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Teacher who accused Jewish parent of being a neo-nazi keeps her job

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A teacher from the East Pennsboro Area School District in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania who called a Jewish parent a "neo-nazi" is allowed to keep her job.

Last month, the Examiner broke the story of teacher Cydnee Cohen, who never met or spoke with Josh Barry, a concerned parent who dared to complain about a politically charged assignment in his eighth grade daughter's American History class.

After Barry spoke to the principal, Stephen Andrejack, Cydnee Cohen contacted a mutual friend on Facebook and said that she believed Barry may be a "neo-nazi." When Josh's friend pushed back, saying that he is the "furthest thing" from a neo-nazi, as he is Jewish, Cohen responded, "he is tea party right wing!"

It is unclear how Cohen knew about Josh Barry's complaint in the first place.

Barry, who is Jewish and is married to a woman who is half-black, was outraged.

It has been speculated, as reported at Media Trackers, that Cohen, president of the teacher's union, the East Pennsboro Education Association (EPEA), spoke with the Principal's wife, who happens to be the vice president of the EPEA.

The Examiner spoke with Josh Barry, who met with officials at the school Tuesday to discuss the politically-charged assignment. He said that there was a "recurring" theme from the attendees that there was no ill intent in the assignment, which included a New York Times article blaming Republicans for the government shutdown, along with a worksheet - but Barry said that it is the outcome that matters.

He would like to work with the school to ensure that assignments are balanced.

Mr. Barry said that during the meeting, he suggested that a group of parents come together as a resource for teachers. He is planning to email the school board, asking for support in "forming a group of parents, who would come up with a plan to come up with a way to bring balance to the classroom." If successful, perhaps Barry's idea could serve as a model for other schools.

He said,

"I don't want to silence anything, I just want all sides to be represented."

Barry said that he "felt somewhat marginalized" at the meeting; that the overall view was surprise that the controversy was "taken to this level." He said that he got the sense that the participants, who included the Superintendent, the American History teacher, and the Principal, were perplexed at the notion that a political bias was in the classroom.

As far as Cyndee Cohen, Barry asked about what disciplinary actions, if any, were taken as a result of the revelation that she referred to him as a "neo-nazi." He was told that the school "conducted their investigation" and "took action, but did not say what it was." Cohen will keep her job.

On a Facebook post, Barry said in part,

"So it is clear that a precedent has been set. Actions such as these are not worthy of losing your job over and if a teacher decides to do this in the future, as Ms Cohen did, not to worry, your job is safe."

Follow Renee Nal on Twitter @ReneeNal and Facebook.

Check out her news and political commentary on Liberty Unyielding, Gather and Tavern Keepers for news you won't find in the mainstream media. Renee is also a guest blogger for the Shire Blog.

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