A Florida father is furious.
Aaron Harvey of Jacksonville found a note in his fourth-grade son’s backpack that he felt “was trying to pollute [his] child’s mind with biased opinions,” TheBlaze reports.
On a crumpled piece of paper in colored pencils, his son wrote: “I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure.”
Harvey’s son wrote the note in January. After a local attorney came to speak to his class at Cedar Hills Elementary, his teacher, Cheryl Sabb, asked her class to copy the sentence down.
Harvey told TheBlaze he spoke with the school's principal, guidance counselor and Sabb on Friday morning. They explained that the sentence came from the visiting attorney, and his son “wrote it on his own free will.”
But Harvey maintains the teacher was heavily involved.
“There’s no way he knew how to write that on his own free will. He likes to use some big words to flourish -- [but] if he was going to put together a sentence that political I’m sure it would be more jumbled than a nice sentence like that,” he told the news outlet.
Harvey, an army veteran, said he believes in an “unbiased education” where freedom of thought and opinion is valued and opposes any influence from politics or religion.
Online comments about the school assignment vary.
“The classroom is not about education; it’s about indoctrination. That note should prove it,” user Ramonpreston wrote.
“If we could afford for me to quit my job and home school our kids, I would do so in a heartbeat,” user Biohazard 23 wrote. “Until that day comes, I will remain vigilant about what my kids are being exposed to.”
Ron Paul, former congressman of Texas and GOP presidential candidate, recently addressed his concerns about public education by announcing the foundation of his own home school curriculum for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, the Daily Caller reports.
Besides teaching the “biblical principle of self-government and personal responsibility,” “the history of liberty” and “liberty’s rivals,” the online curriculum will also allow students to understand the Constitution and it how it “has been hijacked,” Gary North, director of curriculum development, said in an introductory video.
This isn’t the first time an elementary school teacher’s assignment has drawn criticism.
Last year, a third-grade teacher in Georgia gave students a math problem that asked how many oranges would each slave pick. Another one asked how many beatings a slave named Frederick would get in a week if he were beaten twice per day.
"Something like that shouldn't be imbedded into a kid of the third, fourth, fifth, any grade," Terrance Barnett, a parent, told WSBTV. "I'm having to explain to my 8-year-old why slavery or slaves or beatings are in a math problem. That hurts."