SUPPORT TEACHER JOSEPH KYLE [BE POLITE]
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Parsippany (NJ) officials say H.S. mock trial of Bush crossed line
Board members blast class project; final 'testimony' to come
PARSIPPANY -- The war crimes "trial"
of President Bush in a Parsippany High School classroom is expected to
conclude today with additional defense testimony from the student
playing Bush, but controversy over the project is continuing. "It
clearly crossed a line," school board member Frank Calabria said Monday
of the mock tribunal, in which Bush is charged with "crimes against
civilian populations" and "inhumane treatment of prisoners." Calabria
said he will be asking some questions --"What occurred, how did it
happen, why did it
Teacher Joseph Kyle, whose
advanced placement government and
Kyle, 37, an 8-year teacher at the high school, has been the subject of mostly critical but also some supportive feedback from across the nation since the mock tribunal was first reported in last Thursday's Daily Record.
In a format change announced by Interim Superintendent James Dwyer on
Friday, the five-teacher
School board president Robert Perlett said Monday that a verdict would have detracted from the project.
"Guilty or not guilty, that's all people remember. There was much more to the project than that," Perlett said.
The teachers' union president, however, charged that administrators in the K-12 district were swayed by the firestorm into making the change.
"They just couldn't take the heat," said union president John Capsouras, who defended the class project.
Capsouras said that Kyle and his students, including two who appeared with him on Fox News on Sunday, "deserve a lot of credit for grace under fire."
Much of the reaction, pro and con, to Kyle and the mock tribunal has been from outside New Jersey. Calabria said he received e-mails from Texas, California and elsewhere.
Perlett said he expected that local residents will want to address the issue at Thursday's board meeting.
"There will be a reference to it, in all probability," Perlett said.
He said that neither Kyle, who received approval for the project in advance from principal Anthony Sciaino, nor the principal did anything wrong.
Back in class
Kyle, who said he didn't plan to attend the board meeting, said the trial would conclude today with further testimony from "Bush" and closing arguments.
The student standing in for the president, Xiaoyuan Jiang, was
questioned on Monday by Preeti Shenoy,
"I thought (Shenoy) did an excellent job of trying to make the case that the president has never condoned these actions,"Kyle said of alleged abuses of prisoners by U.S. forces.
Bush testified after a series of defense witnesses, including Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and former U.S. Envoy to Iraq Paul Bremer.
Prosecution witnesses last week included students standing in for
Sen. John McCain and Hachemi Abdullah,