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Politics in the Classroom

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The heated Democratic presidential primary is apparently boiling over into the schoolhouse. To wit: A Delaware government commission is investigating a complaint from a ten-year-old student that her teacher alledgedly told her class that she would not vote for Barack Obama because he is a Muslim who “believes in different things and is scary,” according to Delaware’s News Journal. The alledged incident occurred before the February 5th Super Tuesday mock election at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in the Indian River School District.

On February 24th, the student's older sisters, who describe themselves as American Muslims who “love our country,” wrote a a letter to the editor of the Cape Gazette charging that “This teacher is telling her class something that is dangerous and untrue. ... We feel that kids need to be taught the truth in school ... [instead of] hatred and fear of Muslims. Our sister was badly hurt by what was said in her classroom.”

However, the parent of one of the girl's classmates claims that the teacher's words were taken out of context and that in fact she has told her students that, though a Republican, she may vote for Sen. Obama in the general election.

To make matters more complicated, the Indian River District is not a stranger to diversity issues, having recently reached a settlement in a case in which it was charged with allowing Christian prayer at a graduation ceremony.

8 Comments

I'm disappointed that anyone in our profession would disparage a presidential candidate. It would be proper to discuss Senator Obama's political views, his Senate votes, and even analyze his speeches. But to disparage him based on conjectures,innuendos, and generalizations is wrong. Children are impressionable at any age and it is our responsibility to promote the educational process. If this fifth grade teacher has a political agenda, then the teacher should use personal time to support a candidate.

"We feel that kids need to be taught the truth in school."

This reminds of Pilate's "quid est veritas?". Suppose the teacher's statement were the truth ... should he/she be forbidden to say it?

I think it best never to talk politics with students, but it seems clear to me that this family has a truth that they are supporting.

Would it be OK to say that a candidate's policies (Obama, Bush, Clinton) are incorrect? Can we explore any of what they say? (You know it's almost impossible to do this "neutrally" because we all have a point of view.)

And would this be different if the class were a 12th grade social studies class?

Who knows ...

I think the 5th grade student who as stated by a parent misinterpretted the info as most kids did. For her sister to be recorded making a statement is poor use of the press. If it has been documented by him that he is a practicing Muslim and he has stated that he attends his wife's church only because they do whats the big deal. If you are discussing the background of a candidate it will come up. The only mistake the teacher made was to keep her personal views to herself. If we are teaching about the Pilgrims and religious freedom why can't we pray during a cermony. We have allowed peope to come to America and dictate how we live. We were founded on Christian principles not Muslim principles. Why are we as a nation turning our back on God for people who are coming to this country now and telling us we can't pray to our Good. Do they have now violated our rights? We do not go to MUslim countries and tell them not to pray 3 times? Why are they aloowed to come to America and destroy our prayer life? I wish all christians who know and love the Lord stand up and fight for your rights to worship and pray. This is not a Muslim country.

To the person who made the statement above saying that this is "our" country". I hope you are a native American, because, this is their country and we took it away from them. "We" being the european immigrants starting with the Spaniards, English and everyone else. Also I hope you are not a teacher and are spilling this bile on our children!

I think we should stop talking about taking the country away from Native Americans. Do we know for sure that they were the first people here? Did they come from somewhere and "take" the country from someone else? There is a long history of countries "changing hands" during their development ... both here and in Europe.

All of us who were born here are "native" Americans ... what else could we be? My immigrant grandfather never allowed me to speak of us in terms of our past ... we were Americans by birth, and he by choice. I think anything else is "bile."

Hold on. This teacher is giving her student incorrect information. This is why our students aren't doing well..with teachers who aren't doing THEIR homework. Mr. Obama is not a muslim, and to say he was "scary," she has some serious sensitivity issues going on. Is this "hidden" racism?

The USA's regime is laisizm. The state has no religion including Christianity. So, no one blames to others related to her/his religion or believings. Americans do not elect the priest, or the imam, or any religious person for presidency. So the teacher should never say about the one candidate's religion to his/her students.

I think we all have to remember that there are freedoms we all have as citizens (native and naturalized)of the U.S., including freedom of speech, the press, and religion. The point is that Mr. Obama has stated he is not Muslim, so the information allegedly stated in the newspaper was incorrect. Secondly, the information given is hearsay and third hand if the sister of the girl who heard it was doing the reporting. Do consider the source, shall we!

Comments are now closed for this post.

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