Josh Barry, the parent of an eighth grader at the East Pennsboro Area School District in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, told the Examiner that an assignment his eldest daughter brought home from school was clear political indoctrination.
After expressing his concerns to the school, a teacher he had never met contacted a mutual friend from Facebook and spoke disparagingly about the dedicated dad.
It all started when Barry, a vigilant parent, reviewed his daughter's paperwork and was shocked to see a highly political assignment citing a New York Times article that blamed the Republicans for the government "shutdown," along with a worksheet that accompanied the article.
The worksheet asked in part,
"Whom do you hold most responsible for the government shutdown?"
"Do you feel it is principled or irresponsible, for politicians to threaten a shutdown?"
"I was immediately disturbed by the slanted view on the topic as well as the amount of information that was left out of the article that was relevant to the discussion."
Mr. Barry contacted his daughter's American History teacher via email, and copied the school board.
He wrote in part,
"It is safe to say I am less than pleased with your non objective approach to education when it pertains to current political discussions in the classroom....Questions on your worksheet are pre-loaded with politically ideology and pre-loaded with incorrect premises."
The American History teacher, Darin Yoder, responded in part,
"...The objective was not to promote any political agenda but to work on non-fiction reading skills. The article we used was a non-fiction article from the New York Times. The no-fiction [sic] skills were apparent in the article and the lesson. We allowed all students to share what they know about the government..."
After this dad responded to Mr. Yoder, the principal, Mr. Andrejack contacted Mr. Barry to schedule an appointment to discuss the situation. The principal said in part to Mr. Barry,
"As a parent myself who raised 4 boys, I take great offense to what you said."
Clearly, the principal was not happy. But at least they were working on a solution.
Enter teacher Cydnee Cohen, who never met or spoke with Mr. Barry, but works at his daughter's school. She is a mutual friend of one of Josh's Facebook friends, and contacted the friend to presumably get information about Mr. Barry.
Ms. Cohen left a voicemail (click on the video to hear the voicemail) that said in part,
"We're having some problems with a parent in our school district and on his page you are one of his friends...but I would like to know, some of it seems like he is a neo-nazi...call me..."
The mutual friend sent a text (see screenshot) to Cohen, saying that Josh is the "furthest thing" from a neo-nazi, as he is Jewish. Cohen responded, "he is tea party right wing!"
Barry told the Examiner that he is perplexed why Cohen would call him a neo nazi, but speculated that with the political atmosphere, many have a kneejerk reaction to those who believe in limited government and fiscal responsibility.
Mr. Barry's speculation is not without merit, as President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and many others have made inaccurate and denigrating comments aimed at the Tea Party.