I became a BAT, which is to say I joined the Facebook group, about a year after it formed. I didn’t know anything about the group, but I thought it would be funny to tell people that I am an official badass teacher.

After a while, I caught on to the group’s mission and decided to hang around. Others I knew left because they thought the group was too hard-core and they couldn’t take the social justice approach that defines BATs.

As of this moment, BATS have 64,757 members. Anyone expecting that every member is in complete agreement on any issue appears as ridiculous as people who think that Rush Limbaugh’s audience are mind-numbed robots waiting every day for noon when they will be told how to think.

Both notions are false. Limbaugh built his audience because he found a way to reach the people who have a consensus about political and social issues. BATs has grown because of all the people who believe in defending, advocating for, and going on offense for public schools.

The social justice aspect gets stickier. In many comment threads upon various posts, people show discomfort with that part of the BATs mission.

A few years back, I was one of them. I didn’t always “get it.” But I hung around because it’s important to listen to people who think differently, look for their reasoning, and determine whether one’s beliefs should change.

For example, white privilege. I first encountered this phrase 20 years ago. It was flung in the face as an epithet, as a condemnation, and a hateful ‘you shouldn’t be allowed to breathe.’ At least that’s how it felt.

BATs helped me learn that when people of color raise issues of privilege and microaggression that it’s not personally directed against me. Because of BATs, I can listen, sympathize, and learn. BATs has made me a better teacher in my classroom.

It’s important to remember that BATs is not a teachers’ group. It is a coalition of like-minded educators, teachers and administrators alike, parents, and community members who believe in public schools and a fair deal for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and everything else our society uses to label us and divide us.

For that reason alone and the great, long battle we are waging to save our schools, we don’t want to turn into cannibals and eat our own. Bashing parents or students is not allowed.

BATs is not the forum for debate on its founding principles. Thus it has been moderated from the beginning, which means that periodically a protest will arise that the group only allows comments and posts if they fit the particular views of the moderators.

Please don’t confuse first amendment rights with a social media group. The first amendment guarantees that the government cannot prosecute or imprison people for the views they express. It does not mean that people can say whatever they want wherever they want.

Recently, these issues have arisen again in the group. While some may decry the moderators’ attempts to maintain a productive group, sometimes the comment threads can turn counterproductive. It happened over the weekend and then someone posted about suppression of viewpoints and censorship. (They didn’t use those exact words, but that’s the gist of it.)

And again, the comment thread turned counterproductive. Some persons couldn’t resist the personal attack. When I read someone say that ‘you shouldn’t be in a classroom in front of children if you think that,’ I knew another post had to be shut down.

And, despite the protests, a moderator did allow a dissenting and critical post to appear on the Facebook wall.

It’s important to remember that BATs is not a teachers’ group. It is a coalition of like-minded educators, teachers and administrators alike, parents, and community members who believe in public schools and a fair deal for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and everything else our society uses to label us and divide us.

For that reason alone and the great, long battle we are waging to save our schools, we don’t want to turn into cannibals and eat our own. Bashing parents or students is not allowed. Or anyone else.  ^0^

2 thoughts on “Badass Teachers

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