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The High School Teacher who had U.S. Veterans Carry Desks Into a Classroom-Truth!

Summary of the eRumor:  
The story of a social studies teacher named Martha Cothren of Little Rock's Robinson High School. Her students showed up on the first day of school to discover there were no desks in the room and that they would have to guess how to earn them.  The students suggested ways such as getting good grades or having good behavior.  Eventually the teacher opened the door to the classroom and 27 U.S. veterans came into the room, each carrying a desk and each in full uniform.  The teacher told the students that they did not earn the desks but that veterans like these had done it for them. It was the students' responsibility, she said, to learn to be good students and good citizens.
 

The Truth:  
The story is true.  

The text of the eRumor is taken from a speech given by former Arkansas governor and potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 2, 2007.  It describes events in Cothren's Military History class in 2005.  

The Veterans of Foreign Wars chose Cothren as a Teacher of the Year in Arkansas for 2005-2006.

Updated 4-10-07

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:


Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom.

The kids came into first period, they walked in, there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, "Ms. Cothren, where's our desk?" And she said, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn them."

They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."

"No," she said. "Maybe it's our behavior."

And she told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."

And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom. Second period, same thing. Third period. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in Ms. Cothren's class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom.

The last period of the day, Martha Cothren gathered her class. They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room. And she says, "Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily." She said, "Now I'm going to tell you."

Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she did 27 U.S. veterans , wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. And by the time they had finished placing those desks, those kids for the first time I think perhaps in their lives understood how they earned those desks.

Martha said, "You don't have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it's up to you to sit here responsibly to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don't ever forget it."


 


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