this teacher is Are you stupid?: this teacher is

By Rowlf on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 07:35 pm:

    simultaneously hilarious, sad and stupid

    'Kill the president' e-mail prompts probe
    Santa Rosa teacher gave assignment

    Anastasia Hendrix, Chronicle Staff Writer Thursday, July 10, 2003


    A political science instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College is being investigated by the Secret Service for telling his students to compose an e- mail to an elected official that included the words "kill the president, kill the president," a school administrator said Wednesday.

    Michael Ballou, a part-time lecturer who teaches an "Introduction to U.S. Government" course at the college's Petaluma campus, intended the assignment to be an "experiential exercise that would instill a sense of fear so they would have a better sense of why more people don't participate in the political process," said Doug Garrison, the vice president and executive dean of the Petaluma campus.

    However, it "clearly is a violation of our board policies," said Garrison, who learned of the incident on Monday from campus police officials and immediately summoned Ballou to his office for an explanation. He said Ballou was continuing to teach his classes while the matter was under investigation by the Secret Service.

    Ballou did not respond to requests for an interview.

    Most of the 30 students in the class dismissed the June 25 assignment as a joke, but after it was repeated at a subsequent class, one student did send the e-mail to U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Napa Valley) on July 5.

    Leslie Danz, a spokeswoman in Thompson's Washington, D.C., office said the e-mail, which said only "kill the president, kill the president," was not opened until Monday because of the holiday weekend. It was immediately forwarded to the Capitol police service, she said. It was the first time the office has encountered such a threat, Danz said.

    The student was interviewed by the Secret Service, which had begun investigating the assignment after being tipped by a classmate, Garrison said.

    Making a threat against the president is against the law and subject to up to five years in prison.

    "Whether the intention was there or not, he created an environment where he was jeopardizing students," Garrison said.

    E-mail Anastasia Hendrix at

By Antigone on Thursday, July 10, 2003 - 08:40 pm:

    I wonder...if you forwarded the text of this article to your representative, would you be investigated? It contains the "offending" phrase.

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