Is NYC promoting dictators? (Updated)

Imagine a school sanctioned spring break trip to Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany, just think of the educational opportunities such excursions would have provided for those young minds. Couldn’t have happened you say? Such a thing would have been unthinkable you say? After all, no responsible adult would ever think it appropriate to take impressionable high school kids to such horrible, repressive, death laden places. No responsible adult would take kids to visit a dictatorship.

Yet, that’s exactly what a New York City high school teacher has done.

April 16, 2007 — A group of Manhattan public high-school students and a history teacher with a soft spot for Cuba flouted federal travel restrictions by taking a spring-break field trip to the communist nation – and now face up to $65,000 apiece in fines, The Post has learned.

The lesson in socializing and socialism was given to about a dozen students from the selective Beacon School on the Upper West Side, which for years has organized extravagant overseas trips with complementary semester-long classes.

Some past destinations include France, Spain, South Africa, Venezuela, Mexico and, according to the school Web site, Cuba in 2004 and 2005.

The principal, Ruth Lacey, insisted she did not approve the April 1-10 jaunt, in which students and teachers said the group was briefly detained on their return by American customs officials in The Bahamas and now faces fines.

In a telephone interview, Lacey initially claimed to have no knowledge of the trip but later recalled having denied approval for it. She said the teacher, Nathan Turner, then took it upon himself to arrange the excursion.

Turner, 35, a popular teacher whose classroom walls, students said, are adorned with posters of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, declined to comment.

“I don’t know anything about the trip because it wasn’t school-sponsored. I only care about the trips that go through the school,” Lacey said. “This, to me, would be an outrage if it happened.”

But the trip was advertised on the school’s Web site in the fall. And a list of 30 students selected in November to take the journey and to attend preparation classes for it could be found on its Web site last week.

It was not clear how many students actually went, though sources said it was about a dozen.

Asked whether the previous trips to Cuba had been approved, Lacey said they had, explaining, “At the time, I think the climate in the country was different.”

City Department of Education spokesman David Cantor said the agency denied the school permission to run the trip and that, after The Post’s inquiries, had asked city investigators to look into how the excursion and any previous jaunts got off the ground.

“This trip should not have happened,” Cantor said.

Read the entire article at the New York Post.

I’d like to know why the city of New York permits public school employees to hang posters of murderous dictators on their walls. Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg has the answer.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)

FAX (212) 788-2460


H/T: Ray

UPDATE: You can contact Nathan “I love fidel” Turner right here:

10 thoughts on “Is NYC promoting dictators? (Updated)”

  1. I’ll bet a dollar to a dime that they won’t be prosecuted and won’t pay a penny! Its all fluff.
    The paper embargo is not enforced.

  2. Thanks, Ziva. I knew you guys would chomp at the bit with this.

    What really baffled me about this article was the responses of the parents. Did they have ANY concept of the risks they were opening their own children to? Any concept at all??? How neglegent of a parent do you have to be not to!?

    Furthermore, if there were past trips to Cuba as the school implies then this school seriously need to be investigated.

    This is so disturbing on so many different levels that you just don’t know where to begin!

  3. The parents were well aware as a father was quoted as saying that he was less concerned with the penalties as he was with the 40 year old embargo. Your tax dollars at work promoting castro.

  4. Actually, seems like this fellow is a great deal of hot water. A school teacher promoting murder? Posters of Che, Fidel and the likes on the walls of his classroom? His ass is grass and the NYC Dept. of Education is the lawnmower.

  5. ugh, I’m experiencing outrage fatigue. first michael moore. now another 35-year-old jackass school teacher on the upper west side talking about the wonders of the revolution. it’s too much. I’m gonna go watch some more cecilia videos.

  6. I worked in high schools for over seven years, and saw plenty of che in plenty of Spanish classrooms. I even found a little statue of che in one of the classrooms I moved into. Believe me, it felt SO good to dump it unceremoniously into the trash can. I also don’t believe FOR A MINUTE that the principal didn’t know what was going on. You mean to tell me not one parent called the school office with a question? This guy’s department chair didn’t know? No teachers signed any forms? No jodas. The principal should be shitcanned along with the teacher.

  7. Undoubtedly they will return like most tourists and rave how wonderful Cuba is – not understanding that the Castro boys control everything in Cuba including what you are allowed to see and where you can go.

  8. The way to get the fifo and che’ posters down? Post a bunch of Adolf Hitler posters and Nazi flags in your classroom, wait for someone to complain (as they will), then say that you thought admiring murderous dictators was allowed, seeing the Commie bullshit in the next classroom. He takes his down, or yours stays up!

  9. R S
    Wait up there. I actually had a history teacher who had a nazi flag up for the world history class (may have been for the freshman, or sophmores, i cant remember) and had a che poster as well when it got to the 50s/60s (for the junior/ seniors). Curiously, no one complained about the nazi flag, but when the che poster went up a couple of parents complained when they saw it on parent teacher night. Just relating my experience.

Comments are closed.