A teacher at a Seattle-area school was audio recorded during an irate attack on FOX News. But the indoctrination attempt was rebuffed by one precocious young student who reminded him, “You’re not supposed to be talking about politics in school.”
As students gathered for a 6th grade English class at Redmond Middle School in the Lake Washington School District, the teacher opted to gleefully read an editorial about a frivolous lawsuit against FOX News, according to a recording provided to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. He used the partisan analysis by Oliver Darcy from FOX News competitor CNN to convince students not to trust FOX News. The students were forced to listen to his one-sided rant against the news-entertainment network. But the student appeared to know what he was doing was wrong.
“You guys, this was stuff that I’ve always known, and I’ve tried not to talk too much smack about FOX because, in many ways, it’s my opinion. I feel like I could get in trouble for trashing a conservative station because I’m a liberal,” the teacher said, according to the recording.
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Middle schooler puts the childish teacher in his place
Some students grumbled as the teacher read the anti-FOX News screed, which included claims the network stars lie to make money. But one student spoke up, prompting the teacher to argue with him childishly.
“Why are you talking about politics in English class?” an unidentified student asked on the recording.
“Well, it was before English class started,” the teacher responded.
The teacher didn’t seem pleased with the pushback, sniping at the student.
“I just think, to me, it’s an important story, and I’m just trying to have a conversation. Oh, are you, like, anti-politics?” the teacher asked.
“No, I just don’t want politics in school. You’re not supposed to be talking about politics in school,” the student replied.
“Am I talking about politics? Or am I talking about the fact that FOX News is lying?” the teacher disingenuously replied.
Parents aren’t pleased
Parents were reportedly concerned about the anti-FOX News monologue. One father of a student in class explained that he and his 6th-grade student were not happy with what happened in the classroom. He said his kid goes to school to learn, not be indoctrinated. He alleged the teacher has brought up politics in the past.
“[About] 2-3 months ago, my kid told me that same English teacher said he doesn’t like the word ‘trump’ due to it being the name of the president he doesn’t like. That was a red flag to me about this particular classroom. So we discussed this at home, why this wasn’t appropriate for the teacher to say. I’ve taught [my child] to be alert to teachers talking politics, CRT topics, etc., so [my kid] always tells me if they occur,” the father explained to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.
The parent heard audio of what took place in the classroom and immediately felt it was “really inappropriate for the teacher to be discussing this in class.”
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“Aside from the political indoctrination, what if one of the kids had a parent that worked at Fox? How would that make the kid feel? I would feel the same way if this teacher was a conservative and trashing liberals, it’s just not appropriate for teachers to do this to kids,” the father explained. “But honestly, it didn’t surprise me given how much you hear in the news about what goes on in other public schools, most teachers get ‘liberalized’ in college, then some carry their biases into the classroom to indoctrinate young kids, either intentionally or unintentionally. It’s especially concerning when it’s a ‘popular’ teacher as this one is; apparently, he has even more influence over kids. I think in this class (English), the teacher seems to like off-topic discussions with kids.”
What say the district?
Discussing partisan politics in class is inappropriate, certainly not in 6th-grade English. There wasn’t an attempt to offer a balanced take. He’s not even trying to make them better consumers of news, choosing partisan analysis without explaining bias or conflicts of interest. The goal seems pretty clear: Teach the kids not to trust FOX News because the teacher is a liberal.
“The school policy is that teachers are told to leave their politics at home and not bring them to the classroom (which is great). But it’s hard for the school to monitor what’s said in every class unless parents make them aware of it. The parents I talked to all said that this conversation was inappropriate in class, even one who is a liberal immigrant female,” the father explained to me.
The teacher did not respond to questions about what happened.
Why this matters
I imagine Liberal parents are okay with this, cheering on a teacher criticizing FOX News because it reflects their values. But they wouldn’t likely be happy if the conversation bashed MSNBC or CNN. Would they be okay with another political topic? If this teacher condemned pro-abortion activists and declared abortion to be murder, would these parents speak up? Probably.
Politics do not belong in 6th grade English class. Political indoctrination is wrong, no matter the class, teacher, or political position. Students are there to learn, not be told what to think. And this discussion was not in the spirit of Policy 2331, which demands respect for alternative opinions.
A district spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, “It is important for our students to be in environments where discussions and dialogue align with this policy. We are following up with all individuals involved.”
Those of us older than 25 remember a time when you had no clue what your teacher believed. They kept it to themselves rather than declare it in the classroom. Why would the political position of a 6th-grade English teacher matter? Why did he feel the need to tell everyone? It seems the goal is to push his political beliefs on kids. He even presented an editorial as fact, which is manipulative. The second a 6th grader pushed back, he was defensive and argumentative. He knew he could get in trouble, but he did it anyway. And there won’t always be a smart and alert student to push back on the indoctrination.
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