Education

Fairfax County Public Schools Teacher Assigned 7th Graders Book On Illegal Immigration

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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An English teacher at a northern Virginia middle school assigned seventh graders a book that depicts a teen illegally crossing the southern U.S. border, according to communications obtained by the Daily Caller.

Michael Erickson, whose child is enrolled in Fairfax County Public Schools, told the Daily Caller that a Katherine Johns Middle School teacher assigned his daughter’s class the book “Crossing the Wire,” by Will Hobbs. The book depicts a teenage boy as “he makes the dangerous journey across the Mexican border into the United States,” the book description reads.

Erickson told Principal Tammara Silipigni and assistant principal Michele Johnson that he objected to the “politically insensitive” book being taught to “impressionable” seventh graders. The duo referred Erickson to a book “reconsideration” form, wherein he could briefly express his concerns. He told the Daily Caller that the process is inadequate and “cumbersome.”

“You fail to inform parents about which specific books your teachers will use and then you seem to have purposefully created a process for parents objecting to instructional materials that is so difficult and cumbersome that most parents will be cowed into submission and reluctant to follow through with the process,” Erickson said in an email to Johnson.

In the reconsideration process form, Erickson stated that he wants the book removed from all Fairfax County Public School libraries. He insisted that the teacher was “leveraging domestic national political” issues and “indoctrinating” her students.

Screenshot/Fairfax County Public Schools Form

Screenshot/Fairfax County Public Schools Form

Erickson claims that the school initially offered him an opportunity to “ostracize” his daughter by pulling her from the classroom and conducting an independent study during her English class period. He concluded that it “wasn’t the best solution.”

The school has since paused instruction on the book and is exploring other options, according to communications obtained by the Daily Caller. (RELATED: Fairfax County Public Schools Proposes Contract For ‘Social Media Management Services’ To Monitor ‘Harassment, Hate Speech’)

Erickson said he worried about his child discussing sensitive topics like illegal migration. He feared that his daughter may make a comment that is not considered “equitable,” according to the district’s definition. The district crafted policies that could punish students for failing to foster an “equitable” environment.

Fairfax County Public Schools did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.