After assigning students an anti-Trump worksheet, a 7th-grade English teacher in Texas is receiving major backlash from parents, local politicians and others outraged by the indoctrinating classwork – including death threats.
A mother of one of the seventh-grade students assigned the work quickly informed conservative state Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) about the politically charged assignment given to middle schoolers within the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District (GCCISD) in Baytown, Texas.
“This was an assignment my 7th-grade daughter received that I found to be very out of place – to say the least,” Cain quoted parent Chris Felder on Facebook, according to Yahoo Lifestyle. “This type of non-factual rhetoric has no place in our schools – regardless of who the president is. My children have experienced great teachers in the classroom, but have also had to put up with those who see their role as indoctrinators – not educators. As a fellow graduate of Goose Creek ISD, I’m embarrassed that this is what our district tolerates.”
Cain was quick to get the word out and share his disgust over the matter, blasting the school district on social media.
"This individual has violated the sacred trust that every parent has with the State of Texas when they send their child into a public school," Cain wrote in a Facebook post about the teacher, according to Fox News. "They have lost the privilege of being in a classroom with Texas children, and forfeit the title of teacher. No teacher should attempt to indoctrinate a child to their ideology – no matter who is in the White House."
On Tuesday – the same day Cain posted an image of the anti-Trump assignment on Facebook – Republican politican issued a press release calling for the teacher to be fired, as reported by The Baytown Sun.
Under the mask of a writing and reading comprehension lesson, the English teacher clearly relayed anti-Trump sentiments to students.
“The teacher – who was not identified – gave her 7th-grade students an assignment where they read 10 student-written essays and determined what each essay inferred – hoping to increase the students' critical-thinking skills,” the Houston Chronicle informed. “One of the assignments called for the students to infer conclusions after reading an essay titled, ‘Trump Against American Values.’”
Once students finishing reading the left-leaning reading material, they were given two multiple-choice questions to answer.
"Which of the following conclusions would the author most likely agree with?" the first question asked, with one of the responses being, “Donald Trump should not be president."
Racial tension was then spurred by the next question.
“The second question asked students to complete the statement, ‘The reader can infer that ...’" Fox News’ Louis Casian informed. “One of the choices listed was, ‘Mexican Americans are the major group upset with President Trump.’”
Defending and discounting indoctrination
Public school district officials admitted the assignment was administered in poor taste, but insisted that it was an accident and refused to concede that it was given to students with political intentions. However, GCCISD response appeared to draw more attentions to the teacher death threats it received than addressing the concern about the political motivation behind the schoolwork.
“In a statement, Goose Creek CISD said the teacher ‘did not use good judgment’ with the assignment, but called the incident a mistake,” the Chronicle’s Jay R. Jordan recounted. “The district said it fielded several calls – including death threats – after news of the assignment broke on Cain's page.”
The district insisted that everything was taken care of.
"The matter has been settled at the campus level, as appropriate," the GCCISD statement reads.
Virtually all of the emphasis was put on the virulent conservative backlash.
"We received many calls at the district following the issue of a media release and social media post that told part of the story and did not reflect the fact that the matter had been resolved within the district," district officials stated. "Many of those calls were deeply disturbing and threatening in nature. While we all agree that the particular passage should not have been used, the teacher made a simple error in judgement. Like all of us, teachers are human and make mistakes from time to time."
Cain responded to the GCCISD’s handling of the situation – stressing his skepticism about the district’s contention that the political sway of the assignment was a mere oversight.
"I am glad that we had the opportunity to bring this situation to light and encourage civil discourse on this incident," Cain expressed in a statement, according to the Chronicle. "I'm also grateful to (Goose Creek CISD Superintendent of School Randal) O'Brien and the district for the actions they took before my office brought this issue to light. I know Superintendent O'Brien personally, and have seen first-hand how much he cares for students and high ethical standards in education. Some view this incident as a simple mistake – others see it as a betrayal of parents and students. Sunlight is the best remedy to inappropriate behavior in the classroom. The importance of Texans being made aware of such actions is to ensure public accountability to indoctrination in the classroom."
But GCCISD Director of Communications Beth Dombrowa stressed that the anti-Trump assignment did not get the approval of the district – insisting that the material was only used by the teacher to help students prepare for upcoming standardized state testing.
“…Clearly, the teacher did not use good judgment or did not review the materials that she received from an outside source thoroughly,” Dombrowa told Yahoo Lifestyles. “The matter was addressed with the teacher and the materials will no longer be used. The matter has been settled at the campus level, as appropriate.”
However, the assignment is deliberately made available to be used as politically charged instructional material for teachers to implement on students.
“The essay is published on the website, ‘Youth Voices,’ and was purchased from the online business Teachers Pay Teachers, for buying and selling classroom materials,” Yahoo’s Elise Solé noted. “The district is not naming the school or the teacher for their personal safety.”
Left-leaning parents not concerned about their children being subjected to politically charged instructional material believe that Cain was in the wrong for bringing the problematic lesson to light – insisting that such progressive indoctrination taking place within classrooms should not be exposed to the public … or even addressed.
“Other parents said Cain should not have meddled in a privately resolved dispute,” Solé pointed out
Parent Christina Hutchison – who has a 7th-grade daughter enrolled in the district – believes that the conservative representative should not have involved himself in the issue.
“Cain overstepped his boundaries,” Hutchison told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Still, no matter the president, we should respect the office. And kids are impressionable – they may interpret the essay as fact without input from their parents.”
Progressive-minded student mother Susan Cummings believes that it is no business of the public what goes on behind closed doors in the classroom, and she slammed Cain for his involvement.
“I’m disappointed that an elected official would use social media so irresponsibly and disingenuously,” Cummings told Yahoo. “He put the teacher in danger because anyone in our community can easily identify [the teacher]. That’s a severe invasion of privacy. It was like throwing a bomb.”