When a Florida middle school teacher gave students an online quiz calling Donald Trump an idiot, a student showed their dad. After the concerned parent alerted administrators, the educator was “reassigned.”
Phillip D’Amico, the principal for Watson B. Duncan Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was forced to send an apology letter to parents, assuring them an investigation was taking place after a concerning quiz caused upset, WPTV reported. The online quiz was posted on Quizlet, a mobile and web-based study application that educates students through digital flashcards and a variety of games and tests.
After being posted to Quizlet, the quiz was then distributed to the middle school students, but what was being taught was questionable and raised concerns. The quiz featured a question that seemed to openly criticize Donald Trump, calling him an idiot and appearing to prove that the teacher was educating the students according to their own political bias.
While ABC 25 reported, “The Palm Beach Gardens school district says a quiz program is to blame for an offensive quiz question,” Quizlet told a different story. “Study sets on Quizlet are created by individual users, each of whom controls both the content of the study material itself, as well as who can view and edit study content they have created,” the software company told CNN in a statement.
The multiple-choice question read, “45th Pres; 2017; Republican; Real Estate businessman; Idiot.” The possible answers were Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, or Jimmy Carter, according to CBS 12, although CNN reported that Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan were the available answers. Regardless, the only “correct” choice was Trump since he’s the only one who took office in 2017 as the 45th president, which also meant the question was calling Trump an “idiot.”
This apparently didn’t sit well with at least one student who showed their dad the question that was included on the quiz. The parent, who asked to remain anonymous, then approached school administrators about it and issued a complaint, The Boca Raton Tribune reported. “It is an obvious example of indoctrination in our school systems, where teachers are forcing their opinions on our children,” the parent said, admitting that he was very disappointed, according to CBS 12.
After hearing the parent’s concern, Principal Phillip D’Amico sent a letter to Watson B. Duncan Middle School parents. In his letter, Principal D’Amico acknowledged the inappropriateness of the question and reassured the community that it was being investigated. “A question on a quiz given by your child’s Computer Applications teacher yesterday was brought to my attention this morning,” he wrote in his letter to parents. “The question was inappropriate and demonstrated an unacceptable lack of good judgment on the part of the teacher.”
Principal Phillip D’Amico assured parents that something would be done about it. “An investigation is now underway, and the teacher has been reassigned during this process,” he explained. “Because this is an open inquiry, I am not at liberty to share any additional details with you at this point. I apologize for this incident, and for the offensive verbiage used in the question. Thank you for your patience, and your continued support of Watson B. Duncan Middle School.”
According to CNN, the school district said that the teacher, who was not identified, remained employed with the district pending the outcome of an internal investigation and was reassigned to work in a place that does not involve contact with students. This leaves many wondering what’s the point? If the teacher can’t have contact with the students, they can’t teach. Therefore, why should taxpayers, who fund our public schools, continue to pay them?
Since this is a personnel issue, it’s unlikely that the final outcome of the investigation or any further disciplinary action taken against the teacher will ever be revealed to the public. Instead, parents are expected to trust that the situation was handled — just like they trusted that a teacher would educate their child using facts, not their personal opinion. And, that didn’t happen, did it?
It’s sad when those we trust with our children prove that they can’t maintain the expected degree of professionalism, and instead, do the exact things we discourage our children from doing. Regardless of your opinion of Donald Trump, we should all agree that name-calling isn’t acceptable behavior, and we shouldn’t tolerate teachers setting a bad example and making our kids think it’s okay.