Benji Backer
Someone Being Bullied
Male | Appleton, WI   United States
Teachers bully student for political beliefs
Bullying Type: Emotional
Posted By: EverYoung
4/19/13 9:56 AM
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APPLETON — A freshman at Appleton North High School says teachers within the district bullied him for his political beliefs over the past three years and the accusation is stirring up national attention.

Benji Backer, 15, known for his Tea Party speeches and campaigning for Gov. Scott Walker and Mitt Romney, wrote about the “indoctrination” and detailed accounts of harassment by teachers in an essay posted on a conservative website last week.

This week, he’s on a media tour speaking on syndicated conservative radio, and will appear Friday on the Fox News cable show “America Live with Megyn Kelly.”

“Talking about politics in any shape or form in a biased way is unacceptable in any school setting,” Backer told Post-Crescent Media on Thursday. “If they’re going to talk about politics, it should be in government class and it should be moderate. There should be no tolerance for discussions that lean left or right.”

Backer said teachers took notice of his appearances in Post-Crescent Media reports and other media outlets spotlighting his activism, and chided him for supporting Walker in the wake of his budget that removed stripped collective bargaining powers for most public workers.

Backer said he took his complaints directly to the teachers involved, then to the principals, and recently has met with a school board member and assistant superintendent.

Ben Vogel, assistant superintendent for the Appleton Area School District, told Post-Crescent Media the district resolved an issue of a teacher who “crossed the line” with politics in November. He said the high school’s administrators followed up immediately with Backer’s family and no further incidents have been reported since then.

“In March, the student again came forward with a statement he wrote for media release and our administration met with the family on two separate occasions,” Vogel said. “We have 1,600 employees in our district and a range of political perspectives are present. To characterize our educators as individuals seeking to ‘indoctrinate’ students with a particular political perspective is not accurate.”

Vogel said the district will re-examine Backer’s newest claims. He also said the district has a detailed policy about political speech in the classroom.

That policy, updated in the wake of the protests in Madison in 2011, points out that material taught must be “directed toward maintaining a balance representing various views.”

Likewise, during instructional times, teachers must, “present a balanced review of the candidates’ major political platforms as to afford students the opportunity to do their own thinking and decision making.”

In his essay, Backer said an English teacher berated him about Walker to the point he took his complaints to a principal. Throughout the post, Backer chose not to identify anyone by name in the district.

“It’s not about the individual teacher because the point is this happens all over the country,” Backer said. “I would feel satisfied when teachers get their consequences, but I wouldn’t want anyone to get fired over this. I also think the school board should address it and start up a new rule or change something to enforce the one they have.”

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Posted By: HamletsCousinHerald | 4/19/13 12:28 PM
Political speech and personal view and opinions in the classroom are protected under free speech!
Just trying to bully because he's so young
Story Details

Name: Benji Backer
Age: 22
Country: United States
Location: Appleton, WI
Gender: Male
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Maiden Name: N/A
Relationship Status: N/A
Profession: Other
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