Principal rejects anti-war assignment (Teachers wanted 3rd graders to write anti-war letters)
Madison students’ planned letters set off dispute
By BOB PURVIS
Posted: Nov. 22, 2005
The principal at a Madison elementary school where teachers assigned third-graders to write a dozen letters urging an end to the war in Iraq sent a letter of apology to parents and ordered teachers to rescind the assignment Tuesday.
A letter sent home Friday with third-graders at Frank Allis Elementary School explaining the assignment to parents said students would be assigned 12 letters to write to third-graders at other Wisconsin and out-of-state schools, federal lawmakers, the media and President Bush.
If the war hadn’t ended by the 12th day of letter writing, students would have had to start the process all over again. The letter gave parents an opt-out option and said the assignment was intended to teach civic responsibility, composition and handwriting skills.
The assignment irked U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Wis.), who sent a letter to the school’s principal.
“It’s a profound misjudgment to use third-grade students as political pawns regardless of the issue,” said Green.
“If I received letters from third-grade students saying, ‘Dear Congressman Green, please vote for the war,’ I would be equally as disturbed.”
School Principal Chris Hodge said the third-grade teachers came to her with the proposal last week. She believed it violated district policy but wanted to check with administration officials first.
Hodge said the teachers misinterpreted her comments and sent a letter about the campaign to parents anyway. She immediately canceled the project after finding out.
The campaign violated two district policies: one that bans teachers from promoting their personal political beliefs to students; and another that requires teachers to address opposing views when presenting controversial topics, said district spokesman Joe Quick.
“It was a mistake on the teachers’ part,” Quick said. “They were very enthusiastic about what they were trying to do and didn’t realize it violated School Board policy.”
Most of the calls made to the district about the assignment were from media outlets, not angry parents, Quick said.
Wild Thing comment…….
Besides making me furious I don’t know which I am angrier at, the terrorists hugging teachers or the piece of crap parents that did not get angry about this. How about if parents start suing teachers who use classrooms as political platforms…….well somethng…..something has to be done. I mean several times now we have read where children at schools are excused from class as long as they participate in a protest aganist the war and our troops. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
What a bunch of Freakin’ pinko-commies there are teaching the children, the next generation of what…..OH Look Mom and Dad I got an A+ in how to carry a sign properly in a protest against our Military.
A Hump Day link to:
* Cao’s Blog * BIG DOG * Don Surber
“This was kind of a moot point by 10 o’clock this morning,” Quick said.
The teachers won’t face any disciplinary measures, Hodge said, but she planned to remind staff at their December meeting of district policies.
Several of the teachers who signed the letter did not return calls to their home or office phone numbers; another teacher reached at home declined to comment.
Sharon Johnson, Frank Allis Elementary PTA president, said she was disappointed to see that the envelopes and stamps she sent to school with her daughter, as requested in the assignment, were returned Tuesday.
“I got the letter, and I had no objection,” Johnson said. “Her world is pretty much made up of the Cartoon Network. I thought it was a good idea to get kids to open up their eyes.”
Johnson, a Democrat, had no problem with the assignment but admitted that it if the campaign had promoted the war she would have.
Green sent another letter to Hodge after she canceled the assignment suggesting students write letters to troops thanking them for their service, which he described as a non-political cause that everyone could get behind.
Hodge had not responded to that letter late Tuesday.