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Playing with matches

Over the weekend, I was perusing Little Green Footballs and came across this post about the pro-terrorist rally in Boston this weekend. I was intrigued, as Beantown's just an hour down the highway from me, so I followed the link to Solomonia's account of his adventures at the rally.

In that account, one little bit leaped out at me:

Together, Cohen and Habash run the New England Committee to Defend Palestine, whose goals we have gone over before and which boasts Andover High School's Ron Francis as a booster

(Emphasis added)

Solomonia has been watching Mr. Francis for some time, and by his accounts this guy is a real ass. He's apparently hired some of his students to canvass for Israeli divestment in his home town of Somerville. He's also very active in the anti-Israel movement in New England -- which means, more often than not, siding with terrorists like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and anyone else who likes the idea of getting rid of Israel.

Now, I happen to know a bit about Andover, MA. It's a pretty wealthy community, with a highly-regarded school system. As an MIT alumnus, Mr. Francis would be a prized teacher.

But Andover is also very Jewish. In fact, it even has a very active Lubavitcher community.

Now, I happen to have an acquaintance who lives in Andover. This acquaintance happens to have a kid attending Andover High School, where Mr. Francis teaches. And this acquaintance happens to be Jewish.

My acquaintance was a smidgen surprised to hear from me, and even more surprised to hear about Mr. Francis' extracurricular activities. They also thought that several of their child's friends' parents -- also Jewish -- might also find it interesting.

So far, it appears that Mr. Francis' credentials as an MIT alumni and teaching credentials have protected him from being brought to account for his political activities (including one time, I understand, being forcibly ejected from a Jewish community event, where he and his comrades showed up to "protest").

But now I've done a little meddling, whispered a few things in a concerned ear. I think now I'll just sit back and see what happens from here...

Update: apparently Mr. Francis maintains a strict firewall between his profession and his terrorist boosting (aside from the time he hired students to canvass Somerville for his divestment plan). My source says that his politics have apparently never intruded into the classroom, he's regarded as an excellent teacher, and the students and parents are quite aware of his politics -- but choose to disregard them. As long as he's doing the job he was hired for, they don't care what he does after hours.

I, personally, thought that the hiring students to canvass Somerville in favor of his "divest from Israel" petition would be a clincher, but I was wrong.


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Comments (15)

You WILL keep us informed, ... (Below threshold)

You WILL keep us informed, won't you? People like Mr. Francis count on others being distracted with everyday life and far more provocative developments elsewhere and by the time light shines on their nefarious activities much damage is done.

I am shocked and dismayed t... (Below threshold)

I am shocked and dismayed that the parents of these kids aren't alarmed. I'm a Christian, but if my kids were in his class and I got a whiff of his anti-Semitic policies, I'd go through the ROOF.

The insanity of college professors in this country is bad enough - but now it's trickling down to the high school level? Aren't any of these parents concerned that he might just grade the Jews differently than the other students? Maybe make a snide remark or two?

Well, this is Massachusetts... (Below threshold)

Well, this is Massachusetts we're talking about.

Teachers can have extreme v... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Teachers can have extreme views, either left or right, so long as they can keep it out of the classroom. If this guy is doing as good a job of teaching as they say he is, then his politics are his own business, so long as he keeps his BS to himself.

I have to wonder if the sch... (Below threshold)

I have to wonder if the school board and administration would be so accommodating if he spent all his extra curricular time campaigning against, say, gays? I'm just sayin'.

Whew, this is an ethical di... (Below threshold)

Whew, this is an ethical dilemma.

You see, I'm a Christian who's very active in my church. I do not allow my personal beliefs to tint my teaching or prejudice me against students whose beliefs are different from mine.

This gentlemen seems similar, although I think his activities are deplorable. If he truly does not allow his personal obsession to affect his students, I can't fault his keeping his postion, unlike that bozo in Colorado who spouted nonsense at his students. He does have the same Constitutional rights as the rest of us.

Plum's question is interesting, too. Perhaps some political opinions are more equal than others.

If I were a parent of an Andover High student, I would want to know if Mr. Francis were supporting terrorist groups. IN THAT CASE, I'd want him OUT--supporting terrorist groups is illegal.

I have to wonder i... (Below threshold)
I have to wonder if the school board and administration would be so accommodating if he spent all his extra curricular time campaigning against, say, gays? I'm just sayin'.

Or Muslims. Or if he were campaigning for NAMBLA ("but I keep it out of school!").

I'm sorry to read the updat... (Below threshold)

I'm sorry to read the update, but it's pretty much what I expected. Your posting is very mild as regards Dr. Francis and friends. He's continuing, according to an article in the Andover paper, to work on getting class credit for students who will come intern for his Green-Rainbow Party (Francis is Chair). Sound OK? Until you realize that Francis and several other divestment cross-overs have made the anti-Israel plank central to their platform (they've taken to writing the word "Israel" only in quotation marks). Given that, his activity with a school club, his involving students in his divestment activities... I'm not sure how tight a "firewall" he's actually mainted -- maybe with his physics class, but certainly not with the school.

Unfortunately, the Andover community is fine as long as they can export him to Somerville, or any Jewish or Israel-oriented event...where Francis is a disruptive fixture.

I don/'t want to defend the... (Below threshold)

I don/'t want to defend the guy. But....

Look so long as the teacher is not injecting his personal afflictions into the teaching environment and he is not breaking any laws outside of his first job then hey, its a free country. The fact that he 'hired' students to do work for him after class. Well that is contract law. The students were not coerierced it appears and were free agents to decide whether to be hired or not.

I don't like the guys politics based on this report but also based on this report I don't see any laws being broken. Best the school board could do is not reup his contract for the coming school year.

If he's tenured, they won't... (Below threshold)

If he's tenured, they won't get him out of there with a crowbar and a bucket of grease :)

Hold the phone.Wou... (Below threshold)

Hold the phone.

Wouldn't a parent be concerned that the students who do agree to work for their teacher in pursuit of his political beliefs might be favored more than others who decline to participate in these extra-curricular activities?

I also agree that Francis might be subjected to a different standard if her were advocating against, say, gay marriage or "intolerance of alternative lifestyles."

WOW!!!! Does this mean And... (Below threshold)
Doug Sinclair:

WOW!!!! Does this mean Andover will hire a rapist, pedophile, thief or murder as long as they don't bring "IT" into the classroom? Sounds very "compassionate" on their part.

And if we lose, this will b... (Below threshold)

And if we lose, this will be a prime example of why.
We let those who would subvert and destroy our way of life organize and form a disruptive - possibly destructive force while we support them.

The Politically Correctness is like a chain smoker who insists that his "cough" is not caused by the cigarettes. And we just shrug and go "wish you well". Then go to the funeral.

Except in this case, men like this want the funeral to be from our freedoms and way of life.

"He's continuing, accord... (Below threshold)

"He's continuing, according to an article in the Andover paper, to work on getting class credit for students who will come intern for his Green-Rainbow Party (Francis is Chair). Sound OK?"

Um, no. In order to get class credit for students that come to intern he has to introduce it to the students first. Things appear to be slipping through his "firewall".

People with extreme inclinations never hide them successfully.

If Mr. Francis asked the st... (Below threshold)

If Mr. Francis asked the students on school time or on school property to do what they did, wouldn't that involve preaching a hateful message to easily influenced students? How does that keep up the "firewall"? I'd say his politics are definitely influencing his students, which is a no-no.

If the high school keeps careful records of all complaints, citations, disciplinary actions, ect., then they may be able to build a good case against Mr. Francis if he does have tenure to get rid of him. Of course, most high schools don't keep good records of such things.






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