Editor’s note: The school district has completed its investigation into the lesson and said no “indoctrination” occurred. Read more here.
A school district in Jacksonville, Fla., said Friday it will review and investigate what happened after a father charged that his fourth-grade son was instructed to write that he was “willing to give up some of [his] constitutional rights” as part of a classroom activity.
A local attorney taught a lesson about the Constitution to fourth-grade students at Cedar Hills Elementary School in January. Last week, Aaron Harvey found a crayon-written paper that had been in his son’s backpack that read, “I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure.” Harvey’s son told him that his teacher, Cheryl Sabb, had instructed some students to write the sentence after the lesson was over.
The lesson taught by the attorney was part of Justice Teaching, a program started by former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis that puts legal professionals in Florida schools to teach about the American legal system and the Constitution.
“The Justice Teaching activity on constitutional rights that was conducted at Cedar Hills Elementary School is consistent with our efforts to broaden civics-based education and develop critical thinking skills among our students,” Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, said in a statement to TheBlaze. “The lesson builds awareness of First Amendment rights through a partnership with an association of local attorneys. Our possible concern rests with a follow-up activity that may have been conducted after the lesson. A review and investigation will occur to determine the facts of that assignment.”
According to a description of the lesson provided to TheBlaze, the objective was to teach students about the five rights enumerated in the First Amendment.
Harvey told TheBlaze earlier Friday that school district officials had told him the sentence came during the lesson portion with the attorney, but that his son “wrote it on his own free will.” Harvey said there was “no way” his son wrote that on his own, and said he had heard from his son and at least one other child that the sentence came directly from the teacher.
A Duval County Public Schools spokeswoman identified the attorney who taught the lesson as Carrington Madison Mead, a Jacksonville lawyer. Mead did not immediately return a request for comment from TheBlaze.