November 11, 2013
Note: The information contained in this post has been verified
Just like all of you I get emails passed on to me that make a variety of claims or assertions that are not true no matter how many folks have passed the message along. Usually, I hit delete and move on, but this one spurred my curiosity enough that I decided to check out and verify its validity. As you can tell by the date referenced, this email has been careening through cyberspace for quite awhile but at a time when our sense of entitlement has grown to the point that there seems to be no limits on the things that many of us feel we are owed as a “right” I thought its message was particularly relevant. This story needs no further comment from me.
“Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a Military History teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, Arkansas did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.
‘Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?’
She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’
They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’ ‘No,’ she said.
‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’ She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’
And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period.
Still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room. The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom,
Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.’
At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.
Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. don’t ever forget it.’
By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the state of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a WWII POW.”
Albeit belatedly, God bless you Mrs. Cothren.