Vegan views may cost teacher's job

Vegan views may cost teacher's job

There are 29 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Sep 6, 2007, titled Vegan views may cost teacher's job. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Dave Warwak has taught art at Fox River Grove Middle School for eight years, and for most of that time, he was happy to eat meatloaf, hot dogs or whatever else the cafeteria workers dished out.

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Wise Eater

Natick, MA

#1 Sep 7, 2007
Ah, none so radical as the newly converted.

Chicago, IL

#2 Sep 7, 2007
The headline is misleading, it's not his views that are getting him in trouble but his trying to get converts during class. Imagine if he was a born again christian, would preaching during class be ok?
Mike L

Wood Dale, IL

#3 Sep 7, 2007
I wonder how the Tribune found out about this story????

United States

#4 Sep 7, 2007
As one who has studied nutrition deeply this teacher is out of line to even suggest a vegan diet for growing teenagers. This type of diet is hard enough for mature adults in that it needs extensive vitamin supplements to work. In addition, he could be speaking about grass-based small farming and farmers that care about animal welfare. Organic food is highly dependent upon animal wastes to provide soil fertility. His choice is his own. If he were being even handed he would present all sides of the issue to his students. There is plenty of truthful information to be had.
Super Vegan Mom

Willowbrook, IL

#5 Sep 7, 2007
Spreading awareness and offering a heads up about certain aspects to education on certain ways of life should be freely shared at all times, but at the same time, perhaps a club could have been created to learn more about human dietary consumption of all ranges of foods. Being both Vegan and an artist, I have to agree it is a form of art, but it won't make or break the grade when it comes to scheduled and planned art curriculum in class.

Erie, PA

#6 Sep 7, 2007
To the one who "studied nutrition deeply":

In their 2003 Position Paper on vegetarian diets, the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada state:

Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarian diets offer a number of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals. Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than nonvegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.

Naperville, IL

#7 Sep 7, 2007
School districts have a curriculum that should be followed. The teachers should not push their views on a captive audience.

Wood Dale, IL

#8 Sep 7, 2007
Plain and simple, he was hired to teach Art, which apparently he was not doing in favor of espousing a vegan lifestyle. His classroom is not his personal pulpit for preaching.

He could have easily shared his ideas at an after-school club, or set up a seminar at the local library one evening.

He deserves to be fired for his inability to do the job he was hired for. Perhaps PETA can find a job for him in their offices.
Mark A

United States

#9 Sep 7, 2007
I agree that Mr Warwak should start a club in his school to educate parents and kids about the benefits of plant-based diets (which can be substantail both for human health and planetary health), not to mention the enormous cruelty involved in animal agriculture. I've been an athletically active vegan for over seven years and I know lots of long time vegans who are healthier than most people their age. And no, it doesn't take complicated planning or vitamin regimes. Mr. "I've-studied-nutrition-d eeply" is just flat out misinformed. It's not hard to be healthy or happy without animal products. My friends and I are living proof. I hope Mr. Warwak can channel his activism into an extra-curricular group that will allow him to reach students without risking his job or angering the ignorant.
Mark A

United States

#10 Sep 7, 2007
BTW, the comparrison between talking to students about religion and talking to students about veganism is flimsy. Religion is a matter of faith. The cruelty, disease, and environmental destruction caused by animal-based foods are well documented facts of life. I understand it is threatening for people to hear that what they are eating is hurting animals, hurting themselves, and hurting the earth. Those are things I didn't want to face either. Nobody wants to feel like a bad person. And we're not bad people. We've just been raised in a bad system. But we can all wake up whenever we want to and start making more compassionate choices. We can show mercy. What's so hard about that? If you think vegans are crazy, you should at least go out and read Diet For A New America (the book Warwak was lending out). Have an open mind. If you still disagree after you read the book, at least you'll know what you're disagreeing with. Peace.

Downers Grove, IL

#11 Sep 7, 2007
Sounds like the guy is being canned for being a jerk and trying to impose his beliefs on others. This is no different than if he were imposing religious (Scientologist or Baptist or Catholic) or political beliefs on others.

This has nothing to do with being a vegan and everything to do with not knowing when to shut up.
Sue Rushford

United States

#12 Sep 7, 2007
Why do so many people feel so threataned by vegans? Don't people who eat animal products know their food came at the expense of atrocioius abuse towards animals? Don't they care? I have to commend Warwak for risking his job to educate young people on what the animal agriculture industry has been so successful at hiding from us all for so many years. There is no doubt that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are horrific institutions that need to be dismantled now. The animals are unable to speak up for themselves, and unless people like Warwak inform us of these horrors, we will remain ignorant of our moral wrongs, and animals will continue to be slaughtered and tortured by the billions so we can continue to suffer from heart disease, the pharmaceutical companies can continue making their enormous profits, and the government can ratain their status quo. Three cheers to Warwak for standing up for the animals and for what is right! He should definitely not be fired for teaching the truth! He's only trying to educate so his students can make informed decisions.
Jerry Dos

Los Angeles, CA

#13 Sep 7, 2007
Mr. Warwak faced a tough choice: using Art class a little broadly, vs the unspeakable horrors of factory farming. Mr. Warwak made the right choice, absolutely. The horrible system of the Standard American Diet (SAD) has gone on far too long, because people are kept in the dark. It would not be surprising if the meat industry pressured the school to discipline Mr. Warwak. Bless Mr. Warwak for his courage in doing the right thing, despite fear of reprisal. And thank you, Tribune, for giving this the attention it deserves. Anyone still against Mr. Warwak, please read the John Robbins book. It might give you quite a shock.
Jerry Dos

Los Angeles, CA

#14 Sep 7, 2007
One more thing... everyone in favor of Mr Warwak, please consider taking a moment to write a note of support. He's already done alot, and a small effort from each of us can really magnify the impact.

Duluth, GA

#15 Sep 7, 2007
I have personally worked with Dave and I have a few things to say. First off, no, I do not agree that art is the place to teach about veganism. That said, he is a great art teacher. People keep saying he should stop preaching and teach art, he does. He is very talented and the kids learn a lot from him. Last year when he made his display on animal cruelty, he was not trying to shove his views down the kids throats. He was simply letting them see a different side of the story that most adolescents are not familiar with. Many of the teachers at the school personally attacked him for even bringing up the subject. I know the students at this school, and despite their young age they are very bright. They are more than capable of making there own informed decision. Maybe Dave is taking things a little too far, but so are some of the other teachers. They are actually saying they are afraid of him and what he will do. Please, he wouldn't hurt a fly (literally). He is a kind, compassionate man. He should not be punished for that. However, I would definitely say start a club after school with permission slips from parents rather than doing this in art class. I know a lot of the kids would go. It doesn't hurt anyone to know the facts about what goes on in factory farms. There is nothing wrong with teaching the truth. I think everyone needs to just calm down and think about it, who is he really hurting? NO ONE!!! He is just trying to open eyes and help animals. The people who don't care about this are the ones who need to change, not Dave.

Chicago, IL

#16 Sep 7, 2007
He wasn't hired as a science teacher, a nutrition teacher, a health teacher - he was hired as an art teacher, and it sounds like he wasn't teaching much art. What if he was supposed to be teaching Math and was instead preaching about his eating choices? Would you be fine with his "teaching" when your kids are unable to add? If there is to be a "Healthy Eating" glass, would he even be qualified to teach it? It wasn't his place to preach his morality to these children, that's what their parents are for. If I spent the semester teaching my Social Studies class the evils and horrors of smoking instead of the Constitution, I would absolutely expect to be fired.

Flushing, MI

#17 Sep 8, 2007
If you were a health teacher and you taught about how bad smoking is, would there be such an uproar? Nope. Not even by the smokers. Because we all know that smoking is unhealthy.

Don't like the truth about something? Then don't condone it.

Veganism/vegetarianism is one thing that instantly puts those who aren't, on the defense. Not all of us preach. Not all of us judge. In fact, I'd say most of us don't. But those who take our choices as personal attacks sure have no problems dishing it out.

The person who posted earlier about working with this teacher has clarified that this teacher is not preaching all over the place. He's being available for students to talk to or borrow materials from. He made an art exhibit that supports his beliefs. So the f*ck what? That's what everyone does.

Glen Ellyn, IL

#18 Sep 8, 2007
This is how teachers should be. Kids need to be taught to find the truth in all things and make their decisions on their own. He is not telling the kids what to do, but encouraging them to make educated choices. Most people do not fully understand what happens in factory farms. Whether eating meat is right or wrong, people need to know the facts before deciding whats right for them. I fully support Dave Warwak.
Stan Thomas

Salt Lake City, UT

#19 Sep 8, 2007
Mike L wrote:
I wonder how the Tribune found out about this story????
Using their army of crack investigative reporters, rooting out the hidden details and taking on the corporate controlled media. Just like ALL stories.

Buy, baby, buy.
Stan Thomas

Salt Lake City, UT

#20 Sep 8, 2007
Schools are the front lines in a war between health and corporate interests. For decades schools have been aggressively pushing soft drinks, sugary juices, dairy, and meat. The result is an epidemic of childhood and adult obesity and related diseases.

I must commend Mr. Warwak whatever his motives. Mr. Robbin's book should be required reading for every student and their parents.

Mr. Warwak does not stand a chance against multinational agriculture, chemical, and pharmaceutical corporations, their media propaganda machine, and their hundreds of millions of programmed consumer slaves.

Look down at your belt line and ask yourself if something is wrong with this picture.

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