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scribble. Photo: WOKV Jacksonville scribble. Photo: WOKV Jacksonville  

Florida fourth graders allegedly told to write down desire to give up constitutional rights

A father in Duval County, Florida has alleged that his son’s fourth-grade teacher instructed students to express — in crayon — their desire to trade rights guaranteed in the Constitution for a feeling of added security.

The concerned father, Aaron Harvey, says his son and other kids in his son’s class had to scribble: “I am willing to give up some of my constitution rights in order to be safer or more secure.”

The incident happened at some point during a civics lesson at Cedar Hills Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida, reports First Coast News.

A local attorney had spoken to the class prior to the assignment, explains local radio station WOKV. The purported goal of the overall lesson was to “create an awareness” of constitutional rights and help the fourth graders “determine their opinions on which rights they value most and least.”

“I don’t believe that any American or American child should be asked to write this,” Harvey told First Coast News.

Amy Harvey, the boy’s mother, concurs. She was the one who found the tri-color treatise languishing in her son’s backpack (where it had apparently been sitting for several weeks).

“If I don’t check his backpack, I won’t find things like this,” she told First Coast.

The fuming father noted that his 10-year-old son can’t possibly want to give up the rights he enjoys under the Constitution because he doesn’t fully understand the rights he enjoys in the first place.

“I served in the military. I served to protect my family, my country, and that Constitution and everyone’s freedom,” Harvey added, according to WOKV.

Officials for the Duval County Public Schools can’t seem to keep their story straight. Initially — hilariously — district officials allegedly assured Harvey that his son had undertaken the declaration to give up rights entirely on his own, with no encouragement from his teacher.

Spokeswoman Marsha Oliver has since told WOKV that an investigation is underway.

According to First Coast News, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti has also issued this statement: “The Justice Teaching activity on constitutional rights that was conducted at Cedar Hills Elementary School is consistent with our efforts to broaden civics-based education and develop critical thinking skills among our students. The lesson builds awareness of First Amendment rights through a partnership with an association of local attorneys. Our possible concern rests with a follow-up activity that may have been conducted after the lesson.”

On Friday, Harvey also had a conference call with his son’s teacher (as well as the principal and a counselor). An in-person meeting is scheduled for this coming Friday. A group of parents has been invited to attend.

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