Schumann’s Room Rings Freedom

Mallory LaPiana, Staff Writer

Math teacher Tom Schumann’s room used to be covered in bumper stickers, but over time the space has been transformed into a shrine dedicated to American, and its most important ideals, as well as other rather more unique concepts.

Schumann said that he was inspired by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, to create the political tribute. “I was really motivated; the thought of putting up Pi 3.14159 and pictures of graphing calculators seem extremely boring to me and it doesn’t seem interesting,” Schumann said.

The walls of his classroom are covered with posters of flags and symbols of freedom. American flags also hang from the ceiling.

The patriotic collage is interrupted, however, by broken cell phones that appear almost like a strange garnish.  The crushed electronics are apparently meant to dissuade students from using their phones in class.

“The phones on the wall was motivated by me when I actually wanted to smash a student’s phone. They would not get off their damn phones when I asked, so I asked for volunteers to donate old phones so we could smash them and put them up and that’s how the phones on the wall started,” said Schumann.

The unorthodox decor is nothing if not memorable for students. “His classroom is one of the coolest rooms to go in. At first I found it somewhat scary, but over time I grew to like it,” said junior Victor Peterson.

Junior Jordyn Sutter said, “I go to Schumann’s class for math help all the time. His classroom is one of the coolest classes at Campo. His room is really unique and goes great with his personality.”

Schumann said that the design of his room is not meant to promote a specific political idealism, but rather it is intended to support the freedom of choice provided by America’s democracy. “It’s not saying I side with Republicans. It’s not saying I side with Democrats. It means I believe with the ideals of the country,” he explained.

“To me the flag is a symbol of freedom. To me you are free to speak your mind, think what you want. Obviously you don’t have the right to threaten people but you can speak your mind,” Schumann added.

One might expect the symbolism to be a distraction from the mathematics content they are supposed to be learning, but that isn’t the case for at least some of his students.

“The way the classroom looks doesn’t affect the way we do our work. Yeah, if we space off  the room is cool to look at, but Schumann is a great math teacher and that’s really all that matters,” said Peterson.