Dad Enraged By Teacher's Trump Question (Photos) - Opposing Views

Dad Enraged By Teacher's Trump Question (Photos)

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A New York teacher has come under fire for a homework question about President Donald Trump.

Staten Island teacher Adria Zawatsky found herself answering to angry parents after she slipped questions about Trump and former president Barack Obama into an assignment for her middle school class' vocabulary homework, New York Post reports.

"President Trump speaks in a very superior and [blank] manner insulting many people," read the question on the assignment. "He needs to be more [blank] so that the American people respect and admire him."

The blank spaces were meant to be filled in with the words "haughty" and "humble," which appeared in the assignment's word bank. The next question on the assignment asked about Obama.

"Barack Obama set a [blank] when he became the first African American president," read the question, which was meant to be completed with the word "precedent."

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Vincent Ungro, whose daughter is a student in the class, took issue with the questions, which he argued were politically motivated. He told his daughter not to answer the questions and sent a note to Zawatsky.

"Please keep your political views to yourself and do not try to influence my children on them," wrote Ungro. "Thank you."

When Zawatsky took points off Ungro's daughter's assignment for the missing answers, the dad said it was "vindictive."

"I was stunned," Ungro said, according to Fox.

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"This woman is forcing my child to put words on a piece of paper describing our president in a disparaging manner," said Ungro. "Her political opinion should be left at home."

Zawatsky responded to Ungro's complaint in an email and did not apologize for the questions.

"Firstly, I do not believe I was expressing a political view at all on my vocabulary sheet," wrote the teacher. "My reference to President Trump was about his personality traits rather than his ability as a president. The media is nonstop on very similar references. This is considered freedom of speech and I feel I have the same right as they do."

IS 75's principal, Kenneth Zapata, reportedly spoke with Zawatsky; she also had a disciplinary letter placed in her file, but Ungro dismissed the punishment as "basically nothing."

Another IS 75 parent, Maria, said she didn't approve of the assignment either: "If you're teaching the kids vocabulary, then stick to that. You shouldn't be expressing your opinion about the president during class."

Michael Aciman, a spokesman for the Department of Education, said that staff are expected to stay neutral on political issues in class.

"The DOE encourages respectful conversations about civics that help students become more thoughtful and engaged citizens, but staff are directed to maintain neutrality when discussing political issues in school," said Aciman.

Another teacher was suspended after a similar incident in 2016, when Malik Leigh put a question asking if the country would be "screwed" if Trump won the presidency, Mediate reports.

Palm Beach Lakes High School Principal Cheryl McKeever sent Leigh a letter telling him that the test had "inaccurate content, irrelevant material, unprofessional use of language, [and] inappropriate use of language."

"I'm not pushing a political agenda," said Leigh, defending his decision to include the question. "To me, it was a funny question. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the exam. They're just grasping at straws at this point."

Sources: New York Post, Fox, Mediaite / Featured Image: Fanyun H/Flickr / Embedded Images: New York Post, James Messerschmidt/New York Post

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