Community comes to defense of Haverhill teacher under fire for controversial assignment

HAVERHILL, MASS. (WHDH) - Parents, students, and teachers came to the defense Thursday of a Haverhill High School history teacher who has come under fire for a controversial assignment focused on President Trump.

The homework given to the freshman class was called: “Some People Claim that Donald Trump is a Fascist: Time to Check it Out!”

The assignment asked students to analyze Trump’s comments and actions.

Some offended parents took to Facebook, accusing the teacher of political bias.

But his students disagree.

“I’ve never seen or heard of him trying to impose a personal opinion on any student,” said Angelina Parolisi, a junior at the school.

Another student said: “I feel this assignment was made to be as unbiased as possible and engaged students about the topic of fascism.”

Principal Glenn Burns sent a letter home, saying in part: “It was evident to us that the prompt may have skewed the debate or provided the perception that we were looking for scholars to prove Donald Trump was a fascist. This was not the intention of the assignment and we apologize.”

The head of the Haverhill Education Association says students were meant to draw their own conclusions without influence from the teacher.

“The purpose of the assignment was for students to analyze documents and think critically, that they develop the skills to analyze documents and come up with their own factually based opinions,” said Haverhill Education Associaton President Ted Kempinski.

(Copyright (c) 2019 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)