Yet another entry in the “reasons to homeschool” list, found via ariedana:
By STEVE URBON, Standard-Times senior correspondent
FAIRHAVEN — A Rogers School music teacher sent first-graders home on Election Day to warn their parents against voting for pro-choice presidential candidate John Kerry because he “kills babies,” according to a School Committee member.
The graphic political lesson so traumatized some of the first- and second-grade students at the Fairhaven school that it prompted a parental backlash and hasty meetings between parents and school officials.
The teacher, Rita Campoli, did not return a call at her New Bedford home seeking comment yesterday. But Fairhaven School Committee member Michael Gagne said he has been swamped with calls and e‑mails from irate parents, as have school administrators.
The aunt of one first-grader called The Standard-Times to say that her niece had collapsed in tears at the idea that candidate Kerry was somehow responsible for the killing of babies in abortions. “She hardly has an idea of death. And now she has this vision of John Kerry killing babies.”
Assistant Superintendent Ralph W. Tripp could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon. But in an e‑mail to Mr. Gagne and others, he explained that the teacher had used her classes to bring up abortion and euthanasia, both of which she opposes.
“She went on to explain abortion,” said the e‑mail.
School officials, said Mr. Tripp, met with students Wednesday morning and with parents in the afternoon, and a letter was sent home to parents as well. A staff meeting was held yesterday morning, said Mr. Gagne, and he said the teacher has apparently been reprimanded.
But that isn’t enough for the aunt, at least, who said she believes the teacher should at least be suspended.
“That little girl was hysterical, she was sobbing,” said the aunt. The teacher, she said, was using the classroom and the children “for political purposes.”
“I understand she’s a devout Catholic, but there’s such a thing as separation of church and state,” she said. “The kids were traumatized. At that age they don’t understand death. They think of old people, and now she’s talking about babies.”
The teacher, she said, apologized, “but that doesn’t really help the situation.”
This story appeared on Page A1 of The Standard-Times on November 5, 2004.