Thank God I'm not a parent...I'd end up in jail
Bidwell Junior High School administrators said a letter sent home with students in an eighth-grade class Tuesday was a good idea for a history lesson, with bad execution.
The letter, which appeared to ask parents to renounce their U.S. citizenship, prompted phone calls to the school from several irate recipients.
Principal Joanne Parsley said teacher Mike Brooks never intended to have parents sign the letters, or forward them on to President Bush, to whom they are addressed.
"It was a well-intended lesson that didn't shake out too well," she said, adding that Brooks would not be subject to disciplinary action.
Reached at home, the teacher said his U.S. History class is studying the Declaration of Independence, and he decided to write a letter putting the document into modern language. His intention, he said, was to send it home for parents to review, and possibly discuss with their children.
He concluded the letter with "After careful consideration of the facts of our current situation, I have decided to announce to everyone that I am no longer a citizen of the United States, but a free and independent member of the global community."
"The point was, I wanted to ask parents if they would sign such a letter if conditions that existed prior to the Revolution were happening now," he said. "I just wanted to start a discussion."
Parsley said Brooks sent the letter out with no explanation or disclaimer, and was relying on students to tell their parents it was part of a lesson plan.
She said several parents reacted adversely to the letter, but a few sent them back signed.
Chico resident Michael Hill said he was told by his daughter, Kaytlen Hill, 13, that the assignment was to have parents sign the letter and return it to class Wednesday.
"The lesson being taught in class was that the U.S. kidnaps innocent people and takes them to Cuba, where they are kept indefinitely and tortured," Hill said he learned through his daughter.
When Hill asked her if Brooks mentioned Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. imprisons terrorist suspects, he said his daughter replied "yes."
He said his daughter broke into tears when she talked about Brooks mentioning illegal wiretaps and other surveillance directed against innocent people.
"I think I was more irritated by the classroom discussion than the letter," he said.
Brooks said he was trying to establish a parallel between attitudes during Revolutionary times, and those of today.
"When it was written, the Declaration was considered an inflammatory document," Brooks said. "There were a lot of loyalists around then."
I don't believe the teacher or the school administrators. They are in full CYA mode. If this was supposed to be something that was only for discussion the teacher would have made that clear.
This is why even non-Catholics are taking part-time jobs to send their kids to Catholic schools.