China Study Author Testifies at Fired Vegan Teacher’s Hearing

The life expectancy of National Football League players might have as much to do with teaching art as the factory farming fired middle school teacher Dave Warwak is accused of teaching.

But it formed the backbone of Cornell University Professor Emeritus Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s testimony at the Board of Education hearing into the middle school teacher’s dismissal in Fox River Grove, IL, population 5,000, in April.

NFL players are only expected to live to 56 because “they are dying of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and diet related illnesses,” testified Campbell in defense of Warwak’s classroom charge that animal foods will shorten lives.

Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, is author, with son Thomas M. Campbell II, of the 2005 nutrition bestseller, The China Study, which links premature death and many diseases to diet and was called the “Grand Prix of Epidemiology” by the New York Times.

After reading The China Study, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Tony Gonzalez dropped animal products from his diet. testified Campbell, and “this past season he broke the all-time record for the most catches, the most touchdown passes and the most yards gained of any NFL tight end in the history of the National Football League.”

The China Study also converted Minnesota Twins pitcher Pat Neshek to an animal free diet says a June ESPN report which also cites vegan diets of Detroit Lion Desmond Howard, Miami Dolphin Ricky Williams, former St. Louis Ram D’Marco Farr, Milwaukee Brewer Prince Fielder and Atlanta Hawk Salim Stoudamire.

Forty-five year old middle school art teacher Dave Warwak was dismissed last fall from the District 3 school system where he had taught for eight years for, “turning his classroom into a forum on veganism,” abandoning the art curriculum and asking students to keep it a secret from their parents according to school board documents.

What began as a simple be-kind-to-animals project approved by administrators who even participated–marshmallow Easter “Peeps” were made into “pets” to be cared for–got out of hand when Warwak put the “pets” in cages, pots and pans and between slices of bread.

“The problem was when it turned into a PETA advertisement and it was against the school lunch program,” testified Fox River Grove Middle School Principal Tim Mahaffy at the Illinois Board of Education’s three day closed hearings into Warwak’s dismissal conducted at the Fox River Grove City Hall in April.

Despite hearing officer Barry Simon’s repeated admonishments that the case was not about whether veganism, “is right or wrong or good or bad,” feeding children animal products was the 300 pound Peep in the room as Warwak, acting pro se, questioned Mahaffy.

Q: Would you say the school lunch goes against humane education?

A: I disagree. I don’t see the connection.

Q: The humane education says be nice to all things; the school lunch says, well, not animals?

Robert E. Riley (counsel for District 3): Objection. Arguing with the witness.

Q: Does the school promote meat and dairy one-sided or do they allow other viewpoints on it?

A: The school is committed to following both the State and federal guidelines for serving school lunches.

Of course Fox River Grove Middle School is paid to be one-sided.

Its financial statements for FY 2007 show it received $80,000 in food revenues and spent nothing.

Like 45,000 other public middle and high schools in the US and 60,000 elementary schools, it only receives reimbursement from the National School Lunch Program when it pushes milk and life-size Milk Mustache and “Body By Milk” posters adorn lunchroom walls.

This is the program that served children downer dairy cows, at risk for mad cow disease, until the January recall of Hallmark beef, observes Warwak in a recent memoir about his termination, Peep Show For Children Only.

Yet the pro dairy message on the school posters–which feature sports figures and popular musicians and arrive unsolicited from the National Dairy Council–is misleading and harmful testified Dr. T. Colin Campbell on the basis of decades of his National Institutes of Health-funded research.

“The consumption of dairy, especially at the younger ages, is a problem,” said Campbell which includes health consequences like higher risks of prostate, uterine, breast and endometrial cancers, osteoporosis and a “threefold higher risk of colon cancer.”

The health promises about strong bones and healthy bodies on the posters are written by a USDA dietary committee, said Campbell, whose members were found by a court to have conflicts of interests after refusing a Freedom of Information request.

“Six of the eleven members of the committee including the chair had an association with the dairy industry,” said Campbell. “And the chair himself had taken more money without telling the public about it than he was allowed under the law.”

The animal rich diet the Fox River Grove’s District 3 defends to the point of firing a tenured teacher might mean kids won’t live longer than the sports heroes they admire, summarized Campbell.

Arbitrator Simon has yet to make a ruling about Warwak–or the posters.

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist/cartoonist who writes about public health. Her latest book is Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Lies (2023). Her first book was Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health. She can be reached at: Read other articles by Martha.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Tom W said on July 5th, 2008 at 8:03am #

    It’s River Grove, not Fox River Grove—It’s not even near the Fox river…

  2. Tom W said on July 5th, 2008 at 8:07am #

    –Never mind…The Google First—shoot off mouth later….

  3. David said on July 6th, 2008 at 10:19am #

    You’ve got it all wrong!

    The real reason that the teacher was fired was because the locals confused Veganism with Vaginism.

    Damned art teachers.

  4. Life said on July 6th, 2008 at 4:40pm #

    Thats really great Dr. T. Colin Campbell did this for him!!

  5. warwak said on August 2nd, 2008 at 8:12am #

    Dr. T. Colin Campbell PhD. is a genuine hero

  6. FREEDOMROKS said on September 18th, 2008 at 4:42pm #

    I think the view’s supported by the teacher and Dr Cambell are great, but the teacher still should have been fired. There are better ways to get a message across than bombarding kids with fearfull lessons and asking them to keep it a secret from their parents. That is not even a little bit okay.

  7. warwak said on November 29th, 2008 at 6:30pm #

    I never said “keep it a secret” I told the children to tell everyone they know – parents and friends. The only “fearful” ones, are the parents and school

    “Not only at Fox River Grove Middle School but also in thousands of schools across the country, corporate agribusiness has run amok in the attempt to utilize public education as a place to establish the naturalization of commercial meat and dairy as lifelong eating habits, to generate increased sales, to subsidize the food industry against decreased producer prices, as well as to funnel below-health standards food not fit for public sale. Warwak was correct to demand the riddance of the Dairy Council’s posters as they had in fact already been targeted for removal from approximately 105,000 public schools by the Federal Trade Commission.” Richard Kahn PhD, University of North Dakota

  8. Katheryn said on February 24th, 2009 at 9:47pm #

    I think it is every teachers’ duty to educate students as to what is healthy, regardless of curriculum specialty. It is a brave thing to teach children new science, especially when it is against big money. I know of probably two more vegans in the state of IL and I’m glad to have run across a third! Don’t stop being courageous. When vegans are the only healthy people left in America, maybe people will start listening!

  9. Robert Malit, RN said on March 6th, 2009 at 9:35pm #

    My wife was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2001, was treated with traditional surgery, chemotherapy, eating traditional american diet like school children mentioned. She went into remission with these treatments over 5 years, then on the 6th year her cancer recurred – only this time diagnosis is terminal – none of the traditional therapy would help her heal.

    However, a friend of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Thomas Lodi in Mesa, Arizona through God’s grace is healing her of cancer. We switch from our Standard American Diet high in animal protein and dairy products to completely Vegan. As a bonus, in just 21 days of adopting the vegan diet my diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, chest pain, arthritis pain were completely reversed. Plus I lost weight from 169lbs to 143lbs in 3 months in addition to my wife getting healed of cancer.