Nathanael Greene Elementary School
Nathanael Greene Elementary School is an elementary school in Stanardsville, Virginia, a 192-acre (78-ha) town which basically consists of a highway intersection. The school is named for the Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene. Chris attended fourth-grade classes at this school. To this day, he consistently misspells the school's namesake as "Nathaniel Greene."
|“||...they abused me by pinning me to the ground with, uh, their ha--with, uh holding my wrists and my ankles||”|
|Chris on his teachers and principals|
Chris has also claimed that his time at Nathanael Greene inspired and justifies his hatred for homos, since the principal who allegedly assaulted him was supposedly gay. If this sounds a little odd to you, well, we're just getting started.
Based on "physical abuse from 5 faculty members", Chris's parents took the case to Greene County court. After the school board threatened to take Chris out of mainstream schools, Bob and Chris moved to Chesterfield County.
Why Chris left
|“||There was conflict over where he would have his schooling. The school system or the Department of Social Services had attempted to place the patient in a special school. His parents were very adamant that he be in a mainstream high school. In order to maintain custody of the patient, the patient's father moved them to Richmond, Virginia.||”|
|Jeff Raynor, M.D., 5 November 2004|
The autism papers confirm that Chris's parents moved him out of Greene County to avoid the possibility of having Chris admitted to a special school. Still, a clear picture of what actually took place has never come together. In his accounts of and references to the incident, Chris unsurprisingly leaves out important details (such as what prompted the school staff to "abuse" him) and tends to spin the story in a way that favors him.
Chris's side of the story
Though Chris does briefly complain about getting an "F" in the fourth grade during the "Song of Christian", he doesn't mention anything else about his time at Nathanael Greene in that video. The earliest documented mention by Chris of the incident which led to his departure from the school was made in 2003 in Chris + Sarah's Life-Shares in which Chris blamed the incident on the faculty's lack of knowledge on how to deal with an autistic child. Chris alluded to the incident once more in Story of My Current Days ("my torturing past with the jerks of the Greene County School System") but did not elaborate any further. His earliest detailed account of the incident appears in his first major YouTube address to the world, from 7 November 2007.
|“||...some of the teachers and principals of Nathanael Greene Elementary School… that I was attending in later years (about, uh, late 1980s, early 1990s) [inhales sharply] They abused me—they abused me by pinning me to the ground with, uh, their ha—with, uh, holding my wrists and my ankles, pinning me down to the ground and—and audio-taping my cries and shouts. But, anyway, my mother and my father, they both fought the court system, the Greene County court system, which, uh, they were not a very nice bunch of people, very not. Hands down. But, anyway, we eventually moved to Chesterfield County for a nice, better school system.||”|
|Chris, Chris Chan's Public Announcement|
He recounted a similar, but shorter version of the story in his Wikipedia profile.
|“||Some conflict between my mother, father and the school system occurred after physical abuse from 5 faculty members late in my 4th Grade; my parents took the case against the Greene County School Board for a year or two. The board threatened to lock me away in an institution, and my family did not want that, so in September, 1992, my family and I moved to Chesterfield County, while keeping our Ruckersville Home, for better Schooling.||”|
|Chris, on Wikipedia, 01 May 2009.|
|“||Yeah, well, how about being pinned down by three teachers, a guidance counselor, and an elementary school ... prinstapull ... and having your screams and cries recorded on audiotape like a torture chamber? ... They just hated me because they don't, they did not understand people with autism. And so they tortured me as such. I even ended up with a rash on my neck from that thing, among other things! And we had to find a school system, they wanted to put me in a mental institution!||”|
|Chris, Father Call|
One of the Common Questions Chris answered in the Mailbag in November 2009 asked him to list the 10 worst things that had happened in his life. The elementary-school incident came in at number 10.
|“||Being pinned down on the floor by a teacher, two teacher aides, the Guidance Counsoler and the Principal on the floor and having my screams and cries recorded onto audiocassete back in 4th Grade.||”|
|It was worse than The Autism, but not as bad as leaving high school.|
Chris's other side of the story
In early 2009, Chris began to reveal another facet to his story, claiming that the principal was a pedophile. He alluded to this element of the story in his Captain's Log video from 21 January 2009, where he hinted that he (obviously lying through his teeth in order to bawww to his audience) had uncovered "repressed memories." Chris later went into a bit more detail in Mumble 3.
|“||Oh yes. Doctor Johnson of Nathanael Greene Elementary. The principal. He was a h- he was uh, the homo... that pretty much set me against... the homos and further kept me on the straight path.||”|
|Chris, Mumble 3.|
In an IRC chat from around the same time, Chris had more to say about Principal Johnson, as well as his father's campaign against the school board that later ensued.
|“||Back in my Green County Days, The Principle of the Nathanel Greene Elemetary School, Dr. Johnson, was a Homo, and when I was sent to his office; he picked me up, set me on his lap, then I would always get off his lap, because I ALWAYS HATED that; I felt bad vibes back then. Fortunately, it has never gone beyond that, and my father caught his intentions on that, and the Court Battles Started. He likely exagerates, but my father knew that there were a bunch of homos within that school board, and that was why they hated me and my family, in addition to those people not understanding Autism. Anyway, from those past memories, that is why I have grown up to Rarely Associate with men, and why I DESPIE THE HOMOS the Worst.||”|
|Chris, on IRC, circa 21 January 2009.|
Chris recounted another version of the story in Alec Benson Leary Phone Call 8, when Alec claimed that homosexuals had never done him any harm.
|“||I was abused by one! A homosexual principal at my elementary school, slapped me on his lap, said some offensive, said some offensive things to me, and I felt uncomfortable, so I jumped off his lap and hid under his desk.||”|
|Chris, setting himself up for another parody.|
When Alec pressed him to explain what those "offensive things" were, Chris couldn't recall any details. Bear in mind that Chris considers anything offensive if it's something he doesn't want to hear, so Bruce was probably just telling Chris to study harder or behave better or something similar.
Given the fragmented nature of Chris's accounts, it's not clear whether he believes that the principal's-lap incident and the pinned-down-and-taped incident were directly connected. Certainly it's easy to imagine how they might be linked together: Chris goes to see the principal, he feels threatened, he becomes agitated, then more staff members have to be called in to deal with the problem. Another possibility is that he threw a hissy fit over getting an F on an assignment and the situation got out of hand. However, a more complete and reliable version of the story (or stories) has yet to be discovered.
Chris's beliefs that he was molested and that there was a conspiracy to have him institutionalized is most likely inspired by Bob, who has delusions of things like unidentified possible homosexuals, Megan Schroeder, and Michael Snyder all being in collusion to get Chris kicked out of the GAMe PLACe. Bob's attribution of that incident to an imaginary cabal instead of Chris's behavior also shows a similar pattern of accountability on behalf of the Chandlers.
Obviously, there are several oddities and inconsistencies in Chris's stories. This may be a deliberate attempt to cover up the truth, or simply the result of Chris unconsciously conflating and exaggerating his garbled memories of the event.
- Chris has never clearly explained what triggered these incidents. According to all of his accounts, the school faculty either assaulted him without provocation or for lustful or sadistic reasons.
- Public schools are required to have faculty experienced with special education, so it's doubtful that Chris was surrounded entirely by people who didn't understand his condition.
- As a rule, elementary school principals aren't supposed to let kids sit on their lap for the exact reason Chris was afraid of: it's inappropriate behavior. It's quite likely, however, that Johnson was just trying to comfort Chris and forgot the rule.
- On top of that, the odds that an openly gay man would be employed as an educator in the conservative South in the early 1990s are slim to none.
Furthermore, this assumes that Chris's claims of abuse by his principal aren't entirely fabricated to begin with. For starters, his line about "repressed memories" is fishy, and the revelation becomes even more suspect in light of its timing.
Chris first mentioned his recollection of the incident in a video recorded right after his 20 January 2009 IRC chat, where Clyde Cash and BILLY MAYS accused him of being a closeted homosexual and mocked his irrationally aggressive homophobia. It's quite possible that Chris invented the story about being abused as an excuse to defend his homophobia and a means of further proving his straightness — since he was abused by a gay man, goes Chris's unique version of logic, that means he can't be one himself, and likewise that incident of abuse justifies his irrational hatred of gay people in general.
As for the more thoroughly-documented incident where Chris supposedly had to be subdued and tape-recorded, it's most likely that Chris's autistic behavior was difficult for the school's staff to control, and the district sought evidence to prove that Chris needed to be moved out of mainstream schools. Evidence like this could also be used as evidence of parental neglect or incompetence in choosing to avoid the obvious care a child with mental disabilities needs.
A critical gap in the story concerns exactly where Chris would have gone if he had been removed from the mainstream school system, as the Nathanael Greene staff proposed. As mentioned above, the psychiatrist who conducted Chris's psychiatric survey in 2004 described it as a "special school," but Chris generally refers to it using harsher terms like "institution" or "mental institution," as in the Father Call and his e-mails with Jackie, presumably because his parents have referred to it in such a manner.
One clue appears in the Jackie communications, where Chris calls it "that Winchester Mental Institution." Winchester is a small city in the Shenandoah Valley area of northwestern Virginia, and it's home to the Grafton School, a well-established school and group home that specializes in, among other things, the education and treatment of young people with autism. Some observers speculate that this may be where Chris would have been sent had his parents not insisted on mainstreaming him.
The reasons why his parents were so adamant to keep him in a "normal" or "mainstream" educational environment aren't hard to guess. Not surprisingly, most of these objections are self-centered and are really about the parents' own feelings, not their child's needs. Like many parents whose children have special needs:
- They may have felt that Chris's need for "special care" would reflect poorly on them as parents.
- They may have assumed that Chris and/or his family would be stigmatized by being put in a special school.
- They may have assumed that Chris would be limited in future opportunities by being put in a special school.
- They may have feared that a greater financial burden would be imposed upon them if Chris was moved to a special school.
- They may have assumed that Chris's problem "wasn't a big deal," while educators who spent most of the day with him saw the reality of the situation.
- They, by Chris's own admission, thought that the school was going to lock Chris up in a padded cell for the rest of his life with no chances to make friends ever.
After pulling Chris out of Nathanael Greene, Bob Chandler unsuccessfully took legal action against the school district. His case was eventually dropped in 1994. In 1992, Chris's family moved him away to the Richmond suburbs in order to keep him in mainstream classrooms, a crucial step in the development of the Chris we know and love today.
In subsequent years, Chris has taken the notion (which supposedly originated with his father) of an autism-hating homosexual conspiracy to drive him from the school system and inflated it into something even more unlikely. In a May 2010 YouTube video he imagines that they are also responsible for forcing him to move away from his high-school friends in Richmond and getting him kicked out of The GAMe PLACe.
The decision to mainstream Chris at all costs is perhaps the most significant turning point in his development. Had he received an education more effectively tailored to his needs and learned more about his condition beyond how to use it as an excuse, he might have become a substantially more well-adjusted adult. Unfortunately, we will never know.
To this day, all of the residents of 14 Branchland Court consider it the wisest decision they have ever made.
The Facebook Review
|“||The teachers, counselors, and Principal here back in the early 90s physically abused and attempted molestation upon me, mentally and emotionally scarring me for life, because they did not understand or care for Autistic People (High-Functioning or Otherwise)||”|
|Christian Weston Chandler as he continues to look into his past.|
|The places of Chris's life|
Chris's education: Greene County Primary School | James Madison University | Providence Middle School | Nathanael Greene Elementary School | Manchester High School | Piedmont Virginia Community College (not to be confused with Private Villa of Corrupted Citizens)
Other attraction locations: University of Virginia | Charlottesville Fashion Square (Abercrombie & Fitch | Chick-fil-A | Pac Sun | Starbucks) | Wal-Mart (McDonald's) | Target | The GAMe PLACe | Impulse Gay Social-Club | Fridays After Five
Other places Chris has visited: Anytime Fitness | Best Buy | Burger King | Country Cookin | "Create-a-Crear Workshop" | Cville Pride | The End Games | GameStop | Golden Corral | McIntire Park | Region Ten | Snooky's Pawn Shop | Taco Bell