A 15-year old student at Appleton North Highschool in Appleton, Wisconsin, is claiming that he was bullied by faculty members for being a conservative. Now, the school district has launched an investigation into Benji Backer's accusations and are taking the claims "seriously."
Backer told Fox News that he has had to endure name-calling and harassment as well as watch other students be indoctrinated.
According to Backer, the tensions began to mount when he was 12, during Governor Scott Walker's battle with the unions and liberals' unsuccessful re-call bid.
Since then, Backer claims that teachers denigrated Walker and labeled Republicans as racist
“They are harassing and bullying me as well as indoctrinating other students,” Backer told FN.
In an essay first published by FreedomWorks, the student wrote:
“My teachers have always talked about bullying, including bullying homosexuals and how wrong it is,” Backer wrote. “I agree 100 percent. They shouldn’t be bullied, nor should anyone else.”
He then made the correlation that if members of the gay and lesbian community are entitled to equal treatment, so too are people with divergent political views.
“If teachers expect bullying to end with homosexuals, they should want it to end with every type of bullying possible, including political views,” Backer, who served as the Wisconsin co-chair for Young Americans for Mitt Romney, wrote.
Ben Vogel, an assistant superintendent for the Appleton school district, told FN that an investigation into the allegations of harassment has been launched and that they are taking it seriously.
“I’m always going to be concerned when a student comes and shares that they feel they are being treated unfairly in a classroom,” Vogel said. “We want all students to feel like they are safe at their school and in the individual classes.”
Vogel maintained that the district has a strict policy relating to politics in the classroom and that it will pursue those in breach accordingly.
“We have school board policy regarding political activity in the classroom – when it’s appropriate and when it’s not appropriate,” he said. “We will follow up and make sure our teachers are doing what they need to be doing and if they’re not – then we will follow up accordingly.”
Among the incidents Backer claims he endured, was when his English teacher used expletives while castigating students who may have been supportive of Walker.
“He was swearing and saying how wrong it was for anyone to support Scott Walker,” Backer wrote in his essay. “Students were telling him to stop, and he wouldn’t.”
While the thought of a teacher railing against a governor in a classroom setting is unsettling, Backer said the harassment grew worse and soon became personal.
“He started to talk to me about how much harder he worked compared to my dad, a small business owner,” Backer said of his teacher. “He [the teacher] went on to ask how much my parents made because he wanted to compare it to his salary.”
The incident catalyzed Backer's parents to meet with the high school’s principal, prompting the teacher to apologize. Oddly, however, the teacher then allegedly backtracked and began cursing at Backer.
“My teacher asked, ‘You know how you went down to the principal’s office?’” Backer recalled. “I said, yes, and he said, ‘I don’t give a s**t.’”
Bruce Backer, Benji’s dad, told FN they were taken aback by the incident.
“We were surprised that politics was being brought into the school during classes that had nothing to do with politics,” the elder Backer said. “We didn’t understand why there was a need to focus on Benjamin’s beliefs.”
Vogel said they were aware of the incident with the English teacher and “are very specifically following up on all the accusations and concerns.”
According to Backer, the bullying and harassment did not stop with his English teacher but trickled down into run-ins with a substitute teacher as well, who allegedly lamented the poor treatment of President Obama due to Republican-driven racism.
Based on reports, Vogel seems to be on the Backer's side and seemed to acknowledge that faculty members are using tactics of indoctrination during their classes.
“Obviously we want students to be thinking and talking about current events,” he said. “But that needs to be done in a fair and balanced way. That’s not a means for a teacher to share specifically what their views are and try to indoctrinate students in a certain way.”
(h/t: Todd Starnes)