Teacher Says School Was Concerned That She Was Teaching Kids Their ‘Legal & Constitutional Rights’
Teachers are having it rough right now, even rougher than usual. A primal scream of conservative backlash against what they see as encroaching liberal values has caused library shelves to be emptied and college students to have to rethink their majors. Now a school in Austin is scolding a teacher for teaching students about their rights. You know, those “inalienable” things that we are all guaranteed by the very constitution that this country was founded on?
Besides, I thought “rights” were popular among conservatives. Aren’t they those things that gun enthusiasts invoke whenever the government considers an assault rifle ban? Aren’t they those things that they believe even (or sometimes only) unborn children have? If they’re so worried about the rights of children, why don’t they want children to learn about them?
The teacher in question shared a TikTok which cites the complaints that her school made against her. The exact verbiage reads “we’ve noticed an intentional attempt in teaching students about their legal and constitutional rights.” The teacher notes that this isn’t happening somewhere “way out west” but in “downtown Austin,” the most supposedly liberal part of Texas. I don’t know what the concern is, but my gut instinct tells me that they’re afraid this is somehow tantamount to teaching children not to comply with certain demands of police, even if they don’t legally have to.
She followed up her first TikTok with another that detailed her students’ decision to remain seated for the pledge of allegiance, which they chose to do themselves. They decided to do this after learning about propaganda during Holocaust Remembrance Week, along with the Hitler Youth. She explains that they became interested in learning about the history of the pledge of allegiance after learning that Hitler primarily focused on young people and children to spread his beliefs.
The students and their teacher looked up the origin of the pledge of allegiance and found that the practice began a few years after the Civil War. The idea was that by instilling a strong sense of patriotism in children, the divided country would someday heal. In the 1950s, they added “under God” to the pledge due to Republican fears of communism and atheism. The students decided that they wanted to protest the pledge of allegiance, and their teacher told them that they could get in trouble if that protest was disruptive, but that silent protests are equally, if not more effective.
They certainly proved that point.
In a delicious twist of irony, the teacher’s admin expressed concerns that she is “indoctrinating” her students, as if the American school system wasn’t attempting to do that already. The teacher expressed her sarcastic thanks to the school that her efforts were finally being noticed, saying that she has been working hard to “indoctrinate” her students into being “critical thinkers”.
This should serve as a reminder as to why Holocaust education is so important in schools, especially in a nation that refuses to teach its own history. After all, Hitler’s policies (and later atrocities) were inspired by the Jim Crow laws of the south, the genocide of Native Americans, and the dangerous and inhumane “gasoline baths” that migrant workers were forced to endure at the U.S./Mexico border during the early 20th century.
This teacher’s class is far from the first protest against the pledge of allegiance. Many school districts have seen students attempt to do the same, and the backlash has proven to be swift and explosive. A South Carolina school district is currently being sued over their handling of a student protest against the pledge, with the lawsuit citing a teacher who shoved a teenager up against a wall for refusing to stop for the pledge while walking to class. The teacher was not arrested. In fact, she wasn’t even fired. She still works at the school where she assaulted one of her students for expressing her dissent.
Apparently, the Austin education system is not the only one in America that is concerned about students expressing their “rights” after all.
(featured image: George Frey/Getty Images)
Correction: The original version of this article stated that “under god” was added in the 1970s.
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