Students at a Colorado middle school were serenaded and sang along to an anti-fracking rap from a group of young environmental activists last week.
The “Earth Guardians” posted video of the performance, titled “What the Frack,” from Evergreen Middle School, about 20 miles west of Denver. In it, students rap along after the line, “When we say ‘what the,’ you say ‘frack’!” By Thursday afternoon, the video had been made private.
The rap demonized the process of hydraulic fracturing — “fracking” — to extract natural gas from rock, saying it “poisoned the water, poisoned the air, poisoned the people, do you think that’s fair?”
Some studies have claimed that the process of pumping water and chemicals into the earth leads to earthquakes and other effects, but other findings have questioned its significance.
Lynn Setzer, head of communications at Jeffco Public Schools, told TheBlaze that the presentation was part of the district-wide “Day Without Hate” event, started after the Virginia Tech shooting. Each school decides on their own how to mark the event, which is supposed to be about tolerance and respect, Setzer said. The event is not supposed to have anything to do with fracking.
Instead, the teacher responsible for bringing in the “Earth Guardians” did so because 12-year-old “youth leader” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez received a peace award from the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center last year, Setzer said.
“Her intent was, here is a kid who is clearly trying to make a difference, could possibly inspire other kids to make a difference no matter what the cause,” she said.
Setzer said the fracking portion of the presentation “wasn’t specifically planned.”
The conservative blog Complete Colorado reported that multiple parents complained to the school after the May 3 presentation, prompting principal Kristopher Schuh to say he would meet with the teacher responsible to “discuss what transpired and ensure that the opposite side of this issue is being clearly and fairly represented.”
Setzer said the school is sending a letter of apology to parents, along with a list of resources for both sides of the issue for families to discuss. The school will also put in place a procedure to vet guest speakers.
According to the group’s website, “Earth Guardians” is comprised of “children, youth, parents, schools, and organizations working together on behalf of leaving a better world for future generations.” Members from the organization delayed the start of a Colorado oil and gas regulation hearing for nearly a half-hour in December, chanting their opposition to fracking.