Principal Dana Campbell tried to build a cult of personality around his leadership.

Principal Dana Campbell tried to build a cult of personality around his leadership.

On the Right we decry the public educational system on a regular basis. While many times the leftward bias in the schools deserves our scrutiny, sometimes words like “indoctrination” seem hyperbolic. At the same time, we can find school administrators who wield tons of power and use it in ways that are, well, downright weird.

Witness Dana Carter, the new principal at Calimesa Elementary School in Yucaipa, CA. Principal Carter began the school year with a policy calling for students to kneel in place at given times until he appeared and dismissed them.

School district officials in San Bernardino County say they will discontinue a policy that required elementary school students to kneel down before being dismissed to class.

Principal Dana Carter at Calimesa Elementary School had reportedly instituted the policy, which called for students at various times of the school day to kneel down on one knee and wait for the principal or another administrator to dismiss them, as a safety measure.

Sure, the school’s official version of events sounds harmless enough — it’s a “safety measure.” But the parents got wind of the policy and read something different altogether into it.

At least one mother told KCAL9′s Tom Wait she was upset after hearing that her 7-year-old daughter was allegedly forced to kneel before Carter.

“She says that she has to drop down on one knee with her hands at her side, wait for the principal to come out, lift his arms and tell them to go to class,” said the mom.

“I feel that the principal wants to be like a king, and we don’t have kings in America,” she added.

Parents distributed flyers protesting the policy. The flyers contained such lines as:

All students must stop and “KNEEL DOWN” before the bell rings, and for them to be excused by either himself or an administrative staff member. [sic]


Campbell bowed to public pressure and ended the policy, and he has vowed to meet with parents to develop alternative safety measures.

To me, this story isn’t so much a political issue as it is a matter of a dumb choice on the part of school officials. The measure smacks of an attempt to build a cult of personality around the principal. What would be next? New uniforms, complete with brown shirts? Children dutifully singing songs in his honor? Thank God the school district had the good sense to end the policy before it became too entrenched.

What do you think? Would you allow your child’s school to enact such a policy?


You remember the old game “Telephone,” where you pass a message through several people, and the message usually gets distorted? Well, it turns out that’s what has happened with this story. The take-a-knee policy is more innocuous than it seems. Ace of Spades summarizes it best:

Basically the school’s idea is this: Kids get all hyper, running around at recess, then they continue that hyper behavior when it’s time to come back in from lunch, running and tripping and shouting like demons, as kids will. So, the school has them take a knee at the end of lunch, as a coach might do, to get that hyper energy to dissipate out from them, and I guess to change their minds over from the Run Like Angry Vikings setting to the Get Ready to Sit Still and Listen to a Teacher Talking setting.

Whatever the merits of this policy are, it certainly isn’t a case of a principal demanding kids kneel before Zod.

So there you have it. Sometimes we can run with an idea without finding out the whole story. I’m guilty of it here, and I offer up my apologies for not doing due diligence.