GLOUCESTER , MASS. (WHDH) - A debate turned into a classroom clash after a Gloucester middle schooler voiced his support for President Trump following the first presidential debate.
Jackson Cody, 12, said he wants something constructive to come out of that uncomfortable situation when he says his teacher criticized his political views and his classmates ganged up on him.
The O’Maley Middle School seventh-grader said it all happened when he and his class were talking about what happened on the debate stage between Joe Biden and Donald Trump last month.
“The teacher asked, ‘Who supports Donald Trump,’ Jackson said. “And I was the only one to raise my hand.”
He said he was shocked by what his teacher said next.
“Well Mr. Jackson, I thought I liked you,” Jackson recalled his teacher saying. “Then she asked why I support a racist and a pedophile.”
“She also said, ‘I am ashamed of any woman who voted for Donald Trump,’ and I told her my mom and one of my grandmothers voted for Donald Trump,” the boy said.
The interaction did not end there.
“I was just upset because other kids in the class were ganging up on me, laughing at me, and she was laughing and wouldn’t say anything to them,” Jackson said.
Gloucester’s Superintendent Ben Lummis said he felt disappointed when he first heard of the situation.
In a statement, he wrote:
“We always want our students and staff to feel safe – and that their point of view is understood and respected. Every day in our schools – we strive for tolerance, understanding,
different perspectives and being civil.”
All things Jackson’s father Jay wants for his children.
“Certain topics, politics, religion, even sports nowadays, can sometimes be discussed and can very much make kids feel uncomfortable,” he said. “You would hope teachers could recognize that and take advantage of it the opposite way.”
In an effort to address the situation, Cody had a first amendment attorney sit down and speak to his son.
Jackson said the teacher later apologized to him in front of the entire class and he said that helped.
Now, he said he hopes this can be a teaching moment not only for schools in his town and state, but across the country.
“I just hope that the school districts around the country have the proper training to not talk about sensitive subjects like religion and politics,” he said. “If they are going to talk about it, stand in the middle and hear from both sides.”
Lummis said that his staff will be undergoing training next week to learn how to address contraversial topics with their students.
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