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    15 Year Old Wisconsin Conservative Meets Bullying From Teachers

    04/05/2013

    Originally posted March 28, 2013 -

    As a 15 year old, I never imagined my activism in politics would translate into controversy for me at school.

    My name is Benji Backer and I attend a public high school in Appleton, Wisconsin. I have always supported the public school system and plan to do so for the rest of my life. Many Americans who stand up for the public school system and the unions believe there is no attempt to sway opinion or that students with opposing beliefs are singled out. Unfortunately, experiences I have had with harassment and bullying prove that wrong. This is a timeline of the most extreme cases of harassment and indoctrination I have had in the three different public schools I have attended over the last three years. 

    I am currently in my freshman year of high school and the incidents are happening more frequently and I believe are more severe.  As you can imagine, the ongoing pressure and bullying has been disturbing to me, my friends and my family.

    Just before the 2010 Midterm election, I was on the front page of the local newspaper for my political volunteer work and my teachers noticed. One of my seven teachers made it very clear that she dissaproved of my civic engagement. In a period of two months, my Geography teacher frequently would take me aside after school for a few minutes and tell me how stupid, wrong and misguided I was for being Republican. The harassment with this specific teacher got so bad, I had to switch schools halfway through the year.  At this time I was only 12 years old. To my knowledge, this teacher was not disciplined at all for her actions. 

    Two months after I switched to my new school, Scott Walker passed the controversial Budget Repair Bill. Most of the teachers at my new school were more than upset. A couple of my teachers wore red every day while crying, protesting and providing a one-sided perspective on the reforms and making it clear to us just how bad they believed Scott Walker was. One teacher even said she wouldn’t be able to have another child because Scott Walker was cutting so much money from her pay.

    A few months later, I expected things to die down and be over with; it didn’t. Almost four months after Walker’s budget was passed, I walked into choir to find a substitute teacher showing us a 5 minute video about how great unions were and then she talked for an additional 10 minutes about how bad she believed Scott Walker to be.  At the end of the class, I stood up, defended the governor and told her how inappropriate her behavior was. I was told she didn’t do that to another class for the rest of the day.

    During my 8th grade year I received more attention for my political activity. I had become known in the community because of newspaper, radio and TV interviews and was aware that this would possibly make me a target. Not only was I a volunteer for Governor Walker, but I was a very vocal supporter of him as well. While there were some minor instances of teachers complaining about Walker and a few mentions of my media appearances and such, the rhetoric seemed to be dying down. 

    It was a short-lived reprieve.  Things have deteriorated again this year, my freshman year. I came into the year with the knowledge that some teachers would already view me negatively because of my political views and I was correct. 

    Right after Scott Walker won the recall election, I started helping out candidates for November. I was named Young Americans for Mitt Romney Co-Chair in Wisconsin and once again, my teachers took notice; my English teacher in particular.  In one of the first weeks of school, he had us write about an article we had read for homework. The article was about political campaigns “mining” into the personal lives of the American people. He asked, “other than Facebook and phone calls, how do campaigns mine into personal lives?” I raised my hand and replied: “well, you can check who signed the recall.” Immediately after, he said “I signed that!” That was the trigger to the last 40 minutes of class. He spent the remainder of that period lecturing us about how much he hated Scott Walker and explained all the reasons why. He said, “most small business owners and workers take off Fridays and summers”.  According to him, small business owners go golfing every Friday. He also said many businessmen work fewer hours than teachers. He explained how his pay was too low to support his family. He told the class his pay was so bad he had to paint houses in the summers. During this discussion, he was swearing and saying how wrong it was for anyone to support Walker. Students were telling him to stop, and he wouldn’t. 

    I decided I would not argue with him. Past experiences had shown me that arguing with someone like him would only make things worse and inflame the situation. Since no one was debating him, these students were being presented a very biased view and placed in a very uncomfortable situation. By the end of class, some students had a completely negative view of Scott Walker.

    A couple of days later, he took me into the hall and apologized. He said he had felt bad about it all weekend. He then gave me a book to read about Abraham Lincoln. He told me that “good politicians read a lot.” Then he said, “I don’t think Scott Walker likes to read.” The indoctrination and conversations with the class dropped off for a while after this incident, but in mid-October, it started up again. On a regular basis, he would talk about politics in front of the class or in private with me.

    The harassment got particularly bad one day in late October, about a week after I was featured in USA Today for my involvement in the upcoming November election.  Again, this video and article was sent throughout the school and was even played in several classes. The same English teacher who had lectured to almost 30 students about a month earlier took me aside during class again. He started talking about Mitt Romney and Scott Walker and his views on them. He reiterated how much harder he worked compared to my dad, a small business owner, which he had no knowledge of. He went on to ask how much my parents made because he wanted to compare it to his salary.

    Later, I looked up this teacher’s salary. He had been making over $100,000 with benefits for the 2010-11 school year, the same year Walker's reform bill passed.  For a few more days, he talked to me in class about his feelings about Walker and Romney. I decided to tell my parents about the two incidents. My parents thought it was very inappropriate and decided we needed to talk to the principal about it. The principal at my school was very upset with the situation. He was disappointed in my English teacher and he told me I needed to talk to my teacher one on one. After I talked to the teacher, my principal said he would meet up with him to follow up. When I went during my lunch hour to talk to my teacher, he apologized and took ownership for everything. Later during the apology, he started to talk about Walker again and how much he hated him. He just couldn’t stop. At the end of the conversation, my teacher asked “you know how you went down to the principal’s office?” I said yes, and he said “I don’t give a sh*t.” I asked why, and he went on to explain that he was friends with the principal so it didn’t matter to him and he wouldn’t get in trouble because of their friendship. 

    My principal called me into his office the day after to see how it went. I told him what my teacher did and said. He then told me if there were any more incidents with this teacher there would be serious consequences.  He also told me if there were any more incidents like this with other teachers, I was to report it right away. I felt as if it was being properly addressed and had hoped I had seen the end of it. Unfortunately, the relationship between the teacher and I turned out to be worse than before. Since I reported these incidents, he has stopped talking about politics in the classroom, but sadly, he has not treated me the same as he did before I reported him.

    In my Health class, also this year, our very first homework assignment included writing down four activities you do as a person currently and four things you want to do in the future. We were also assigned to present in front of the class. In one of my four boxes, I wrote down that I was a conservative speaker. When I presented in front of the class, he asked if I supported the Tea Party. I said yes. He rolled his eyes and told me believing in the organization was “weird." He also told me he knew nothing about the Tea Party. This teacher then told me to explain, in front of the class why I supported the Tea Party, so I did. When I left the class, I thought about what had happened. Why was I being called “weird?” Why was I being questioned so much? The simple truth reveals that some teachers want to obstruct and block my personal views from looking valid. If a teacher asked why someone was homosexual, Atheist or Muslim and called what they believed “weird”, there would be serious consequences. I decided not to report this to the principal because I realized it wouldn’t help. I had experienced the fallout from reporting prior instances and I didn't want a repeat situation.

    The latest incident involved another substitute teacher in my civics (government) class. Every day we watch a ten minute show called CNN Student News. The substitute asked us to recap the show and discuss it in class. The first part of the show had to do with gun control. Instead of having us discuss the topics as she said she would, she decided to share her views. She talked almost twenty minutes. In those twenty minutes, she said the recently released picture of Obama shooting a gun was forced out by the conservative and far-right members. She explained how she believed Obama’s birth certificate was forced out, therefore this was too. For about five minutes, she called all Republicans racist. According to her, she had never seen such discrimination against a president and President Obama has been the most ill-treated president in the history of the United States, all because the Republicans don't want a black man in the White House. 

    I believe that the majority of my teachers (and teachers in general) are professional and leave their personal political views out of the classroom. There are a few teachers that have been extremely inspirational to me. Unfortunately, most is not enough. Teachers that do bring a one-sided view of politics into the classroom are attempting to influence students’ opinions. They want to teach us what to think instead of how to think.

    The intimidation has not swayed me or made me cower from my beliefs, but I worry about the other students. I'm certain I am not the only one that has experienced this sort of intimidation.  My teachers have always talked about bullying, including bullying homosexuals and how wrong it is. I agree one hundred percent. They shouldn’t be bullied, nor should anyone else. But if homosexuals can get equal treatment, why can’t I?  Why can’t my conservative friends? If teachers want bullying to end with homosexuals, other races or religious beliefs, they should want it to end with every type of bullying possible, including political views. 

    One-sided political conversations are happening in the classroom with impressionable students at a young age. This has gone on for decades. The problem is, not enough students speak up and speak out about it. The more educated I become, the more I realize the indoctrination that happens is very subtle and may not be noticeable to most students. Slowly but surely, these views seep inside a student’s head.  Only a year and a half ago did I realize our country was a Republic, not a Democracy. Why is that?  I had been taught otherwise for years prior.

    Teachers presenting a one-sided political view are a problem and they need to be stopped. A school should be a place students can comfortably and safely express their beliefs, learn, grow and form their own opinions. If we want an educated Republic, we need to educate our students in a fair and balanced way.

    80 comments
    Elizabeth Paul
    04/09/2013

    Benji, I heard your interview on Dana Loesh's radio show. You are such in impressive young man--so articulate, wise, and thoughtful for your age. I was amazed listening to you. What you have endured with your teachers is simply unprofessional on their parts and just plain ridiculous. Clearly, the union tells them what to think, and they spew what they're told. You, on the other hand, went exploring on your own for knowledge and now have such a wonderful purpose to educate your friends and fellow classmates. Don't give up! You are an awesome young man, and I'm sure your parents are so proud of you! I will continue to follow your blog, and I bet you'll run for political office one day. You've got my vote! "I'm Backing Backer!"

    High school student
    04/08/2013

    I also attend this High school and what you guys see isn't what i see. After school today everyone was talking about this. Everyone, even the conservatives, and his friends disagreed heavily with Benji. During these classes students in them said that this was a complete exaggeration of this incident, and that Benji actually aggravated this teacher by saying things against his views. His comment of "you can check who signed the recall" was uncalled for and should have brought a negative response. If Benji can openly spout his political views during class why can't anyone else or the teacher? This is one of the nicest teachers at the school and everyone loves him. If this causes him to be fired for something that is exaggerated and brought upon by Benji, me and the rest of the school will be on the teachers side.

    Dave Baur
    04/06/2013

    The Founding Fathers and Ronald Reagan would be proud of the way you handle yourself Benji! Good luck in your future endeavors! Sincerely, D Baur Green Bay.

    Allroads
    04/05/2013

    Benji, you are a hero. I applaud you for sticking to your beliefs in the face of opposition from other students as well as your teachers. Both of my daughters faced similar sociopolitical discrimination during their high school years. I discovered that most of their teachers, like many of yours, are unapologetically dogmatic in their political views. Honestly, I have never seen people so rigid, unyielding, and unwilling to entertain diverse viewpoints as the new progressive left. I am also a teacher, by the way, and often feel like an island in a sea of liberalism. I try to keep my own beliefs private. I tell my students to gather as much information about a subject as they can before making an informed decision for themselves. Benji, keep fighting the good fight.

    Shane Forzano
    04/05/2013

    I do admire your actions, and have faced very similar conflicts myself. But I think you need to tone down what you say. I hate to say it but just smile and nod. You can't argue with idiots so don't try. The more you do, the madder they get.

    Christopher Anderson
    04/05/2013

    Thank you for writing this. I'm actually twice as old as you and back in college and facing similar problems with a teacher, whose extremist feminist and racialist views I had finally had enough with and brought up during class. I'm still a little trepidatious about going back into that classroom; I know my actions will affect my grade and it also frightens me as much as it frightens any highschooler to stand up to a teacher and potentially face ridicule not only by him but my fellow classmates. Your story makes me feel a little bit less alone. Thank you.

    J Nixon
    04/01/2013

    I live near Appleton, so this gives me hope for the future of our state and country! Unfortunately, after hearing 12 years of one-sided propaganda, most students will become low information voters.
    Benji, I can assure you that most small business owners do NOT take Fridays and summers off, nor do they golf every weekend. My husband is starting a business and most days he eats dinner in front of his computer while programming or addressing customers' issues. He does not take Fridays off, certainly not the whole summer, and hasn't played golf for decades.

    Alan Cooper
    04/01/2013

    Benji, you are correct. Many of us have to live on $18-30K per year and struggle really hard to make ends meet. We cannot afford to pay teachers $60-100K per year and for admin personnel to get $120-$200K+ per year. Scott Walker understood these concepts. Looking forward to moving back to Wisconsin's Appleton area. Teachers need to shoulder more of the costs of health care, pension, and other insurance costs just like most of the Citizens of Wisconsin have. Benji, keep on "keepin' on, and do not "go along just to get along". Thank you for your stance(s) in these matters.

    Valeria Lindholm
    04/01/2013

    Benji, I just love your way of thinking. That of course would make me not an upright person but one who walks with a lean to the right. That being said, I know that lean to the right also makes me feel centered so that I am able to walk centered and straight. I was taught a long time ago that you have to believe in something or you will fall for anything. What I believe is that school is an institution for learning. A teacher is not hired to express their political views. They are hired on their merits to be able to teach their class how read, write, and do 'rithmatic. The basic things needed to get by in the real world once they no longer are in school. I think too, if you want to talk about the politics of school, students should be taught true civics and when old enough, they should have to take a civics test in order to be able to register to vote. It is not easy to seperate rhetoric and propaganda now days and choose people to work in the government who have the good of the general welfare in mind. If some lame teacher wants to bully you call him out on it. I would put his bullying on display in front of the whole class. Re-iterate his views and then lay out your own. Bring the aid of the whole class to yourself. You have to hit these bullies back with facts. They cannot dispute facts. You just be who you are Benji. There is only one of you. In any case I am glad your on the right side of life and law. The world is a much better place with people like you in it.

    Megan Dudgeon
    04/01/2013

    Benji, I am 22 and I know exactly how you feel. I was in your spot when I was your age and all I can tell you is keep fighting. It doesn't get better really, but you get smarter, tougher and quicker to the draw. Keep challenging them and when they retaliate, take it over their heads. Keep writing. Keep volunteering. Your fellow students need you to keep talking, otherwise they'll never know what they don't know. If you're scaring them this much now, I can only imagine what you will do when you can vote. Keep up the good fight!

    Michelle Marcus
    04/01/2013

    I don't read a single thing about bullying here. Sounds like this boy's teachers are trying to get him to think critically--something anathema to the Tea Party. It's funny how wealthy white males are always the real victimes, isn't it? I hope this child grows up and learns the real courage it takes to think, not just repeat talking points.

    Tony Wright
    04/01/2013

    As you have discovered your teachers are playing at union inspired head games. Ask them if they like 9% unemployment and whose policies are to blame. Ask them if they feel it is fair to steal? Is it fair for government to pitch hit for thieves and then claim it is for the greater good. Ask them where wealth comes from and does government have a right to just take it when it gets the urge. Ask them who inspired segregation of federal workers. There are many more questions you can ask and make them think. Most are in fear already and their fears are real and they do deserve them as they have sided with organized crime and communism. Lead them out, to do so you must make them question and begin to doubt. Not as hard as it sounds. Ask the kids if they like the idea that they must pay for the survival of others at the point of a gun. Have fun with them and smile you have a built in audience and witnesses.

    Chuck Berkman
    03/31/2013

    Thank you so much Benji for your maturity and perserverence. If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't be able to handle it as well as you....I would have been kicked out of school, no doubt. You are the standard bearer and you do so with aplomb. Thank you so much. It is an honor to read such testimony from a person like yourself.

    Michael Wood
    03/31/2013

    Thank you. Thank you. I hope, one day, my son is as smart and wonderful as you. I am not a Republican; but I am not a Democrat either. Go to law school. Good luck. Never believe these MORONS! I wish you well.

    Hyun Suh
    03/31/2013

    This is really inspiring. I have a little different views like there shouldn't be public schools in society because ever since government took over public schools, the public school system has gone worse and the that the teachers union is comprised of 90% democrats who don't know anything about the political system and that if they don't assimilate with the others, they get fired but that is something that I know personally since one of my friends wife is a public school teacher and my friend is a republican. I am a registered republican but I can tell you that even being a republican isn't the best views since most people in the establishment of the republican party are neo-conservative. The tea party and true conservative republicans would be like the libertarian republicans like Ron Paul, Justin Amash, and other great republicans of our days that is steadily growing. I am proud that this kid is standing up for his political stance against fascist teachers we have of our time. These are hard times for our republic and that we should really consider actively doing things like this kid has done. This is the only way that people will understand. To get this information out to the public or have more information like accessible people to learn.

    Jose Francisco Hernandez
    03/31/2013

    Congrats Benji! You are a true American who actually stands up for your actual rights!
    As you know, freedom is not free..it comes at a price and I'm not talking about currency..

    Michelle Jacobs-Anderson
    03/31/2013

    students need to know their rights of due process which is a court process that can take place when some sort of harrassment or bulllying takes place, if not then a civil rights action can be filed. teachers should not present one sided opinions to any subject or topic and many of them do. As a political role model in the spotlight, people who disagree with your side will attempt to give you their opinions in hopes you will get their messages back to your "leader" one way to quiet them down is to say you represent but do not relay message, you appreciate their points of view, however, you would rather stick to school subjects related to classes. (which technically is what the teachers should be saying themselves). great job on setting an example in hopes other students will not endure the pain of close minded people who attempt to teach young minds and fail miserably allowing their own views to block any progress as you have done.

    Ken Watson
    03/31/2013

    Two snaps up in a circle for this kid defending himself but there's no reason to proclaim life-long support for the public schools system. It is a crapulent edifice; rotten to the core. In Georgia they are being dis-accredited by the dozens and rightly so. Shut them down, knock them down. Stop collecting the taxes that support them. Fire every public school teacher and administrator. Let them find a dozen parents willing to trust their kids to them personally. Closer and closer scrutiny only reveals yet more corruption. Time to shut down this jobs program for Lefties. No mas. No.

    Madison Kistler
    03/31/2013

    I know exactly how you feel. I am a senior in high school who was just a month too young to vote, unfortunately. I believe very strongly in my political opinions, however my opinion is a part of a minority. Throughout every election season I have had to listen to constant and repetitive bashing of my political beliefs by my teachers, my fellow classmates, and even the majority of my friends who have been brainwashed and would rather hop on the bandwagon than be the odd one out. The fact that they can't even support their views reveals the brainwashing. I finally stopped voicing my opinion because every time I did, I was cut off, interrupted, and completely shut off, even banned from talking entirely at one point. Some of my teachers have even gone so far as to hang biased political posters in their rooms, often interject with their own snide comments even after election season, and one teacher even gives extra credit and praises every student who bashes Republicans, never mind that I, and one other student, are Republicans. There was even a scandal at my school, and several other local schools, involving Democrats approaching kids on school grounds and coercing them into registering as democrats. The faculty did not even bother to do anything even though they knew this was against the rules and was occurring. It only stopped when parents complained to the media and all of a sudden cameras were focused on the schools. It is truly incredible at how in our nation our first amendment rights can be so easily ignored at the same time we preach it in our schools. Oh, the irony.

    Colby Freeman
    03/31/2013

    I am sure either you will get a lot more or a lot less of this treatment after this.

    Brad Leavitt
    03/31/2013

    Seems as if there could be a violation of the Hatch Act here, may want to have the local GOP look into retaining a lawyer for this young man.

    The Hatch Act only applies to state and local government employees who work for an agency that receives federal funds. State or local agencies that typically receive federal funding.

    Nina Song
    03/31/2013

    I was a senior in high school during the whole budget issue. I remember how, the morning after the story broke, I walked into my Advanced Composition class to find stacks of Wuthering Heights on one of the desks. My teacher told us to take one, read, and write a report on it by the end of the semester. She then went on to use our class time to arrange buses, protests, rallies, and other such things for her union. (She was the head of our school's chapter/division/whatever.) The students organized a walk-out, though I sincerely doubt more than a handful of them actually were part of "the cause." That day I was the only student who stayed in my Advanced German class. It was a class of literally seven or eight people, and it was just me and my teacher. My Government teacher gave me a hard time about my political views (though he had done so all year, so it wasn't much of a surprise) and there were times when I dearly wanted to verbally tear him a new one, but I kept myself in check. I was raised to be respectful of my elders, after all, whether or not they deserved such respect. Added on to all of that, I had been dealing with the sudden passing of my father, who was very vocal and active in our county's Republican Party. That deflected much of political backlash I would have received for my views otherwise (and had received, in years previous). To be honest, Benji, anyone who displays a point of view different from the "expected" or "accepted" one always places his or her self in a position to be discriminated against simply for that point of view. You shouldn't be surprised to be bullied or treated differently because of your views. It's a sad truth but a truth, nevertheless.

    lyn olsen
    03/31/2013

    I have taught in public education for many years, and I have experienced the same thing you have....everything you say is very true....most of public education is composed of liberals who tell me how hateful conservatives/republicans are, then turn around and spew out hate.....so what I do now is I tell them that hate's ultimate victim is its possessor, and that they are the ones full of hate and that it will destroy them....it silences them and some have even apologized....and agreed....

    Daniel Allred
    03/30/2013

    Oddly, the fascist "liberal" ["liberal" is a one-word oxymoron] teachers are doing principled conservatives a favor. Anyone who aspires to being a political activist on either side should be challenged vigorously. Those who weather the storm will be the spokespersons and leaders for their cause. Since budding fascist "liberals" aren't challenged in school, they can't win a debate on the merits and ususally resort to "your mother wears army boots" tactics.

    David Thacker
    03/30/2013

    I admire your fine writing style and delivering the story as complete as possible. I would suggest when you state that most of your teachers are professional, not bringing personal politics into the classroom that perhaps you my be giving too much credit in order to appear "fair". Believe me, these people have been subverted. As a group, they will stop at nothing to maintain monopoly control on educational dollars and advance the collectivist ideology. They want another form of government. I love your sticking by your beliefs. Just don't make the mistake of being too fair with an enemy that will not show you the same respect. This isn't a courtesy contest. They do not pay us that favor. It's a contest for our very lives and Liberty. The Objectors to Liberty are opposed to our f\Freedoms and Liberty. I feel our side's commitment to "fairness" is used against us as a form of "PC" control. It's a severe and fundamental weakness. On one hand you need to graduate and score well in the subverted government indoctrination system, on the other, you need to remain an independent individual. It's a difficult balance, a form of abuse against our youth. My words may seem a bit edgy to some, yet I can tell your an intelligent thinker and who can see beyond the skin of these socialists and understand my meaning and intention. Let Liberty Ring!

    Peter Howe
    03/30/2013

    Young man, you are an inspiration, and the treatment from your teachers is nothing short of OBSCENE. While it will never happen, all of the adults involved in assaulting your freedom of speech and beliefs should be immediately TERMINATED, and never allowed to teach again. You demonstrate you are a responsible, civic-minded individual, and your teachers demonstrate their TOTAL lack of integrity. Keep up the good fight!

    Robert Marshner
    03/30/2013

    I was Bullied in High School because I like Ronald Reagan so I know how you feel they tried to get me to conform to their reality I had no one to turn to so I dropped out of school I stuck to my beliefs and so should you Stay in school Benji . even Though I don't regret dropping out I did let them win in a way but I have learned far more on my own than I ever did in school just keep the Faith

    Lucille Lapinski
    03/30/2013

    Benji never give up what you believe in.

    Connor Metz
    03/30/2013

    Hi Benji, I'm a 15 year old Conservative in New Jersey. Its great to hear your story. While I try to help my other friends when they don't understand something, I am very little criticized. Greatly because my knowledge is ahead of my Peers. But I've never had a teacher come after me and try to insult my ideals. I do often debate with them, but it never gets to far. While New Jersey is a Democratic state, I live in a Republican county. Its important to remember that there are very few Republican Teachers. Anyways, keep up the good work. Don't let anyone tell you Conservatism is wrong. Its what we need. - Connor

    W. Mathew Drumm
    03/30/2013

    Benji I know how you feel. I attended college while serving my country in uniform and while raising/supporting a family. I was frequently criticized for my conservative beliefs and my unwavering faith in America and its values. I stuck to my guns and earned my bachelor's in quite possibly the most liberal field of study, sociology all the while sticking to my conservative beliefs. You can do it son, the fact that you have called this B.S. for what it is so early is proof of that.

    Layman John
    03/30/2013

    Having tried to influence the public school system over years, I've come to the conviction that public schools in America are past the point of salvaging. That's because of Supreme Court rulings against Christian teaching in the schools, even though Judeo-Christian principles of law and social structure are the basis for Western law and concepts of justice. That fact, the complete secularization of the public education system all the way through, makes the system pagan, anathema to raising, training and preparing the children of Christian parents for life and good citizenship. But the Supreme's decisions have only been the legalization of the secularist, atheistic philosophies predominant in the culture's education elite and pervasive in the education establishment. Those philosophies, expressed most powerfully in pseudo-scientific evolution training have complete reign in the public school system, and they are diametrically counter to Christian teaching. Therefore, let all Christian parents pull their children out of the public school system, and let churches and Christian foundations build their own schools, at all levels to re-establish the educational environment where the children God has given to Christian parents can be educated to dynamic spiritual and academic excellence.

    Dan Granot
    03/30/2013

    Interesting post. Well, I've heard one side of the situation, what's the other side of the story?

    Ken Rumbarger
    03/30/2013

    Benji, you are absolutely right that some view public education primarily as an opportunity to increase the population of liberals and plant ideas that will be hard to root out with conservative arguments later. But your opening statement, "I never imagined my activism in politics would translate into controversy for me at school," really makes me want to ask who failed to prepare you. Anyone who is outspoken on behalf of any particular belief has to expect some degree of opposition to arise. It's a fact of human nature. I'm not saying your parents or what few conservative teachers you might have should have told you to expect the worst from people. But there must be a way to make a young man with your obvious belief in standing up for the truth better prepared than to have to say, "I never imagined."

    Dan Granot
    03/30/2013

    Interesting post. Well, I've heard one side of the situation, what's the other side of the story?

    Jim VanCise
    03/30/2013

    My, what a well written fifteen year old !!! I can truthfully say that I've had very few High School Seniors with such a command of language (even including Journalism Students).

    If I wasn't afraid of being criticized for saying so, I might go as far as to question just who wrote this letter.

    Oh well, who cares. I don't suppose you can prove the Authorship of this, can you?

    Ken Rumbarger
    03/30/2013

    Let's make a distinction between authorship and proofreading. If the extent of adult involvement was limited to someone reading it over and spotting typographical or grammatical errors, or improving sentence structure, I don't think that invalidates its authenticity. Since you mention journalism students, don't they have to learn to accept some editing once in a while?

    David Solo
    03/30/2013

    the most shocking part of this story, was that its in my home town Appleton Wisconsin. even though its a heavily democratic area, i find this story a bit empty. first of all, you can't be in politics and not face discrimination. your naive if you think you can go around declaring yourself a conservative (publicly in the news, at school, age 15 on top of it) and think your not going to get negative attention from your opposing parties? stay in school and out of politics for awhile if you can't handle the heat. its true for all parties, in all areas. personally, i can honestly say i was pleasantly surprised to see what meaningful conversations were taking place. you couldn't walk down college ave with out hearing both sides of the union debate, Appleton is an extremely tolerant and accepting place but if you are offended every time a democrat opens their mouth, then your hopeless. i was never "indoctrinated" and never received any kind of mistreatment for opposing democratic views.

    Camille Stutzman
    03/30/2013

    The individuals who set out to change the world often have opposition. You're up to grand things when you get the attention of the teachers (good or bad). Stick to your beliefs and don't let petty badgering derail you! The best of men and women are strong enough to withstand the insults and harassment that come with going against the grain. Keep acting on your commitments, that is true integrity!

    Ken Rumbarger
    03/30/2013

    I would add, make sure you are acting on your commitments and that you know what they are. Liberals gained far too much ground that it was hard for conservatives to take back, when the singer Anita Bryant backtracked on her high-publicity campaign against homosexuality and complained she had been "used" by people around her. (That was probably before you were born.) If you really support the conservative cause in your own heart and mind, make sure you understand what, how much, and why. There will be someone sometime whose tactic will be to try to persuade you that you never really did. Count on it. Be prepared if you want to continue to be a conservative asset and not a landmine.

    Sophie Simar
    03/30/2013

    I am 69 years old and when I was a senior in high school we had a very important presidential election. The night of the election I baby sat for a high school teacher. When they came back for the night they could tell I was upset. I told him it didn't look like my candidate would be winning the election. He said to me that he felt sad too. Until that time and all 12 years before no teacher had even hinted to their choices either way. Why have things gotten so bad?

    Juanita Holloway-Walters
    03/30/2013

    I enjoyed reading your story because it does give me hope that America isn't going to hell in a hand basket. I do .worry about the weaker students processing of the indoctrination happening in many schools and colleges. On FB I post some of my commentary and opinions on my wall. Left leaning acquaintances often set out to debate the issues. As most conservatives do, I bring facts, figures, and quotes into the debate - oh, and common sense when I think they may be able to remember what that is. Usually in day 2 the person that chose to debate me will start insulting me personally. At that point, I point out that personal insults have nothing to do with the debate. I am a 60 year old adult, and I have the tools to defend my position. It is admirable that you have them as a teen. Yes, I de-friend them because I don't personally insult anyone, and will not put up with that. Unfortunately, you are not in a position to "de-friend" those who bully you in school. Life close up and personal is a world away from this Freedomworks forum, and the FB forum. Although being bullied historically makes stronger people out of us, the advent of social computering has changed the nature of bullying - and it is time for America to take a step back and re-teach / re-learn acceptable ways of communicating with one another. It is time to take a giant step back in how we are educating our young, because indoctrinating a captive audience is not acceptable behavior no matter what side of the aisle we each cast our vote on.

    Lisa Bullock-Hock
    03/30/2013

    This is not just a problem in public schools, but several years ago (about 2001 or 2002) I was taking a Sociology class in college, and we had a term paper on Civil Issues. The professor gave issues in generalities that we could use as guide, and told us to defend our positions and that is what our grade would be based on. I did research on the Welfare System and how it promotes poverty, and how the Democratic Party is using this system to gain Democrat voters by getting people addicted to government hand outs. Basically keeping them poor and dependent for political purposes. I did my research, including data obtained from the state and county Department of Social Services, and other credible sources. When I got my paper back there was a big "F" and some words quote: "Please transfer to REDNECK U because you are TOO STUPID to attend college here."I went to the Dept head--no luck, she told me how stupid I was, and I was no longer welcome unless I changed my point of view, and how stupid people like me is my George W. Bush is President. I took the issue to the Dean who graded my paper and reversed the Grade to an "A". Not that he agreed with my views, but that I completed the assignment as requested. I also stayed there until transferring the next year. So I understand about being rediculed, singled out, and punished for beleiving that Conservatism is the only way Forward in this country. Keep doing what you are doing, and maybe you can take some young folks with you. Thank you.

    Ken Rumbarger
    03/30/2013

    This is not just a problem in undergraduate courses. Your teacher was rude but at least he or she was direct and honest and gave you the possibility of dealing with it directly. (At least the Dean had some academic integrity.) I know someone who upset a graduate professor by standing up to him when he used the Crusades as "proof" that Christianity is worthless because God did not prevent the Muslims from defeating the Christians. The professor orchestrated an incident to accuse the person of misconduct in the classroom and the school upheld his charges and banned the person from all their campuses. By not making it a direct issue of freedom of religious speech and hiding behind the great degree of legal immunity that such schools enjoy, the professor was too smart to expose himself to opposition. And he probably thinks he has proven AGAIN that God is powerless to protect a Christian. He is overlooking that a two-year statute of limitations may be stated in American law, but God said nothing in the Bible about it. He waits much longer than that, sometimes.

    Vernon Ferraris
    03/30/2013

    And some people think schools can't get an stupider

    Lisa Bullock-Hock
    03/30/2013

    Yeah they can. Read my post.

    Joseph Montgomery
    03/30/2013

    Benji, stay the course. As a former middle school/high school Social Studies tchr i can tellnyou that what you are experiencing is the same thing that tchrs experience. When i would interview with principals and school boards i would tell them upfront that if they were looking for a yes man or someone who would toe a specific line then they didn't need to hire me. I would tell them that i was NOT politically correct and that i never would be. Yet they would. My focus was teaching not indoctrination. I told administrators and parents alike that their students/children just may take views that were different from mine and theirs. I taught about the found g of the republic. About the documents that make this country great. My students never knew whAt my opinion was because it is immaterial. I wasn't there to teach thembwhat i thought but to help them develop their own thought and opinions and ideas. As you may have already surmised i was never in any one school district very long. Yet in the course of 7 years and 4 district i helped to foster free thinking among a couple of thousand students. Some of whom the system had written off as problems and other who were just looming for truth. Truth, in education, is what the individual student finds on their own with monjjdgmental guidance from a teacher. NOT given to them by the teacher.
    I may have never stayed at any one district very long but two of my principals continued to seek me out after i retired to help educate and train their new Social Studies teachers on how to set up their curriculum to foster free thinking and expression without interesting their own bias. I was even nominated and accepted to this who among Americas teachers and educators 7 years in a row AFTER i had to retire. My students have become lawyers, soldiers, officers and politicians. They own businesses and the ones who were told tbeyd never amount to anything went on tks college and graduated with honors.
    I will now tell you something i told them:
    No matter how head doing the right thing is, it doesn't make it any less right.
    You have to own your education. It is yours to develop.
    Always stand up for what is right. Teachers are NOT the fount of all knowledge
    The oonly stupid question is one unasked. If you have a question them others do also but are afraid to ask.
    Never take information at face value. Research it!
    A teacher should always learn as much from the student as the student learn from them
    STAND UP! Teachers who are NOT challanged at time for what they teach usually teach thing wring.
    A student should NEVER k ow what a teachers political ideology is. It has no okace i told the classroom.
    A teAcher who usnt willing to have their ideas debated has an agenda which isn't in line with the objects of education.
    When a teAcher says you're wring the question is why but should be according to who?
    If you object to what us thought to be truth, present facts (not opinion) on why you believe its so.
    If you are castrated because you use facts to refute a teachers tea thing and they get mad then they aren't teaching fact but fiction or opinion.
    If we live in a republic then why should our employees (government) keep we the employees in the dark?
    The 1st 10 amendments to the constitution is called the bill if rights. They are the items, but into words, that the government is supposed to be ensuring for the citizens.
    The major function kf government is to ensure a reou lican form kf government for the i individual states and its citizens.
    The Constitution is NOT a living document. It says what it means and means what it says.
    When all else fails, when the government becomes unresponsive to the needs and requirements as set forth in the Constitution it is the right and duty if the citizens to make it work or change it if necessary.

    Keep the faith young man. You are right. Sometimes its hard and lonely being the only one standing ul among the uneducated but even if you are the only one at least the passion isn't dead. Sometimes it only take one pebble to cause a ripe that effects change. It may not be immediately but someone somewhere gains strength of conviction when they see another stand up in the masses for what is right and proper. Truth cannot be silence or changed it isrstill the truth no matter how much the majority res to silence it!

    Ken Rumbarger
    03/30/2013

    I strongly suspect you may have been writing this fairly quickly on a BlackBerry. I find it hard not to miss on that tiny keyboard myself and, yes, backspacing can disrupt the flow of thought. I encourage everyone reading this to overlook the typos and find some very valid thoughts within the post. (Sometimes on the Internet poor typing is indeed a clue to poor thinking and avoiding it can save one a world of aggravation, but this appears to be an important exception.)

    chickamaugamike
    03/30/2013

    Democrats have always viewed the education system as a recruitment center, one place where they can always share their misinformation. Colleges are even worse. Continue to stand up for what you believe in. Even a lone voice in the desert can be heard.

    Jessica Crout
    03/30/2013

    Oh Benji, I wish you could be in my class. I'm feeling the same way being a conservative teacher. This will probably be my first and last year in public schools.

    Ken Rumbarger
    03/30/2013

    Jessica, I hear what you are saying. I made a suggestion to Jamie Pacheco above, who is also a teacher, which you might find a useful starting point. To avoid the bad manners of posting multiple copies, I will just suggest you look at it there.

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