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Letter - A response to Huckaby

To the editor:

On Sunday, Oct. 19, the Citizen newspaper ran a column written by Mr. Darrell Huckaby who boldly identified himself as a teacher in Rockdale County. As a parent and person who received formal training to teach History, I am deeply disturbed and infuriated by the irresponsible and biased sentiments expressed by Mr. Huckaby against Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama.

It is my understanding that Mr. Huckaby is an Advanced Placement history teacher at Heritage High School. The role of an educator is one of great responsibility and does not end once the classroom door is shut. An educator has the powerful ability to strongly influence students' opinions and world views. The subject of history is one that allows educators to state the facts of past and current events. History also allows educators to interpret the facts based not on one's opinions but actual proven knowledge without the hint of sarcastic and inflammatory statements.

The classroom is an environment that should foster learning and open discussion led by an unbiased teacher which will lead to free and responsible expression and insightful critical thinking. An unbiased teacher has the power to ask tough questions and lead the class discussion where all opinions are relevant and not judged.

Knowing the role of the educator and an open learning environment, Mr. Huckaby was overwhelmingly irresponsible in making the biased, ultra-conservative statements in the Citizen column. In particular, his sarcastic statement "And man, is this country in for a treat when Barack Hussein Obama places his hand on the Bible - assuming he does - and swears (or affirms; it's his choice) to 'faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.'" This statement alone leads me to recommend that appropriate personnel reprimand Mr. Huckaby for abusing his role as an educator by publicly stating to his students: 1) I don't like Barack Obama; 2) I don't believe he is a Christian who has faith in the Bible; 3) I believe he is a Muslim and there is something gravely wrong with being a Muslim in America and running for president. Further statements went on to imply that Mr. Obama does not believe in the democracy established by our Founding Fathers but Socialism expounded by Karl Marx.

I am a parent who will have a child at Heritage High School next year. If Mr. Huckaby is assigned as her teacher, I will strongly advocate for my daughter not being placed in his class.

Do you think a student in Mr. Huckaby's class who happens to support Barack Obama would feel safe in expressing his or her opinion about the current political race? I wonder how he would treat a student who believes in Islam. In fact, Mr. Huckaby's article was so inflammatory, I don't know if any student representing the left, right or moderate wing would feel the freedom and security to challenge his opinion. A more constructive approach to teaching is when students learn more facts and develop their own opinions. Real education can occur when a teacher cautiously keeps his personal feelings and opinions to a minimum in the important effort of fostering open discussion, critical thinking and true learning. Mr. Huckaby has an opportunity to build bridges amongst young impressionable minds, yet he is building walls that continue to divide.

Regards,

Karla Daniels

Covington