Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Hampton Middle School has a problem.
The school in Hampton, Georgia managed to make national news twice in one week.
A sixth-grade teacher from the school was caught on tape ranting against Trump’s slogan of Make America Great Again. “Maybe he’s talking about it was great during segregation in the ‘60s. Is that what he’s talking about?”
“He must be talking about when it was great for Europeans,” Johnetta Benton sneered. “Because when it comes to minorities, America has never been great for minorities.“
Josie Orihuela , the Cuban-American student who tried to argue with her teacher, was told that she had no right to complain because her European ancestors have killed millions.
The teacher, who was supposed to be talking about Black History Month, also claimed that all Americans were illegal immigrants who had stolen the land. “When you say immigrants are killing folks, that’s us. That’s you, you, you, you and you,” she said, pointing at the different students, including Josie.
Josie had been named after her grandfather, who had fled Castro’s Cuba, and had Cherokee ancestry.
And Corey Sanders, a 7th grade social studies teacher at Hampton Middle School, who was supposed to be teaching about Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, instead ordered students to write letters in order to “pressure lawmakers to have stricter gun laws in the United States.”
Georgia is a red state. But, despite that, students are still being brainwashed and berated. In Hampton, two students and their families stood up for their country and for their right to think for themselves.
But how many other schools and school districts are witnessing the same phenomenon? And how many students lack the courage shown by Josie? How many are too afraid to stand up and speak up?
“This activity took the wrong approach in limiting the ability of students to share any thoughts outside of what was directed of them when the subject elicits many different viewpoints from people, including students,” the school district spokesman correctly stated.
That’s exactly how education is meant to work. Teachers are obligated to teach children how to think, not to tell them what to think. But, at Hampton the school had failed to meet its obligation to its students and their parents. And this is unfortunately the case at schools across the country.
To prevent these abuses and return our public schools to their proper roles, the David Horowitz Freedom Center is fighting to bring the K-12 Code of Ethics to classrooms across the country.
The K-12 Code is designed to ensure that students have the resources and the freedom to make up their own minds by mandating that, “teachers must provide them with materials supporting both sides of the controversy, and present those views in a fair-minded non-partisan manner.”
Teachers can express their own points of view, but students must be allowed to “make up their own minds and to disagree with the teacher without incurring any penalty.” The K-12 Code of Ethics leaves plenty of room for inquiry. It protects the First Amendment rights of both teachers and students to express their viewpoints.
And it would have protected the students of Corey Sanders’ 7th grade class from having their First Amendment rights violated by being forced to advocate for only one side of a controversial issue.
The K-12 Code of Ethics bars teachers from advocating for a political candidate at any level of government – local, state, or federal – and from supporting or opposing legislation, court cases, or executive actions. It also bars partisan advocacy of a controversial issue. A controversial issue is defined in the K-12 Code as “an issue that is a point in electoral party platforms at the national, state or local level.”
Forcing students to advocate for only one side of the gun control debate would have violated the Code. And the code will be backed by a special review board which will have the power to hear complaints and impose disciplinary measures ranging from probation to suspension to the loss of a teaching license.
The K-12 Code doesn’t rule out a debate over gun control. Teachers can teach the controversies, but their job is to show students both sides of the debate and they must not advocate for only one side.
The Code also opposes the introduction “into class any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught.” Asking students in a class covering Africa, Asia, and the Middle East to write letters opposing gun control is a clear example of a violation of this sensible, ethical rule.
And, in a time when poisonous racist ideas such as “white privilege” have found their way off college campuses and into high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and even kindergartens, racial scapegoating of the kind Josie experienced would also be ruled out by the K-12 Code.
The K-12 Code of Ethics makes it clear that teachers will not be allowed to “single out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students.”
No student should ever be called a murderer because of their perceived race, as Josie was.
That kind of racism has no place in either the classroom or the 21st century. The K-12 Code doesn’t just liberate students to think for themselves; it protects them from being victimized as racial scapegoats.
Josie transferred from Hampton Middle School soon after her traumatic experience. But the K-12 Code of Ethics can protect other students from similar abusive experiences.
The K-12 Code of Ethics doesn’t censor. It doesn’t come down on one side of any issue. Instead, it protects students from being victimized by politically-minded teachers in the classroom. It doesn’t end debate or favor one side of the political spectrum: instead it ensures that students will be free to make their own minds without fear of consequences. It turns the classroom away from indoctrination and back toward an education appropriate for training the future citizens of a healthy democracy.
Support for the K-12 Code of Ethics is growing around the country.
In Virginia, Del. Dave LaRock introduced a resolution in the Virginia House of Delegates supporting the K-12 Code of Ethics. He warned that educators are “imposing their own personal views” and “bullying kids that don’t agree with their liberal viewpoint.”
It’s time for the K-12 Code of Ethics to come not only to Virginia, but to states around the country, to all the schools where the First Amendment rights and the right to a bias-free education are being violated by classroom radicals.
No student should be bullied, enlisted in political advocacy against their will, or racially scapegoated.
The K-12 Code of Ethics shouldn’t be needed. Professional teacher organizations and unions should adopt them on their own. But these groups have become extremely partisan and are now part of the problem. The K-12 Code, enacted into legislation, will give parents a tool to protect their children from political child abuse.
Because what happened to Josie should never happen in another classroom ever again.