December 7, 2007

NEA to Residents of Tiverton:

Justin Katz

Not one to shoot ducks in a barrel, I've resisted the urge to post this photo, but NEA-Tiverton President Amy Mullen's reaction in the Sakonnet Times suggests that more should be made of it:

Amy Mullen, a special education resource teacher at Pocasset Elementary School, treasurer of the National Education Association Rhode Island and president of the Tiverton branch, described Mr. Crowley's action as an "unfortunate incident" the NEA-Tiverton does not support.

"It is regretful communication has deteriorated to this level. We have been going through very difficult and very frustrating attempts at negotiating with the school committee. When First Amendment rights are violated, things can get heated," Ms. Mullen said. "It is unfortunate that Mr. Rearick chose to use the media to address this situation when there were other options available to him."

Note the linguistic distance and the spin back to the school committee. Shameful.

This wasn't an "unfortunate incident"; it was a deliberate statement, made out of either profane calculation or an adolescent lack of control. In a sane system — a professional one — the teachers would be requesting a new rep from the union and telling any reporter who would listen that they absolutely don't want Crowley to be seen as representative of them.

Sadly, as I've been finding, the teachers don't appear to be unwilling pawns in the union's games. One gets the impression that the "unfortunate" part of the "incident" was that somebody had a digital camera handy.


For the sake of clarity: Ms. Mullen's reference to First Amendment rights probably has to do with two teachers' suspension (with pay, of course) for publishing an anonymous letter in local union newsletter attacking (and making allegations about) individual school committee members. The photo of Crowley was taken at the protest related to that matter.

(I apologize for any confusion. My "to post" pile has been growing in proportion to my too-heavy schedule, and this story is in it.)


For the record, I first saw this picture on Dan Yorke's exhibits page about a week ago. Inner turmoil kept me from pointing it out until today.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Thank the Gods for Pat Crowley. I'm sure his boss, Bob Walsh is very proud of him.

Posted by: Greg at December 7, 2007 7:57 AM

When is everyone going to smarten up? That gesture by Crowley is to the kids. Do you [snip] parents think that the schools are run for kids? Hah! WAKE UP! The schools are run for the scumbag teachers unions.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at December 7, 2007 9:24 AM

Please Bob Walsh:
You make sure Crowley becomes and remains the main spokesman for your [snip] organization ("the national news media have ignored an
estimated 5 million students who have been sexually abused by their
public-school teachers." -Source-

Posted by: Mike at December 7, 2007 9:36 AM

Please, guys.

I've done some very minor editing to the above comments because there's no need to cede the high ground in our rhetoric, here.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 7, 2007 10:15 AM

Is there any way we can get this image pinned to the top of the page?

Posted by: Greg at December 7, 2007 10:36 AM

Greg, We don't usually do that, but let's just say I'm holding off on posting for a while to ensure maximum exposure.

Posted by: Marc Comtois at December 7, 2007 10:52 AM

I think we should get the original image and make up t-shirts for the residents of Tiverton that say "NEA to Taxpayers" and then the image.

Posted by: Greg at December 7, 2007 10:59 AM

Crowley should've just blown a kiss instead. Any moron can flip a middle finger. If I really want to offend a driver who cuts me off, I just blow them a kiss, like Brian Billick did to Rodney Harrison during their trash talking Monday night,

Posted by: rhody at December 7, 2007 11:03 AM

Whose first amendment rights are being violated in Amy Mullen's version of events?

Any why is there a "purportedly" in the original Sakonnet Times photo caption...

Photo taken from inside Superintendent Rearick's office purportedly shows National Education Association Rhode Island assistant director Patrick Crowley making the gesture during a Nov. 26 protest. The picture has circulated in e-mails and on the Internet. A local union spokesperson said the union does not support that "unfortunate incident."
Is someone claiming that it's not Pat Crowley in the Photo?

Posted by: Andrew at December 7, 2007 11:14 AM

Pat Crowley: class act as usual. Maybe he considers this is a step up from the duck suit stuff for him. But, it's for the children, right? Was Pat doing this (this "what?" would be a good question) on his own time or "on the clock" (assuming he even has a clock to "work" by to begin with).

Has anyone in Tiverton considered filing for a restraining order -- at least to keep him a certain number of feet some school buildings or something? Maybe in Bob Walsh's mind, this little episode makes him look better to the rest of us by comparison (I know you read this).

PS Am I reading this right, or is someone trying to claim that flipping the bird is now protected by the First Amendment? ;)

Posted by: Will at December 7, 2007 12:07 PM

It has been ruled a protected speech in a case where somebody flipped off a cop and the cop arrested him.

That doesn't make it classy behavior. Nor does it help advance the argument. But that's fine by me as it just allows us all to see the gutter that the NEA has dragged this into.

Posted by: Greg at December 7, 2007 12:10 PM

There a man named Crowley
An official of the NEA
Who liked to get rowdy
Yes, this made his day

He’d flip the bird
And dress like a duck
And yell at the taxpayers
“You all suck”

“I’m from the union
Yes! Seniority and tenure!
It’s not our concern
If we’ve set your children for failure”

“Ah, we’re professionals”
So he’d say
Then flip the bird
And walk away!

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at December 7, 2007 12:35 PM

Ragin' gets the prize for post of the day!

Posted by: Greg at December 7, 2007 12:45 PM

"Any why is there a "purportedly" in the original Sakonnet Times photo caption...

Photo taken from inside Superintendent Rearick's office purportedly shows National Education Association Rhode Island assistant director Patrick Crowley making the gesture during a Nov. 26 protest. The picture has circulated in e-mails and on the Internet. A local union spokesperson said the union does not support that "unfortunate incident."

Is someone claiming that it's not Pat Crowley in the Photo?"


The Sakonnet Times could not definitively identify the bird flipper as Pat Crowley since everyone knows him only as 'that loser' and his own preferred handle is 'Duckboy'.
Another proud NEA moment. Beautiful! lol

Posted by: Tim at December 7, 2007 5:02 PM

Well, looks like Mr Crowley is progressing along very nicely!
A little over a year ago he was going to the debates at senior centers between Carcieri and Fogarty dressed as Bush and scaring the elderly ladies as they entered, as overheard by myself as the elderly ladies discussed once they entered.

Not surprised at all! LOL!

Posted by: Jake4RI at December 7, 2007 5:15 PM

Live by the bird, die by the bird!

Posted by: michael at December 7, 2007 5:25 PM

The reason why they used "purportedly" for Pat Crowley aka Ducky, is the same reason why they might use "alleged" to talk about someone accused of molesting kids. It's nothing more than a legalese cop out to potentially protect them from greedy trial lawyers in the unlikely event that it was some kind of impersonator (by the way, we should forward this to Charlie Hall -- it seems like perfect Ocean State Follies sketch material).

Anyway, I think it's a golden opportunity for those of us who are actually concerned about our state's below average educational quality to show what the other side (those who don't care if kids fail, as long as their check clears) really thinks about taxpayers and the children they use as pawns. He can be our new poster boy / duck!

Posted by: Will at December 7, 2007 5:46 PM

Geez, you couldn't pay for publicity like this.

It is physical evidence of all the negative stereotypes of unions: ignorance, rudeness, hypocrisy and concern only about self-interest.

If the situation were reversed and Rearick had given the finger to Crowley or Mullen, the union would be demanding his removal for such "unprofessional" conduct.

If a young high school student had given the finger to Mullen and the administration did nothing, you can bet Mullen would be demanding punishment and accusing the administration of not standing behind her.

Here's a memo to the teachers: professionals don't strap on a bullhorn and stand outside flipping the bird to people. As far as I'm concerned, people who associate with guys like Crowley have no business teaching my kids.

Posted by: Anthony at December 7, 2007 10:39 PM

The very picture depicts why I decided to leave RI. I have taken my children, my career, and my hard earned money elsewhere. In my new location, my gifted kids are afforded the education they deserve. We have art, music, advanced math, reading and writing in the elementary levels. We also have after school activities that are not sacrificed for the teachers' contracts. Best of luck to you Rhode Islanders. I will not sacrifice my kids at the feet of individuals who lower themselves to hand gestures. C'est fini.

Posted by: Susan M at December 7, 2007 11:45 PM

BTW, has anyone ever noticed that Pat Crowley bares more than a passing resemblance to Vladimir Lenin? Coincidence? Hmmm. ;)

Posted by: Will at December 8, 2007 1:18 AM

Great role models huh?? I'm with you Susan M...We too left Tiverton 9 months ago. Sadly, because of the inferior "education" that our oldest daughter received while in Tiverton, it has been discovered that she is behind in practically every subject. Funny how a child who received "above average" grades during her 4 years in Tiverton is deemed behind now in a well organized, efficient school system. How many other children have not received the education that they deserve and that their parents are paying for in the Tiverton system? Our new community is wonderful, best schools around, teachers and principals who actually LIKE children and want to teach them. Our children LOVE their new school and we are so happy to see them get off the bus smiling, unlike our experience in Tiverton. Those who live outside of Tiverton think it's all wonderful. I say live there for 6 months, you will quickly find out...

Posted by: Lori S at January 22, 2008 10:23 AM
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