- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2001

They are being re-educated in Poolesville by a renegade Indian and a band of quivering bureaucrats.
Indian has been deemed a very bad word at the small-town high school in Montgomery County, the cost to expunge it an estimated $80,000.
The clock hanging in the hallway at the front entrance of the school is one of the items that must be removed in the next year because of its highly offensive nature.
The clock is an instrument of hate. Printed on the top line are the following words: "Truth, Honor, Loyalty." Then this on the second line: "Indians." Then this at the bottom: "Poolesville."
Grief counselors, if necessary, are available to hold the hands of the 740 students and smash the clock to smithereens. The words are malevolent, plus inaccurate. There is no truth, honor and loyalty in Montgomery County, at least not among the seven members of the Board of Education who voted to cover their backsides last month while Richard Regan, the renegade Indian, led the cheers.
Regan is on the warpath across the state, looking to be insulted by the white man's language from his appointed perch on the Maryland Commission on
Indian Affairs. His work is nonstop, forevermore.
There is an incredibly racist Jeep Cherokee parked in front of the school, the vehicle bold and repugnant. Help. Is there a psychotherapist in the vicinity?
This is what the seven board members have wrought. Forgive them. They know no better. They have mortgages. They have families. They have the rest of their small lives to negotiate. They take their cue from the Big Chief, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast.
It is wrong to assume the D stands for Dunce, as it was suggested by a free thinker who attended the understated protest. Besides, that is so yesteryear, the whole dunce cap thing, given the damage it does to the self-esteem of the dull-witted. They have feelings, too. D is a bad grade, too, cloaked in negativity. Do teachers still give D's in Montgomery County? Can this offensive practice be stopped? We are talking the lives of the young here, their futures, their ability to think for themselves, as long as it is in compliance with the wobbly-kneed in charge.
The Poolesville community put the awful moniker to a vote last May and decided, by a 493-321 count, to retain it. This was in the spirit of the democratic process, if you still believe in the process and the dead white guys who implemented it.
In the spirit of cultural relativism, what did the dead white guys know anyway? They had bad wigs, bad teeth and bad breath. Back then, the seven board members would have pledged their allegiance to the British crown.
Erin Pittenger, the mother of four who is part Cherokee, is the soft-spoken mouthpiece of the Citizens for Poolesville Democracy. She is wearing a red, white and blue ribbon on a Poolesville athletics T-shirt, featuring the logo of an Indian in a headdress, which is a nice touch. She refuses to be re-educated, to be part of this Cultural Revolution, however milquetoast it is compared to Mao Zedong's.
"We're just defending our vote," Pittenger says. "We want our voices heard."
She, too, wants to educate the masses, specifically on what the word Indian means. As someone with Indian blood coursing through her veins, she claims a higher moral authority than the politically contrived wimps. To her, Indian means proud, and darn it, she is proud to wage this fight. Just call her Dances with the Media.
"I pray they won't destroy the treasures," Pittenger says, meaning all the Indian-imprinted artifacts in the school, such as those in the trophy case. "That's our history, and history is too important to destroy."
The county clerks must burn the team pictures, if it comes to that, just burn, baby, burn. They must paint over the Indian-inspired mural in the hallway. They must eliminate all traces of the pejorative and take soap to the mouths of those who dare utter it in the presence of others.
Go, Indians?
Go, Indians.
So yell the teens in passing vehicles on West Willard Road.
"They are taking away our heritage," Pittenger says.
Off among another group of bodies, Mark Levine, the principal at Poolesville, is playing it by the book, reduced to expressing the insight that they are the school board and Poolesville, by virtue of its geography, is obligated to join the party of enlightenment.
Levine says the school is in the process of forming a committee to explore the process in which the new nickname is drafted. This is serious stuff, you know, because you never know what some group might find offensive 20 years from now. They could become the Poolesville Fighting Irish, and then one day, the Irish blokes who drink like fish and fight friends and foes alike could be offended by the stereotype.
Animal-related nicknames are also tricky because of PETA's zealots who can take or leave people but have never met a rat they wouldn't French kiss.
David Sell, a 31-year-old employee of CompUSA, drove an hour from Springfield to take up the cause of the Poolesville Indians.
"Somebody has to stand up to this stuff," he says.
They are trying to stand up to the word tyranny in Poolesville, if somewhat haltingly and in modest numbers. They do not understand. In fact, they do not want to understand the world that is distinct from theirs.
It is bad enough the suburban sprawl is creeping toward their rural paradise. But now they are being infected with this brain-crippling disease from afar, and being told that it is good for them. They are the reluctant Stepfords, reciting their antiquated definition of Indian instead of the school board's definition. They can't help it if it feels oppressive, all the more so around the security force in black shirts and county police officers.
James Cappuccilli, a 49-year-old guidance counselor at the school who used to work in Los Angeles, sees certain parallels between the two school systems.
"The craziness has followed me here," he says.
Wait a second. Is that good crazy or bad crazy? Really, how do you define crazy?
However you define it, it is not official until the school board in Montgomery County votes on it.
The crazy might object.
They already have with Indian.


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