Politics & Policy

Seventh-Grade Assignment: Write Letters to Lawmakers Begging for Gun Control

(Guruxox/Dreamstime)
In Georgia, propaganda in the classroom

Students at Hampton Middle School in Hampton, Ga., were given a homework assignment that required them to write a letter asking lawmakers for stricter gun-control laws.

The seventh-grade social-studies assignment, a copy of which was obtained by Blue Lives Matter, stated:

“For this assignment, you are writing a letter to the lawmakers of the United States. The purpose of this letter is to pressure lawmakers to have stricter gun laws in the United States. Your letter should contain at least five complete sentences. Make sure that you use proper grammatical skills when writing your letter,” read the assignment given out by social studies teacher Corey Sanders to his students at Hampton Middle School.

A parent of one of the students, William Lee, told Blue Lives that his son came home from school “and said he had to write a paper on gun control.”

“I looked at it, and I told my son, ‘No, you’re not doing that assignment,’” Lee said. “Then I emailed his teacher the next day and told him that my son would not be writing that.”

Blue Lives reports that the teacher agreed to exempt Lee’s son from the assignment without penalty. According to Lee, there were other parents in the class who had issues with the homework, but they didn’t find out about it until after their children had already turned it in.

This homework was straight-up propaganda, and it has absolutely no place in our schools.

It’s not clear whether the teacher intended to actually mail the letters — but the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. Either way, this homework was straight-up propaganda, and it has absolutely no place in our schools. It was obviously the right decision for the teacher to have excused Lee’s son from the work, but propaganda should never have been given as a homework assignment in the first place.

I understand that it seems to be hip and popular and cool to demand gun control now, but the truth is, there are still millions of Americans in this country who support the Second Amendment. They understand that we have a constitutional right to self-protection, and they also understand basic statistics such as the fact that gun violence has actually declined sharply over the past 25 years.

If this teacher is not one of those people, fine. This is America, and he has the right to believe whatever he wants. He has absolutely no right, however, to use his position as a teacher to attempt to indoctrinate his students, or to assign them homework that demands the students to view the world the way he does — because the students, after all, have a right to their beliefs, too.

According to Blue Lives, the purpose of this class was to teach students about Africa, Asia, and the Middle East — so Lee was confused as to how the subject of gun control even came up in the first place. For me, however, that’s not the problem. If a social-studies teacher wants to bring current events into a middle-school classroom, that’s fine with me, but he did it in the completely wrong way.

The correct way would have been phrasing the assignment to ask the students to write lawmakers expressing their views on gun control — allowing students, if they chose, to say they support no new gun-control measures — but the teacher didn’t do that. He asked the students to write lawmakers expressing his view on gun control, and that is what is completely unacceptable.

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