Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times
October 13, 2020 | 12:48 PM
GLOUCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A 12-year-old middle school student asked his school to train its staff in facilitating discussions about politics because he says a teacher belittled him when he expressed support for President Donald Trump in class.
The family of Jackson Cody, of Gloucester, hired an attorney and wrote to administrators of O’Maley Innovation Middle School in early October asking for the teacher to apologize and for the school to train staff to respect the views of students, the Gloucester Daily Times reported.
In a letter to the superintendent of Gloucester schools, Cody says an unnamed teacher asked her class about who they supported in the election, the newspaper reported. When Cody responded that he supported Trump, she said, “Really, Mr. Jackson, I thought I liked you.”
The letter also said that the teacher said it was a good thing the president had tested positive for the coronavirus, the newspaper reported.
After the letter was sent to the school, the teacher called Cody’s mother to explain what happened and to apologize, Superintendent Ben Lummis told the newspaper. She also apologized to the student in class the next day.
“While I truly wish the staff member did not express her views in a disrespectful way, I am proud of the way the staff member handled this situation once she realized that she had made a mistake in the way she spoke to the student,” Lummis told the newspaper.
Cody’s attorney, Marc Randazza, told the newspaper that Cody is not suing the school but wants “an apology to Mr. Cody and his family, a commitment from the school system that this kind of conduct will not be repeated, and immediate training for all your staff about respecting diverse viewpoints and that staff should refrain from political proselytizing while they have a captive audience.”
Randazza and Cody spoke with conspiracy theorist and host of InfoWars Alex Jones last week about the teacher’s comments. Randazza has previously represented Jones when he was sued by the creator of a frog illustration that far-right extremists have taken up as a symbol of their views.
School principal Lynne Beattie told staff in an email that a training is scheduled next week, the newspaper reported.
“We must remember at all times that as adults and educators we hold a position of power,” Beattie wrote. “Our opinions are meaningful to our students; they look up to us, and want to know that we value them.”
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