“Prompting Pupils to Parrot the Party Line”
By William Mattox, JMI Resident Fellow
Using public records law, JMI staff obtained copies of student phone messages, letters, and e-mails to Florida elected officials about S.B. 6. Curiously, many student calls were made during school hours and followed a familiar script. In some, the voice of an adult “prompter” could be heard in the background when students struggled to remember their “lines.”Similarly, a political science instructor at East Ridge High School in Clermont sent a packet of nearly 100 letters that his students wrote to the Senate President as a class assignment. The teacher claimed he presented the bill with “a neutral connotation” – and expressed “total amazement” when all of his students opposed S.B. 6. Yet, included in the packet – no doubt by accident – was the teacher’s actual assignment, which included “talking points” against S.B. 6 that had been copied from a memo (also enclosed) written from teachers unions’ perspective. No arguments in support of S.B. 6 were included with the assignment.Not surprisingly, the students’ letters echo arguments found in the “talking points” memo – sometimes word-for-word. To review these letters and the teacher’s assignment, view the attached “SB6 Student Assignment” document.