Rude Reception

Manners are the least of our worries in Anaheim schools

The moment of silence, as it turns out, follows another ritual the school district has adopted thanks to Smith's urging: the so-called "Golden Rule." That's when a teacher or principal reads an inspiring quotation over the school's PA system—in a soothing voice reminiscent of Saturday Night Live's "Deep Thoughts With Jack Handy."

A day before the board meeting, a KABC-TV news crew interviewed Smith about "Stand and Respect." As the reporter explained Smith's role in implementing the "Golden Rule," the camera focused on a classroom loudspeaker, which blared the following deep thought for Anaheim's high school students: "You can make a big difference in this world if you just choose to be a good person."

From there, the camera pulled back to show a classroom full of bored-looking students who—like the brainwashed GI automatons from The Manchurian Candidate—were practicing how to stand in unison and mutter the words "Yes, sir" and "Yes, ma'am."

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