Saturday, April 01, 2006

BOCES substitute makes principled stand

This clown "Switches to food stamps instead of shopping at Wal-Mart." I am not surprised that you could find a teacher who believed this. What I am amazed is a Teacher's Union who was willing to publicise it as something great.

"I do whatever it takes to survive and live a socially conscious life," said Powell, who has a tepee in his yard.

Part of that survival — or so he thought — included shopping at Wal-Mart to take advantage of cheaper prices for himself, his partner and her two children. Then his discussions about Wal-Mart with Sandra Carner-Shafran, a teaching assistant at BOCES and a member of the Board of Directors of New York State United Teachers, started churning inside him.

Powell put the brakes on his actions. Shopping at Wal-Mart? This is a place that encourages employees to get social services because it does not provide adequate health insurance or wages; sells goods made in sweatshops; and upsets entire communities by undercutting the downtown stores, then raising its prices when the locals go out of business.

"I don't like what Wal-Mart stands for," Powell said, noting the mega-chain's scanty health insurance for staffers. "Because of all those things they can lower the prices."

He and his partner agreed to go on food stamps for their family rather than shop at Wal-Mart any longer.

"I don't like to have to do that (use food stamps)," he said. However, the two children who are part of his family gave him extra courage because they had disliked shopping at Wal-Mart anyway, Powell said. They knew what the store stood for.

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