Global Studies Teacher’s Bias: ‘You Can Only Use CNN as a News Source’
New Jersey high school case this week has parents on high alert — and speaking out about it
A New Jersey mom is taking action this week to protect her son from what she believes is inappropriate bias by a teacher against conservative-leaning students in a high school global studies course.
The mother, who spoke exclusively to LifeZette, said her actions include talking to the principal and involving an attorney if that proves necessary.
The mom this week posted a note to her Facebook page that a global studies teacher at the Hunterdon Central Regional High School (HCRHS) in Flemington, New Jersey, told students they could not use Fox News as a resource for schoolwork or homework. The teacher also told the students that Fox News was biased — and that they should limit their news-gathering resources only to CNN and its affiliates.
"I'm livid," said the mom, who requested her name not be used for privacy reasons and out of concern for her son. "I'm not allowing him to stay in this teacher's classroom, to be subjected to this all year long." She's working right now to try to resolve it with the school.
Her son, an honors student, was very clear about what occurred in the classroom. Other parents' kids also made similar reports this week, according to the mother. When another parent approached the curriculum director of the social studies department at the school to advocate for her child, that mother was told the teacher in question would never say such a thing — and that the student must have misunderstood.
The mother who spoke to LifeZette, however, is certain her son and the other students did not misunderstand the teacher's directive. To alert other parents, the mom took to Facebook. The response was instant — most other parents shared her concern about bias and encouraged her to report the incident to the principal, the school board, and others.
Many parents of public school students in this country have been encountering a growing liberal bias among educators. Most adolescents have no choice as to the teacher or the subject they're assigned in a given year, and some high school classes are specifically required for graduation. That puts students in the untenable situation of having to buckle under to the teachers' sometimes unreasonable or biased demands — or face the consequences (including potentially failing the class).
Flemington Borough Councilperson Brian Swingle, a Republican, described the above incident to LifeZette as "a disturbing injustice," and one he has heard too much of in recent years.
Students from Flemington Borough attend HCRHS. Swingle noted that when free thought and expression are stifled, students can become "brainwashed," a result that's in direct opposition to the district's educational goals. He encourages parents to "push back hard" in cases like this, which he sees as representing the "demise of our democracy."
LifeZette also reached out to the teacher, the principal, and the superintendent of schools, Jeffrey Moore, Ed.D., for comment. Moore shared a statement in an email: "Our Board of Education has published policy on the teaching of controversial issues. The policy reads, in part: '[The teacher] shall provide relevant information on both sides of the question. Such discussions shall be kept free from the assumption that there is one correct answer which should emerge from a discussion and be taught authoritatively to the pupils. Pupils shall be taught to recognize each other's right to form an opinion on controversial issues, and shall be assured of their own right to do so without jeopardizing their relationship with the teacher or the school.'"
He did not address the case in question, but referenced the full policy as posted on the district's website.
The mother said she'll be watching the issue closely.
Many adolescents see their teachers as nearly infallible authority figures. But these authority figures should not abuse their educational positions to attempt to indoctrinate students or share personal biases for political, religious, or social reasons.
The New Jersey mother is concerned for her son. She's also trying to share the matter with the community so that other parents can be aware of the bias to which their children may be exposed. On Friday afternoon she indicated on her Facebook page that the matter was being "handled" with the school. "I'm actually happy so far with the response I've been getting from the school district," she noted. She told LifeZette she's looking forward to further meetings about it next week, including with the teacher and the curriculum director — and that beyond that, she'll be watching the issue closely.
Michele Blood is a freelance writer with a passion for children's literature. Based in Flemington, New Jersey, she leverages her background in psychology in her work for publishers, businesses and NPOs.