housework and stay at home parenting — that is not a coincidence.
When speaking at the March For Public Education on Saturday, July 22, 2017, Bob Bland, co-president of the Women’s March and CEO and Founder of Manufacture New York (MNY), expressed that public education is where all other issues in American society intersect. Intuitively, this has always been apparent, but with the existence of public education currently in jeopardy under the Trump and DeVos agenda, the support, investment, and discussions about the future of public education are crucial.
Children’s Issues
To kick off the rally before the march, a few brave kids sang the patriotic Woody Guthrie Song, “This Land is Our Land.”
The Washington Monument was next door and it was sweltering.
These cute carolers reminded the attendees that the march was about students.
It is cliche and overused, but public school teachers always put children first. All children. The banner on the stage at the March For Public Education did not say teachers matter! Instead, the banner read: support our students. Public school teachers do not choose the zip code, the possible family issues, or the socio-economic status of their students. Rather, public schools open their doors every school day to America.
Public schools are the bedrock of American democracy. Every patriotic citizen should be clamoring for the best public schools for every student in the United States.
Another issue facing America’s students is college affordability. In her speech at the March For Public Education, student activist, Joseline Garcia discussed the topic, stating:
“Within the past 20 years, tuition at private universities has gone up 179%, and a staggering 296% increase at public institutions. In 1963- 1980s, a university student could work during their summer break to pay school; today we are at a point where a student has to work a full time minimum wage job for an entire calendar year to afford maybe the average of tuition. This means that it is almost impossible for any student to graduate without taking student loans. Americans owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. That is more than credit card debt which is $620 billion. The student debt crisis has slowed down the financial growth in our consumer-driven economy by preventing many from investing in homes, cars, businesses etc due to the fact that they’re still paying off their student loans decades after they’ve graduated.”
Garcia, the daughter of immigrants, was able to fulfill part of the American promise of higher education. However, many of our nation’s college graduates struggle to reach middle-class status due to their debt burden.
Race Issues.
“Make no mistake: Trump’s attack on public education is racist at its heart.
Although all public school students will be hurt by Trump’s cuts, minority and low-income children will suffer the most. Because it is minorities and low income families who are most dependent on public schools.”
— Elizabeth A. Davis, president of the Washington Teacher’s Union
Vouchers, school choice, scholarships, competency-based education, personalized learning all have at their root a fear of white students being exposed to the perceived dangers of non-white students.
Ultimately, the promise of integration held with the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education has failed to be achieved. Resistance to integration resulted in the white flight from urban areas, the underrepresentation of non-white teachers, and the present day school choice movement.
Although people love to champion Brown vs. Board of Education, one of the biggest negative impacts was the firing of teachers during the merger of white and black schools. Jose Luis Vilson discusses a major impact of Brown when he writes in his article “The Need for More Teachers of Color”, published in the Summer, 2015 edition of American Educator:
“For instance, when the Supreme Court began to mandate that southern states comply with Brown v. Board of Education, more than 30,000 black teachers and administrators were fired to ensure that white teachers kept their jobs.”
Sexuality Issues
Dr. Paul Perry began his speech at the rally for the March For Public Education with humor, proclaiming that he was raised by gay men before being raised by gay men was cool. He went on to explain how during his time as an English teacher he felt compelled to protect children who were part of the LGBTQ community, stating:
“When I was teaching, I had a student named Angela who had two lesbian moms. While in my classroom, I kept her safe from any bullying. But Angela had to walk down the halls and eat in the cafeteria too. I wasn’t always there to look out for here and no protections were in place to ensure she was safe in her identity as the child of LGBTQ parents. Learning takes a backseat when youth don’t feel safe. Students like Angela get shifted around from school to school because we’re not looking out from them through our laws and practices in schools.”
With regressive bathroom bills in North Carolina and proposed in Texas, protecting the rights of students is imperative. Public schools need to be safe places so that learning, not intimidation, transpires.
Disability Issues
Students with disabilities enter classrooms across the country. Some disabilities are extremely noticeable and others might be subtle. Regardless of the spectrum of abilities, under IDEA law all students are required to receive an education in the least restrictive environment possible.
Leslie Templeton spoke passionately about the need for funding the IDEA mandate, stating:
“The government is suppose to fund 40% of the bill when it comes to funding special education programs but falls short of that by more than 17 billion dollars, funding it only 16%-17%. We owe it to our students with disabilities to have it fully funded and have services provided to every and all students, no matter what public school they go to, the color of their skin, their native language, and the type of disability they have. I ask you to stand for public school special ed, thank you!”
Betsy DeVos’ glaring lack of knowledge concerning educational law and programs was apparent in her confirmation hearings. Many Americans might not see special education and disabilities in general as a major issue, but Leslie Templeton pointed out that public dollars are impacted, stating:
“It’s one of the reasons I became a disability and education advocate, to demonstrate that we matter. Yet we are disproportionately represented in prisons, especially within female prisons were 40% have at least 1 disability. Also, a staggering 50% of people shot by police are disabled.”
Either way, taxpayers will “get what we pay for.” Our financial investments expose our values as American citizens. The proposed federal tax cuts to Medicaid will disproportionately affect students with disabilities — therefore, healthcare is also an intersectional issue.
Immigration Issues
Nativism and assimilation have been strong forces in the history of the United States. Since 2016 presidential campaign, chants to build walls and kick certain residents out of the country have impacted classroom and living room conversations alike.
Sanaa Abrar, representing a network of immigrant families and youth called United We Dream, and an immigrant from Pakistan herself, called out a chant at the March For Public Education: “Here to stay!”
When bullied or called out because of her religion and foreign beginnings, Abrar recalled the words of her mother:
“They want you to be angry.They want you to walk away. Don’t do that. Educate them. Make them better.”
At the March Abrar did just that — she educated the listeners to a plight facing many students in public education. Many students worry about family member’s immigration status.
Abrar praised educators for creating environments for her and others:
“And you know who also supported me along the way? Educators. Educators who created safe spaces for me to be me!”
Abrar’s experience is not isolated. I recall having a student in tears this school year because she feared that her parent’s citizenship ceremony would be postponed or canceled. I wrote about her story and highlighted the difficulty of teaching in an extremely polarized and unpredictable climate in my piece entitled I Was Born on 9/11/2001.
Immigration, religion, difference, and the creation of “other” significantly impact teaching and learning. Classrooms are often places of refuge for many students and the current political rhetoric greatly impacts the manner in which classmates interact.
Labor Issues
Mary Cathryn Ricker, executive vice president of the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) represents 1.6 million teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, healthcare professionals and higher education faculty members.
Teacher unions, and unions in general are much maligned but rarely given credit for the higher standard of living and working conditions that unions have doggedly promoted.
Ricker signaled crucial labor issues facing teachers and all workers, outlining the AFT’s goals:
“Equitable public education; meaningful inclusion; testing sanity; The kind of school funding that supports the schools our students deserve; and the right for all workers to organize!”
Ricker went on to explain that the national political agenda is trickling down to the local level like acid rain by outlining the negative impact of the Trump and DeVos agenda:
“Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump want to take a meat cleaver to public education. Their budget is cruel to kids and catastrophic to public schools. They plan to cut $9 billion from our schools to fund massive tax breaks for the rich while also peddling failed privatization and voucher schemes.”
Furthermore, Ricker called for a collaborative approach to collective bargaining by citing her work as the president of the St. Paul Teacher’s Association:
“There, we pioneered a new way of bargaining — a collaborative, community-engaged way. I made it my mission to tap on what I call our wealth of solidarity…We held listening sessions across the city asking, what are the schools our students deserve? Who are the teachers our students deserve? What is the profession those teachers deserve?…Rather than just asking for support, we sought our common interests and worked alongside each other and we’ve accomplished great things: reasonable class sizes, culturally relevant curriculum, high-quality professional development, access to art, music, world language, physical education, a school nurse for every school, librarians, counselors and social workers.”
The March For Public Education was a turning point for public school advocacy. Although teachers are not natural activists, they have been summoned by national events and local disparities. The problems did not begin with the current political administration, and they will not end when Trump leaves office. However, teachers will not be silenced. Teachers will resist. Teachers will take back education from the privateers, the corporations, the politicians, and other false prophets. Public education is a right and it is integral in a free and open society.
Click the link below for a post where you can locate links to all of the speeches shared, or click on the person’s underlined name above to reach their words.
The Speakers Series: The March For Public Education
July 22, 2017. Washington,
Please consider clicking the heart ❤️ icon above, following the March For Education Blog Publication, following on the organization on Twitter, liking the page on Facebook, and bookmarking The March For Public Education Website.

The Heart of a Badass Story

If you have not yet heard the story of the teacher that refused to answer the citizenship question at a checkpoint recently, then please take a moment and do a Google search for Shane Parmely.  
 Shane was recently stopped at a border patrol checkpoint in New Mexico many miles from the US/Mexico border with her children in the car. Shane refused to answer the border patrol's question whether or not she was a US citizen. She was detained at the checkpoint for over an hour and finally allowed to leave without answering the question. You can view the videos taken during the time period by clicking on the links at the end.
It amazes me how much controversy this this act has stirred. Some question why Shane felt she had a right to question authority (We always have the right to do so - the day we give up that right is the day that we lose humanity.) Some people make comments about the fact that she would not have done that if she was not a white woman with privilege. This is most likely true - a fact that Shane is fully aware of herself.

Shane is a Badass Teacher from California and a teacher in the San Diego Unified School District. I first met her at NEA RA. I marched by her side, with her kids in the streets of DC when a march started to speak out against police brutality. Shane is the very definition (as are many, many of you) of a Badass Teacher. 

So many outlets were covering this story as it occurred - we did not need to repeat what was already being told. 

But what many do not know is Shane's own reflections on the events. To me, this is the heart of the story. So we are sharing them below.

Melissa Tomlinson - Assistant Executive Director, Badass Teachers Association

l've finally somewhat wrapped my brain around all of this and think this mostly sums things up right now.
Main reasons I refused:
1) In addition to the checkpoints themselves, there are dozens of cameras set up on both sides of the narrow lane you are funneled into before the checkpoint that take your picture from multiple heights and angles to ensure that they can record the faces of everyone in the car. There is even a speed bump set up so that when you slow for it, a camera with a flash photographs your car. I have everyone in my car cover their faces when we drive through this gauntlet. Obviously the government is using facial recognition software and collecting the info recorded at these checkpoints in the databases they use while illegally spying on all of us. This means that the government is monitoring and tracking the US population when it travels within our own borders and that we absolutely do not have the ability to freely move about the country.
2) I refused to answer the citizenship question at a checkpoint east of El Paso last year, and when I pulled my phone out to record the interaction the officer waved me through. When I shared that experience on Facebook, my friends in the CTA Hispanic Caucus were shocked that I had been so "brave" because they have endured a lifetime of harassment at these inspection stations. They have had to standby and watch their children be harassed and intimidated in a way that no parent would normally allow. My brown friends prepare their children for how to interact with Border Patrol much the same way Black families talk with their children about how to interact with police. The systematic favoring of one racial group over another by a government agency at a government location is the definition of institutional racism. I realized I was the white lady sitting at the front of the bus who saw nothing wrong with having black people sit in the back.
During the time we were detained, we were treated far better than my friends who readily said yes they are citizens and complied with all of the officers questions during their interactions. My friends were told to pull over to secondary inspection, pulled out of their cars and questioned, had their cars searched, and their children were interrogated. I was not asked to drive to secondary inspection, the officers routed traffic around me, I was not asked to leave my vehicle, my car was not searched, my children were not questioned. And one of my children kept their face covered during the first half of being detained because I have my children cover their faces when we go through these inspections sites. The only difference between me and my friends is that I'm white and they are brown. Since the videos went viral my inbox has been flooded with messages from strangers in tears telling me about their lifetime of experiences of abuse at the hands of border patrol at these checkpoints.
Critics wants to conveniently ignore the fact that I have the right to not answer. I find it extremely disturbing for the future of our democracy that during an encounter between an armed agent of the government and a citizen in which both choose to exercise their rights, people automatically praise the government official for exercising their rights while trying to punish the citizen for exercising their's. Many Americans seem happy to abdicate their own personal civil rights and liberties, and while that is their own personal choice to make, they are not allowed to abdicate my civil rights and liberties for me.
I have been accused of seeking 15 minutes of fame or planning out this interaction in order to create a viral video. While I have received many messages of support, I am also receiving messages filled with cussing and threats of violence and sexual violence, often from people who feature pictures of their children in their public profile. Many of these same people tell me that I should not be allowed around children and say I should be fired. Dealing with all of this was not what I had in mind upon returning home from traveling. And no one person can create a viral video, the public makes videos go viral.

While I am an activist and I do participate in actions, this was not planned at all which should be evidenced by the fact that I do a poor job of articulating my thinking in the first video. I shared the videos publicly so that my activist friends would be able to share the videos on their fb walls if they wanted to. I have found it absolutely astonishing that these went viral, as videos like these are not new and have been posted online for years. Again, the only difference between the previous videos and mine is that they were posted by brown people and I am a white woman.

Part 1: 

 Part 5.1: