The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, New York, recently reported that a teacher in an elementary school in New York sent home with a handful of students a flier with a message decidedly in opposition to President Donald Trump and his nominee to head the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos.
The flier, which appeared to have originated with the Schenectady Federation of Teachers union and was dated the day before Trump’s inauguration, called for parents and others to “help shield our students and schools” from Trump and DeVos and their plans to “attempt to destroy public schools” through a voucher program that provides school choice to parents of students in failing school systems.
The flier included the names and numbers of New York’s congressional delegation and a number of members of the state legislature, urging the parents to contact them and express their support for their efforts in opposing Trump’s school-choice agenda.
But a spokesperson for the district said the Paige Elementary School teacher had made a mistake in dispersing the fliers to about six students, as the fliers were never meant to be sent home but instead handed directly to sympathetic parents in agreement with the union’s stance.
But The Blaze reported that at least one mother took exception to the flier sent home with her 6-year-old son, who wondered why he needed to be “shielded” from the president.
“I was shocked that there was material being handed to my kid that blatantly creates division between my son and his president – in his eyes,” said Jolene Damian, mother of a first-grade student. “My 6-year-old just saw a big headline at the top that he needs to be shielded from his president.”
She had written a response on the flier and posted a picture of it to social media. Damien’s reply read: “This is shameful – how dare they send material home promoting fear & hate against our president. Don’t ever hand my child political material like this ever again!”
Seemingly echoing the district spokesperson’s explanation that the flier being given to students was a mistake, Superintendent Larry Spring stated, “That can’t get in backpacks. We have to be really careful with those kinds of things. What we put in kids’ hands is essentially curriculum … it can’t be partisan.”
The school’s administration has since made efforts to prevent a similar occurrence in the future, demanding that any papers sent home with students be granted approval by the administration first.
As was noted by the Allen B. West website, even if this was a simple mistake as the district and union claim, it nevertheless reveals their own strongly held partisan bias, and should call into question whether they are actually capable of teaching students in a wholly nonpartisan manner.
All this flier really does is reaffirm to many people exactly why public schools are failing so badly and why the school-choice agenda pushed by Trump and DeVos is so desperately needed these days, for parents and students alike.
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