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Father furious after finding crayon-written message

‘I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights … to be safer’ – the words one fourth-grader copied down after a lesson about the Constitution.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor Apr 12, 2013 5:12PM

A lesson about the Bill of Rights took a strange turn when a Jacksonville, Fla., father found the words, “I am willing to give up some of my constitutional rights in order to be safer or more secure” scrawled in crayon on paper in his fourth-grader’s backpack.

Photo: Father angry over constitutional lesson / Courtesy of The Blaze, theblaze.com Back in January, a local lawyer visited Cedar Hills Elementary, the school Aaron Harvey’s son attends, to teach students about the Constitution, reports TheBlaze.

Now here’s where things get weird. When the attorney left, Harvey says the fourth-grade teacher dictated the sentence and had students write it down. Several of his son’s classmates corroborated this story.

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The paper sat in Harvey’s son’s backpack for months, until it was discovered last week. Harvey took his concerns to TheBlaze, instead of to the school because he wasn’t sure he would have gotten a straightforward answer if he asked the school directly.

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“Everybody has their opinions,” Harvey told TheBlaze. “I am strongly for proper education, for the freedom of thought so you can form your own opinion and have your own free speech in the future … [but] the education is, ‘when was the Constitution drafted, when was it ratified, why did this happen, why did we choose to do this … all these things, why did they particular choose those specific rights to be in our Bill of Rights.’”

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Kandra Albury, a spokeswoman for Duvall County Public Schools, which includes Cedar Hills, told TheBlaze that the district and principal were “checking into” what had happened.

“I believe in our Constitution. I am a veteran, I served for six and a half years proudly and I served to protect our rights,” Harvey told TheBlaze. “Now whenever I have someone coming in and trying to pollute my child’s mind with biased opinions … there’s no education in that.”

Tell us in the comments: What do you think about this incident?

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Photo: Father angry over constitutional lesson / Courtesy of The Blaze, theblaze.com

Aug 12, 2013 8:59PM
it's to the point that if someone or other kids bully my child and the school doesn't step up and enforce the laws against it,unfortunatley for emotional well-being of my child.i would take him out and homeschool.i feel a lot of kids that bully it makes them feel powerfull.so that is why they pick on the ones who are so kindhearted and has compassion for others,today that is called weakness.bullcrap,i think like I said kids that bully feel powerful and as the power is feed it sets in the child NOT A BIT OF EMPATHY for others.i was bullied so bad as a child that as of today it caused me so much emotional stress that I went into depression.its sad that people want to say that it is what it is,and its part of life.that is because we never did nothing about it.what we need to do is start enforcing the bulling laws because since we did nothing to  begin with,it has gotten so bad,that a child ends up killing themselves.and that is horrible.becuase not only does it create sucide it also effects the lives of others after the child took his life and others then have to live with the emotional trama,even the kids who bullied the child to that point.we need to start setting exzamples to our kids and what is accepted and not accepted in school.no matter what the life of the child who is bullied, and not only that start making the parents be held accountable/sorry folks that is how I feel.i think one thing that would help at schools is if we had bullying patrols and if the patrol sees it,the child is written up and sent to the principles office.Not only that the child be bullied should be able to let the patrol know if someone is and the child or group that is doing still be held accountable.i read that in a book called how to bullyproff your child.bullying destroys people.  
Apr 19, 2013 9:37PM
I think I will ask my son how to copy and post.
Apr 19, 2013 9:34PM
next day, he told me that he thought it was no ones business out side his family how he felt about the assignment. I asked him to explain why? I eventually got an answer, but even better I ended up opening a whole new world of It is common knowledge that our education system is failing in part from the lack of participation of the parents. It amazes that so many parents attack our teachers and school administrations but no one offers any answers except to fire people. I had a similar situation with my son having brought home an assignment I thought was questionable. I asked my son what he thought of the assignment and if he thought taking sides. He told me he needed to think it over. The communication /education with my child. Try communicating with your child if you want your child to reflect your values instead of waiting on our ailing education system.
Apr 19, 2013 9:17PM

No different than your grandson coming home and spouting Christian religious ideas and that God is going to be mad at him. Who the heck thinks they have the right to scare a child? We strongly support him being educated about all religions but his school teacher doesn't get to chose. She should be fired too.


Apr 17, 2013 6:45PM
NO one has the rite to force their beliefs and opinions on another human being especially a child. Give them information that is needed to form their own opinions and beliefs but don't shove it down their throats. You have the rite to your own beliefs but keep them to yourselves.
Apr 16, 2013 3:14PM
I can't  help but wonder if this father is jumping to conclusions about the ''meaning'' or intent of the teacher in having the students write this sentence. Was it taken out of the context of a more extensive and complicated assignment, or was it just a statement intended to elicit a response from the children?  Did she then ask them if they agreed or disagreed with the statement?  Did she ask them to write about the importance of the Constitution, and why we should not agree with this statement?  The writing of this sentence alone does not tell us what the teacher was actually ''teaching''.  I resent the statements that this was a ''leftwing'' ANYTHING.  Both of our Politicial Parties in this country respect and honor our Constitution, and we LIVE BY IT.
Apr 15, 2013 8:50PM
Perhaps the instructor was looking for a particular answer: I am not willing to give up any of my rights for any reason.  I was appalled at how many Americans thought it was logical to allow our government to wire tap without a warrant (thank you Bush administration) and said they were willing to let that happen in order to feel safer.  Some of these same people rail against any new gun laws.  It is all about your perspective.  The most important freedom we currently enjoy is freedom of speech.  If you don't have that freedom, you might as well throw away your guns.
Apr 15, 2013 8:41PM

I can recall being taught that we give up some rights in order that other rights are secured, but not our constitutional rights. I have the right to own guns, but I do not have the right to have my own, personal army to defend myself. I surrender part of the money I earn to governments in order to have paved roads, a fire department, etc.

I wonder if this is a teacher who didn't quite master the concept of rights guaranteed by the constitution.

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