Vets outraged over Penn State video

April 8, 2009 9:21:30 PM PDT
A Penn State training video showing educators how to deal with troublesome students has some veterans hopping mad.The controversial video has since been pulled from Penn State's webpage, but the outrage continues to mount, even among those who founded the American Veteran's Museum.

"It's a product of ignorance, people who don't know veterans, haven't served in the military of don't have that kind of experience with veterans," Pennsylvania State Representative Bryan Lentz said.

Lentz, who served in Iraq with the Army, is among those terribly disturbed by the since removed video designed to show instructors how to cope with "worrisome student behaviors."

In the video, the instructor tells the department head he is still having a problem with a student.

The department head responds, "The veteran?"

The instructor goes on to explain to the department head that she's very nervous because the veteran student has confronted her about the poor grades he's receiving.

The instructor says to the student, "This isn't a personal thing against you."

The student responds, ": I think it is, you've made it very clear in your class how you feel about the war and you're taking it out on me."

The instructor says, "My personal beliefs have nothing to do with the way I treat you."

Joe Dymond, who served in Iraq with the Marine Corp, is disturbed that the video portrays veterans as monsters.

"Instead of teaching understanding and compassion, our educators are teaching that veterans coming back from this war are someone to be feared, someone to be scared of," Dymond said.

Robert Pavone, who served with the Army in Iraq, calls it stereotyping.

"It kind of hurts you inside, like why would anyone portray us like that?" Pavone said.

Media Mayor Bob McMahon, who served in Vietnam, remembers how his colleagues were treated coming back from the war back in the 60's and says, 'here we go again.'

"Here we are with a college, a college that just doesn't understand what it's like to serve in combat and therefore they have a perception that they probably didn't realize was created in Vietnam," McMahon said.

Tonight, the university released a statement saying, "The video has been pulled and that there was certainly no intent to suggest that any particular student group was inclined toward worrisome behavior. Our portrayal of the student as a veteran may be viewed by some as unfairly stereotyping members of this important constituency. We certainly regret any misperception."

For its part, a university spokeswoman says they are grateful for all the feedback they have received, and that it has been an important learning opportunity for them, one they will use to better serve their veteran students.

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