Ignorant Teacher Threatens to Call Cops over Linux Distro

December 11, 2008

Link to HeliOS Project blog. which contains the full response.

  • A teacher has thrown a student into detention and threatened to call the police for using Linux in her classroom.

    The teacher spotted one of her students giving a demonstration of the HeliOS distro to other students. In a somewhat over-the-top reaction, she confiscated the CDs, put the student on detention and whipped off a letter to the HeliOS Project threatening to report it to the police for distributing illegal software.

    “I am sure you strongly believe in what you are doing but I cannot either support your efforts or allow them to happen in my classroom,” writes the teacher, identified only as Karen.

    “At this point, I am not sure what you are doing is legal. No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful. I will research this as time allows and I want to assure you, if you are doing anything illegal, I will pursue charges as the law allows.

    “I along with many others tried Linux during college and I assure you, the claims you make are grossly over-stated and hinge on falsehoods. I admire your attempts in getting computers in the hands of disadvantaged people but putting Linux on these machines is holding our kids back,” she writes.

    Not content with completely missing the point of Linux, Karen concluded by throwing down the ultimate insult to the Linux advocates: “This is a world where Windows runs on virtually every computer and putting on a carnival show for an operating system is not helping these children at all.

    “I am sure if you contacted Microsoft, they would be more than happy to supply you with copies of an older verison of Windows and that way, your computers would actually be of service to those receiving them…”

    The HeliOS project members were understandably upset, and quickly fired off a reply.

    “Please…investigate to your heart’s content. Linux is a free as-in-cost and free as-in-license operating system. It was designed specifically for those purposes…

    “I don’t know when you attended college Karen but the Linux of even two years ago pales in feature and ability to what there is available now… and that in turn will pale in a year’s time. Linux is superior to Microsoft Windows in so many ways, they are too numerous to mention here.”

This annoys me so much! “No software is free” WHAT?! Have you never heard of open source or freeware? How can you be so ignorant. Has she never heard of Mozilla Firefox or even MSN? Yes MSN is free to download. Or even itunes for Christ sake. You know what, I think people like this should be made to sit through a lesson that explains these things to stop this kind of thing for happening.

Well atleast Ken Starks will do something about it.

Now. You give that boy his disks back. Aaron is a brilliant kid and he’s learned more using Linux than he ever did using Windows. Those disks and their distribution are perfectly legal and even if he was “disruptive”, you cannot keep his property. I have placed a call to the AISD Superintendent and cc’d him a complete copy of your email. It looks like we will get to meet in his office when School starts again after the holiday. I am anxious to meet a person who is this uninformed and still holds a position of authority and learnedness over our children.


One Response to “Ignorant Teacher Threatens to Call Cops over Linux Distro”

  1. Jim Dittmer Says:

    This is so astonishing that one is tempted to check the calendar (Is it April 1st?). If I were the parents of this boy I would demand a meeting with the principal and the teacher and further demand remedial computer education for the teacher and a public apology for her behavior. There simply is no excuse for this kind of cluelessness by an educator in the 21st century. Not being aware of Linux, open-source, and freeware/shareware in this increasingly technological society is a sure mark of gross incompetence, amply reinforced by her arrogance.

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