Michigan Teacher Blocks Kids From Trump Speech

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13: President-elect Donald Trump speaks to reporters after his meeting with television personality Steve Harvey at Trump Tower, January 13, 2017 in New York City. President-elect Trump continues to hold meetings at Trump Tower in New York. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

 (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A Michigan fourth grade teacher says he is following his professional duty by not allowing his students to watch the inauguration speech of Donald Trump on Friday.  Brett Meteyer sent a letter to parents explaining that because of the incoming Presidents “inflammatory and degrading” language during the campaign; that unless he gets a copy of the speech in advance that he will not allow the students to watch.

Yes, you read that right. A fourth grade teacher is demanding he see a copy of the speech in advance or he won’t let his students watch Donald Trump deliver his inaugural speech. I guess maybe I should demand a copy of the speech in advance as well so I can see if it meets my approval too.

Here is the letter that was sent to parents and then forwarded to me:

Dear Parents,

Because I am concerned about my students and your children being exposed to language and behavior that is not in concert with the most conservative social and family values, I have decided to show the inauguration of Donald Trump this Friday, but we will not view Mr. Trump’s inauguration speech.

Because every peaceful transition of power is a historic moment, I put in a request to the Trump team to preview the speech, but I have not heard back from them.

I showed the speeches of Presidents Obama and Bush in 2009 and 2005, respectively, but I am anxious about showing Mr. Trump’s inaugural address, given his past inflammatory and degrading comments about minorities, women, and the disabled. I am also uneasy about Mr. Trump’s casual use of profanity, so I sought an assurance that as their teacher, I would not be exposing children to language that would not appear in G- or PG-rated movies.

I do not know if Mr. Trump’s speech is something that would be provided to the press or concerned citizens beforehand, but these plans may change if I hear back from them.

Hopefully,

Brett Meteyer

I reached out to Meteyer and spoke to him by phone earlier today. He reiterated to me that he reached out to the Trump team and the RNC and said he has not gotten any response. I am personally shocked by this revelation. I mean I am certain they have nothing more pressing to concern themselves with other than the demands of a fourth grade teacher in Michigan.

Meteyer went much further saying, “I’ve followed my professional duty to shield these children from possible offensive behavior.” When pressed on what specific behavior or speeches he was referring to from the Trump campaign Meteyer declined to name any specifics and then told me I could “look them up on-line” if I wanted to know more because he wasn’t going to do my work for me.

I figured that a guy who proudly says he is ‘shielding’ our children, might actually have an idea of what campaign speeches gave him the notion they needed to be protected from Donald Trump’s inauguration speech. He gave me nothing. When pressed on what comments he was referring to he declared, “I don’t need to justify what I did to you.”

Really?

I am a taxpayer in the district, graduated from the High School there and have kids in the system. I think that entitles me to an explanation of why a teacher thinks he can decide whether or not the students are allowed to watch an historic inauguration speech.

I also wanted to know if he received the school districts blessing before penning the letter and sending it to parents. I was told I could ask the district. So far I’ve not received a call back from the administration.

“I feel good about what I’ve done”, he later boasted. I asked quite pointedly ‘Do you stand by the letter?’; “Of course I do!” he snorted with a nice sharp retort.

My mother taught fifth grade for more than three decades and it is her words that echo in my ears today; “my job is to teach kids how to think, not what to think.” I think my mother could share a few lessons with some of the teachers working today.

What do you think?

Comments

  1. Pat

    Here is the thing, and there is no getting around this:

    Why the need to even send out a letter? Unless it’s to express your own opinions and expose your agenda.

    No letter, and no one would really give two rats bottoms about it.

  2. Jason Barnstable

    Please follow up with this Steve….I am very interested to see if the District has any comment, I also have 3 children in the system, while none of them are with Mr. Meteyer I am curious if any other Teachers are following the same practice.

  3. Chris Walters

    Two of my 3 children have been students in Brett’s classroom. I would say he’s being overly dramatic. I’m quite certain that our new President will not use his inaugural speech as a time to use inappropriate or inflammatory language.

  4. Brad VanSickler

    Bravo! Very well written as always! I applaud you Mr. Gruber!! I loved the last paragraph. We as taxpayers and those who have students in the school district need to take a stand about teaching and teaching our kids “how to think, not what to think”!

  5. Kelly

    I think the parents should request to the school board that he submit to the parents everything he is going to speak in class before he speaks it! Ridiculousness

  6. M. Whitmyer

    I would keep my child home to watch it. My child does not belong to the school he/she belongs to me and I make the decisions wether its good or bad for my child. I also have three adult kids who teach and I did not like the comment about his mom “teaching teachers a few things now a days”. That was a slam on my kids and I don’t appreciate it one bit. A Michigan parent & grand parent.

  7. Pastor Aimee Clark

    How about EVERY speech he’s ever given!!! I have not heard one where he didn’t us profanity, insult one group of Americans or another, or act like a spoiled brat. NONE of these things are what our children should be taught are acceptable.
    I made sure my children’s teachers were not showing his speech. Otherwise, I would have kept them home. When Trump speaks I want to be right there to explain to my kids that HE is wrong for speaking or acting like that & that THEY will be held to a higher moral standard than Trump is able to achieve.

  8. Rachel Dugal

    Sorry I didn’t see a school district mentioned. I would like to see letters to the district admin about this. It is shameful that this can happen without an outcry. This is going around fb but just saying. Wish it had contact info for the admin Thank you so much for the article.

    I myself am outraged that this happened.

  9. Darcie Cochran

    I think this teacher is correct in his actions. First of all, it’s not a historic event. This happens every 4 years. He is not the first white man to become president, therefore it’s not historic. If children must watch trumps speech, Thier parents can always record it. It’s time to STOP shoving this man down our throats.

  10. Samantha W.

    I don’t blame Mr. Meteyer for deciding not to view the inauguration in class. I think he has legitimate concerns and if he were to allow the kids to watch when their parents would rather they didn’t, there could be a backlash. The way I see it, this is a smart move on his part.

    There will be many avenues in which to watch the inauguration after the fact so stating that Mr. Meteyer is blocking kids from Trump’s speech is false. He is simply allowing the parents to decide for themselves whether or not they want their kids to view the speech.

    None of my teachers had us watch inaugural speeches when I was in school (graduated in 2010) so I do not see the issue here.

  11. CW Thomas

    You should call it what it is .This teacher deciding what is right for all is censorship

  12. Mr Lyle e Walter jr

    The teacher is infringing on the rights of the children & the parents! He alone should not make that choice! He should be at the very least brought infront of a school bourd meeting for dissaplinery actions! The parents should decide what is righ for there own children not him! Honestly if my kids were in his class I would keep them home sick that day!

  13. Sherlene Stroud

    I am sick and tired of teachers now days who think they have more authority and control then the parent. I don’t know who they think they are? I have run across a couple of them over the years and they seemed completely shocked when I put them in their respective places!

  14. Pingback: MICHIGAN, 4th Grade Teacher sends letter to Parents attacking the next President of the United States! - Thomas Dillingham's Blog

  15. Pam

    Stev,

    Please keep this story about this Michigan teacher not showing the Inauguration on Friday to his class.
    This is getting out of control. What has he been teaching his class, maybe it time the parents check his agenda!
    This is history and with all the bad in this world teach his class the good in the world.

    Thank you for bringing this to the media!

  16. Pingback: Students Forbidden by Teacher to Watch Trump’s Inauguration Speech | Top Right News

  17. Jack

    He may be off-base thinking he’s going to get a copy of the speech in advance, but I agree with him that he doesn’t need to give you a list of all the offensive things Donald Trump has said. It would take a great deal of willful ignorance to not already be aware of these. Besides, 4th grade kids don’t need to see this inauguration speech, or any other for that matter. The teacher could have saved himself a lot of trouble by not articulating his decision, but do you really think Trump should be a role model for our kids? He’s a mean-spirited bully who is overtly misogynistic and racist. It would be completely inappropriate to showcase his speech to children.

  18. Pingback: Students Forbidden by Teacher to Watch Trump’s Inauguration Speech | |

  19. bonita gibbs

    if you want your to watch the idiot & listen to his lies & bullshit keep them home & let them watch IT. im amazed and appauled that you haven’t heard back from the school board as im sure YOU are their top priority

  20. Carolynn

    What do I think? I think that I had to tell my children they could not watch the Republican debates after a debate degenerated into comments about penis size. I suspect this is the sort of thing the teacher is worried about as he says he needs to make sure the speech would maintain the equivalent of a G or PG rating, which is not something the PE is known for. There are plenty of things for us all to fight about with regard to education and politics. It is disappointing that you have wasted our time starting an argument and vilifying a teacher over his wish to protect students instead of addressing more important topics.

  21. Crispus Attucks

    All forms of Marxism that are displayed publicly should be declared crimes of sedition and treason and prosecuted accordingly.

  22. Lori S.

    This teacher has no grounds to stop his students from viewing the inaugural. If I had a child in his class, I would keep them home so they could see history being made. I would also explain to my child that a teacher has no right to force their politics on them.

  23. Nancy S

    It is the teacher’s class. His choice. Parents can dvr the speech or it can be looked up on the internet. Trump has been known to say inappropriate things so I get where he is coming from. Some parents flip out over language, some over violence, some over sex education…etc..etc…he just used the F word on twitter…this word doesn’t offend me but I know plenty who are. I think the inaugaration while historical wastes valuable classroom time. It can be watched at home.

  24. Daniel S. Dobbs

    I believe the voters in Williamston should show their displeasure by voting no when ever school millage comes up.

  25. Pingback: 4th-grade teacher declares he won’t show Trump inaugural speech to students — and reaction is swift – TheBlaze

  26. John Sherry

    I read your blog post on the teacher who won’t allow students to see the inaugural speech in class and got to thinking that you could bolster your argument with a few facts:

    1. How many presidential inauguration speeches did you see live in your 12 years in the the district?
    2. Recalling Carter’s speech (which I’m just guessing you would have viewed in elementary school– respond for the correct president), what are the main points that stuck out for you? How have those lessons impacted your life and your education going forward?

    See how those facts would help your blog? “I saw X live presidential inauguration speeches during class time and believe that they were an excellent use of class time that would have been spent on other, less important things. In particular, I recall President Carter’s spelling out the importance of X and how it will impact the economy moving forward. I took this lesson forward and did X in my life.”

    3. It would help if you could explicate the importance of viewing the event live, rather than waiting a couple days until the teacher can review it and develop a set of points to discuss in class. It would help if you could support your argument with research studies. I wish I could help you with citations to the research studies, as I’ve been a media effects researcher/professor for over two decades, but I don’t know of any studies that have shown live viewing is better than recorded viewing. I checked with a colleague who wasn’t aware of any study suggesting that spontaneous discussion in a classroom is better than organized, pointed discussion based on reflection and with awareness of points specifically tied into the ongoing curriculum.

    4. If you could, it would be very helpful to articulate your experience as a classroom teacher, particularly at the elementary level. After all, you don’t want teachers believing that they can just walk into a radio station and start making decisions about what the DJ’s can put on the air!

    These tips should help you as this story goes national and you are invited to discuss it on air.

    I hope that helps and good luck with your story.

    John Sherry

  27. Wayne Espinoza

    You are wrong! It is not your place as an educator to push your views upon students! On the contrary you should allow them to view opposite opinions so they can make more informed decisions. If my children were in your class I would keep them home to watch it and explore the possibility of the removal from your class!

  28. Linda Canup

    I totally agree with this teacher. Trump is a disgrace. He makes fun of people with disabilities. He wants to grab women by the “pussy” because he is a celebrity. He wants to deport Muslims, Mexicans, etc. This teacher doesn’t want to dumb down her students which is exactly what Trump will do in his speech. I don’t know why I have to explain this. Trump has been doing this for many months.

  29. bradincanada

    What a joke … was this idiot concerned about Obama including his racism against white people, and his hatred for Police and of the Military within his speech? Now that had a chance of existing should Obama have been honest and truthful. No way this moron should be employed at the expense of taxpayers! Another useless snowflake.

  30. Pingback: Inauguration? Yes. Trump’s speech? No, teacher tells parents

  31. Lorilynn

    He is exactly what is wrong with our country. Stop shielding our kids from what “you think” is bad. They need to learn that although we voted for who we thought was the best candidate more people thought the other candidate would do a better job, which is why he received more votes. His personal beliefs should take back seat. It is embarrassing how some of the democratic party are acting. If I had a child in his class I would ask that they be removed. Like it or not Mr. Trump will be the 45th president and acting like a fool will do nothing to change this. The only thing it is doing is costing the taxpayers more money for security and police to be present because of terroristic threats. I’ll be recording this so my kids can watch when they get home from school.

  32. Pingback: Inauguration? Yes. Trump’s speech? No, teacher tells parents | ADC Voice

  33. Doc

    Keep your children home to watch the inauguration and President Trump’s inaugural address. Than contact President Trump. Explain why and ask him to grant your child a presidential pardon for missing the day of school so they could watch his inaugural address. Make sure you only send the school a copy of the pardon. The original may help pay for your child’s college education.

  34. Pingback: Inauguration? Yes. Trump's speech? No, teacher tells parents | USA Elections Results

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  37. Pingback: Worried about what Trump might say, Michigan teacher won’t let fourth-graders watch inaugural address – Washington Post | Hillary or Trump in 2016

  38. T.M.

    It is not his place, nor any teachers place, to dictate what history to watch or not watch. That is censorship, plain and simple. I do not like the man, nor did I like Obama, but they are our President: Duly elected in a republic democratic vote. We all must honor that-even though we may not like it. Remember, America: If Mr Trump does well, we all do well. If he fails, we all fail.

  39. Kimberly O'Brien

    I think that it’s a shame that adults are relying on the media to air a grievance instead of trying to resolve the conflict directly with the individual. I think that our community has been divided by this election and posts like this and the corresponding article in the Lansing State Journal are only fanning the flames of this divide. I think that most teachers are not showing anything about the inauguration to their students, in part because of the division within our community, and there is no mention or criticism of their choice. I think that Mr. Meteyer has demonstrated an openness with his students and families about the inauguration that I admire which offers the opportunity for some productive dialogue about differences in opinion. I think that a parent has the responsibility to be involved in his or her child’s education and if he or she feels that the child should see the President’s inauguration speech it can easily be viewed at home. There could be a discussion about how people feel differently about Donald Trump’s presidency and why Mr. Meteyer may not have included his speech at school. I think that people should use their time and energy toward understanding and unity instead of finger pointing and attacking. I think that being a teacher is an incredibly challenging job and all teachers, including Mr. Meteyer, deserve more respect than having personal attacks sent out into the media. Finally, I think that your sense of entitlement to determine how Mr. Meteyer runs his classroom as a Williamston graduate, taxpayer and parent of students in other classrooms is false. My hope for our community is that we will find a way to understand one another in a more productive way in the future.

  40. Craig Hunter

    Mr. Meteyer-(Is That GERMAN) has a lot more work to do with his HUGE BLACK MARKER editing all the school library books to his own personal liking!!!
    SEIG HEIL!

  41. Shawna B

    Ok, having worked for a school and knowing that there is a policy about showing only G rated movies, etc to the kids, I understand his wish to protect the kids from President Trumps mouth. Which we all know can get pretty wild. But all he had to do was record it and play it slightly delayed. If he was keeping track though, Mr. Trump started out his campaign with the kind of talk that this teacher was worried about. As time went on and the election got closer, Mr. Trump’s language and demeanor changed. He became more Presidential, less rebellious. I, personally had no worry that his speech would be anything but Presidential and Professional. To completely take away such a historic event from children is wrong. It was easily solved. watch it, then show it.

  42. Pingback: Worried about what Trump might say, Michigan teacher won’t let fourth-graders watch inaugural address – 247 News Online

  43. Pingback: Teaching in the Trump Years (Part 3) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

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