Students at an elementary school in Mesa, Arizona, were forced to recite a “gender neutral” revision of the Declaration of Independence, local news reports.
The mother of a Salk Elementary School fourth grade student complained to administrators after learning her child’s teacher transformed the historic document to substitute the word “human” in areas where the Founding Fathers wrote “man.”
The students were then told to recite the revised edition.
The student’s mother, Elizabeth Vaillencourt, took to social media to complain about the teacher injecting her politics, which school officials claimed “hurt the teacher’s feelings.”
“I was hurt. I was mortified. I was disturbed at the fact that somebody is changing historical documents and nobody has the right to change our historical documents,” Vaillencourt told ABC affiliate KGUN9.com. “You teach what’s written. You don’t get to rewrite it and teach it how you feel you believe.”
Administrators initially responded to the parents’ complaint by relocating the child to another class, however, “On Wednesday, Vaillencourt said the superintendent’s office contacted her to tell her what the teacher did was against school policy,” reports KGUN9.
A statement from a Mesa Public Schools spokesperson said the teacher was “provided feedback and guidance,” and that the document was restored “to its original format.”
It should be recited as written, and not modified in any way. School administration, when learning of the alteration to the text, provided feedback and guidance to the teacher to restore the document to its original format.
There is not a specific reference in policy to the discussion of political beliefs by a teacher in a classroom, however in practice the district does not allow teachers to share their political views with students. When the teacher used a personal example of how individuals can have differing political views but still be friends, the principal reminded the teacher that personal examples are not appropriate in a classroom setting.
KGUN reporter Sonu Wasu also says a teacher at another Arizona school was also reprimanded for telling students not to say, “Bless you,” after someone sneezes.