ENOLA, Pa. – The father of an eighth-grade student was smeared by the president of the local teachers union as a “neo-Nazi” after he complained that his daughter’s history assignment was filled with politically slanted statements about the recent government shutdown.
Yes, you read that correctly: A Pennsylvania history teacher actually gave students an assignment about last month’s government shutdown. That’s apparently permissible as part of Common Core’s obsession with “informational texts.”
As ridiculous as that is, the heart of this story involves how parent Josh Barry was treated by school officials and a trash-talking union leader after he raised concerns that students were given a New York Times article that solely blamed Republicans for the recent government shutdown, reports the Tampa Conservative Examiner.
Barry found the Times article to be biased, and he was equally unhappy about an accompanying assignment that asked students, “Whom do you hold most responsible for the government shutdown?” and “Do you feel it is principled or irresponsible for politicians to threaten a shutdown?”
Barry put his concerns in an email to his daughter’s teacher, Darin Yoder, which was copied to the local school board, the Tampa Conservative Examiner reports.
Yoder told Barry in an email “the objective was not to promote any political agenda but to work on non-fiction reading skills.”
The school principal, Stephen Andrejack, also contacted Barry and told him, “I take great offense at what you said.” Andrejack also offered to meet Barry so the two could resolve the issue.
That’s where the story should have ended.
However, Cydnee Cohen, a middle school teacher and president of the East Pennsboro Education Association, decided to interject herself into the controversy by using Facebook to seek more information about Barry.
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Cohen discovered she had a mutual Facebook friend with the aggrieved father, and pumped the mutual friend for more information about Barry.
In a voice message for the mutual friend, Cohen said, “We’re having some problems with a parent in our school district and on his page you are one of his friends … but I would like to know, some of it seems like he is a Neo-Nazi … call me … and let me know about Josh,” the Examiner reports.
This raises a couple of serious issues.
First, Cohen is displaying a stunning lack of judgment by attacking someone she perceives to be her political opposite as a member of the “neo-Nazi” hate group. That’s such irresponsible behavior that the local school should investigate whether or not Cohen possesses the maturity and emotional stability to work with children.
The second issue also involves the school board. Media reports suggest Barry only shared his concerns with the teacher, the principal and the board.
How does Cohen even know about this issue? Are the adults in charge of the school and the district gossiping about this “rogue” parent who dared question what his daughter is being taught?
It’s possible that Barry circulated his concerns through social media, and that’s how Cohen found out about this controversy. It’s definitely a question worth exploring.
As for Cohen’s suggestion that Barry’s a neo-Nazi – that doesn’t seem likely.
Barry is Jewish and his wife is half African-American, reports Mediatrackers.org.
As Barry said, “Good luck with that Nazi thing.”