A multiple-choice answer on a Wyoming high school quiz last week was “He was shooting at Trump” — and now the school district has apologized, and the outraged father of one student called out the school’s “liberal bias.”
- The Thursday online quiz for a Jackson Hole High School class was on George Orwell’s iconic novel, “Animal Farm.”
- The question at issue read, “Napoleon has the gun fired for a new occasion. What is the new occasion?” the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported.
- English teacher Carin Aufderheide offered “A) He was shooting at Trump” as one of the multiple-choice answers, the paper added.
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How did one parent react?
- “I had to read it two times,” Jim McCollum told the News & Guide after his son Rylee, a junior, showed him a screenshot of the question and possible answers. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’”
- McCollum told the paper he’s a conservative who voted for Republican President Donald Trump but “cringes at some of the things he says.”
- Still, he told the News & Guide that the multiple-choice answer was out of line.
- “It was so inappropriate to show a name of a sitting president in that question,” McCollum told the paper. “To me, that is so wrong in light of the situation in our country and the divisiveness and all.”
- McCollum added to the News & Guide that “liberal bias” pervades other classes, which leaves his son and other conservative students feeling like “the outcasts” and affecting their ability to learn.
- “He told me, ‘Dad, they crapped on everything I believe in,’” McCollum told the paper. “Rylee is very patriotic, very supportive of our military and of our country.”
- McCollum said Rylee plans to enlist in the Marines unless he gets a wrestling scholarship, the News & Guide said.
What did McCollum do?
- He posted the question on Facebook, the News & Guide reported, and angry comments flowed in about the “shooting at Trump” answer — along with comments from students defending the teacher.
Does he want anything to happen to the teacher?
- McCollum told the paper he doesn’t want the teacher disciplined, hoping only that the incident will become a learning experience.
- “I’m not looking to get rid of anyone’s position,” he added to the News & Guide. “Heck, I’ve done and said enough dumb things throughout my life.”
- McCollum said Rylee “loves the teacher … thinks she’s a terrific person” despite their political differences, the paper noted, adding that he acknowledged that his son was “really upset” and “really disappointed” over the incident.
What did the school district say?
- Teton County School District No. 1 confirmed the answer was on the quiz and that the quiz has been taken down, the News & Guide said.
- The district posted a statement on its webpage Friday morning, the paper said, calling the the multiple-choice answer “inappropriate” and that the administration “is investigating this incident and verifying the information we have received.”
- “TCSD #1 takes seriously threats of any kind, regardless of the intent,” the statement continued, the News & Guide said. “We apologize to the students, families and community for this incident and will be addressing the issue with personnel.”
- The district declined to comment on the teacher’s status, as it’s a personnel matter, the paper said, adding that the school board will be involved in follow-up action.
What do we know about the state’s (and county’s) politics?
Last year, deeply conservative Wyoming voted for Trump by the widest majority of any state — 70 percent, The Associated Press reported. But Hillary Clinton got 60 percent of the vote in Teton County, which was the only Wyoming county the Democrat won, the AP added.
What else do we know about the high school?
- In 2015, Jackson Hole High School canceled “America Day” — a homecoming event during which students wrapped American flags around their shoulders, wore American flag attire and drove a diesel truck around the school parking lot while flying the stars and stripes.
- The reason for the cancellation, one official said, was because “we’re trying to be inclusive and safe, make everyone feel welcome.”
- Many students reportedly went ahead and celebrated “America Day” anyway, as if it hadn’t been shut down.