A Texas teacher has been threatened with the end of their career — and their life — for including an essay critical of President Donald Trump in a classroom assignment.
What was the assignment?
The unnamed educator instructs seventh-graders at the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District in Texas, and gave their pupils 10 essays with corresponding questions regarding the content. One of the exercises featured an excerpt posted on the website Youth Voices, titled "Trump Against American Values."
An edited version was handed to the 12-and-13-year-olds, which began by stating, "Throughout Donald Trumps (sic) time in the American spotlight, we have come to see his true colors. ... From the beginning of his presidency, we have witnessed insensitive remarks toward other racial and cultural groups."
The author argued, "One example of Trump being insensitive was when he announced his run for the presidency. He focused on an idea of building a wall on the border of the United States and Mexico. With all of these racist remarks by our president, I think that we as a people need to take a stand and show that we will not accept this kind of leadership in our country."
For the assignment, students were asked, "Which of the following conclusions would the author most likely agree with?" The multiple-choice options included, "Donald Trump should not be president," and, "America's future is in great danger."
Pupils then had to answer what they could infer from the piece, and could select conclusions such as, "the United States will impeach Donald Trump," and, "Mexican Americans are the major group upset with President Trump."
How did that go over?
When state legislator Briscoe Cain (R) got wind of the assignment, he took to Facebook, incensed. Calling for the teacher's ouster, he said, "This individual has violated the sacred trust that every parent has with the State of Texas when they send their child into a public school. They have lost the privilege of being in a classroom with Texas children, and forfeit the title of teacher. No teacher should attempt to indoctrinate a child to their ideology, no matter who is in the White House."
Cain also noted that the school district's superintendent "was aware of the issue and had taken corrective action."
Goose Creek CISD then released a statement to the Houston Chronicle addressing the incident, saying, "We received many calls at the district following the issue of a media release and social media post that told part of the story and did not reflect the fact that the matter had been resolved within the district.
"Many of those calls were deeply disturbing and threatening in nature. While we all agree that particular passage should not have been used, the teacher made a simple error in judgement. Like all of us, teachers are human and make mistakes from time to time."
The district also told KHOU-TV, "Clearly the teacher did not use good judgement...or review the materials that she received from an outside source thoroughly" before reiterating, "teachers are human."
The district's director of communications, Beth Dombrowa, also weighed in on Cain's social media post, after one of the lawmaker's followers wrote that they would "beat a teacher's ass" over the assignment.
"Quick question if you have a sec?" Dombrowa asked, "Would you also 'murder' a teacher over this? Because I just received a phone call suggesting that the teacher in question should be murdered after school. Was just wondering if that might be you? The caller hung up before I could get the number."