A Staten Island teacher is under fire after sending home a piece of politically charged homework. The sixth grade English teacher at Paulo Intermediate School seemingly bashed President Donald Trump while praising former President Barack Obama just one question later. At least one parent at the school is unhappy with the assignment and is requesting that disciplinary action be taken against the teacher.
The Daily Mail reports that a sixth grade English teacher at Paulo Intermediate School sent students home with an assignment that included a series of fill-in-the-blank problems. The questions included sentences that contained blank spaces that were to be filled in by the students using a box of vocabulary words. The seemingly innocent assignment caught one father’s attention, however, when he noticed the inclusion of Donald Trump and Barack Obama in the sentences. Upon further inspection, father Vincent Ungro was left outraged and did not allow his 11-year-old daughter to complete the assignment, instead, leaving a scathing remark for the teacher.
— NewWakeOrder (@NewWakeOrder) February 18, 2017
The controversial questions read, “President Trump speaks in a very superior and _______ manner insulting many people. He needs to be more _________.” The “correct” answer to the Paulo Intermediate School questions was haughty and humble, implying that President Trump was arrogant and needed to humble himself before the people. Conversely, a question that followed painted former President Barack Obama as a visionary who set a precedent as the first African American president.
— Nancy Mo (@TheRealNancyMo) February 15, 2017
In response to the controversial question, Ungro says that he told his daughter to not complete the project and instead circled the offending questions and left a note for the teacher.
“Please keep your political views to yourself and do not try to influence my children on them.”
According to the Staten Island Advance, the teacher in question is a 12-year veteran at the school named Adria Zawatsky. The teacher responded to Ungro noting that she did not feel the sheet was political as she was commenting on Trump’s personality traits, not his ability as a president.
“I do not believe I was expressing a political view at all on my vocabulary sheet. My reference to President Trump was about his personality traits rather than his ability as a president.”
Despite her response, Ungro says the assignment was inappropriate and was a reflection of the teacher’s personal political beliefs. Ungro said he did not want to see the teacher fired but that he wanted her to be aware that the assignment was not politically neutral and should be taken out of the classroom.
In response to the assignment, Zawatsky was reprimanded for “poor judgement” and a disciplinary note was placed in her file. The teacher is not expected to be fired or disciplined any further for the incident. The school responded by noting that the school has “clear standards” regarding the inclusion of political beliefs of teachers in the school system. School representatives state that they want to maintain neutrality on political issues and that Zawatsky acted with poor judgement.
Ungro was happy with the response noting that if nothing else he taught his daughter a valuable lesson by pointing out the problem with the English assignment.
“I taught my daughter a valuable lesson,” he said. “That she should stay strong with her beliefs even if it’s not the beliefs of her peers. That you don’t have to block traffic, wear silly costumes or destroy other people’s property to be heard. Through patience, persistence and the power of the pen, you can accomplish many things.”
What do you think about the Staten Island teacher’s English assignment and its portrayal of President Donald Trump? Was the assignment politically bias?
[Featured Image by Chris O’Meara/AP Images]