A Craig High School teacher who showed a video with a leftist view of labor unions must now submit her lesson plans to her principal in advance.
The change was mentioned in a letter sent Friday to the parents of students in the class.
As The Gazette reported Tuesday, the video was an excerpt from an online comedy/news show called “Newsbroke,” hosted by comedian Francesca Fiorentini.
Students in the Marketing II class viewed part of an episode called “Why the Rich Love Destroying Unions.”
The teacher also will be required to teach the class “additional lessons to provide a more balanced view of the topic,” Principal Alison Bjoin wrote to the parents.
Bjoin wrote that the teacher’s use of the video violated school board policy about controversial topics in the classroom.
“The problem with this particular video is that it is heavily biased toward one point of view, and it did not fairly present a whole picture,” Bjoin wrote. “The teacher should have come to discuss this with me before using it in any lesson. For this, we apologize.”
Bjoin learned about the video from The Gazette on Sept. 27 after a parent contacted the newspaper to complain about the lesson.
“We believe this was an isolated incident and are following established district disciplinary policies and procedures concerning this matter,” Bjoin wrote to the parents. “We believe that Craig High School provides a learning environment that helps students grow as young adults and to develop their own thoughts, perspectives, and opinions, so that they can contribute positively to society.”
District spokesman Patrick Gasper said Friday he is not permitted to discuss disciplinary actions.
Gasper said the teacher declined an offer from The Gazette to discuss the incident last week.
Principal review of lesson plans is not a regular practice and most often happens with new teachers, but reviewing lesson plans does fall under a principal’s role as the school’s instructional leader, Gasper said.
“We want our students to become critical thinkers—individuals that can see opposing points of view, evidence, information, and be able to come to their own conclusions,” Bjoin wrote. “A lesson on the pros and cons of unions does not automatically fall into a category of a controversial topic; however, if not presented in a way that allows a fair discussion of all points of view, then it becomes controversial.”
The Janesville School Board has scheduled a closed session for its meeting Tuesday “to consider a personnel issue regarding a district employee.”
The Gazette could not determine whether the controversial video is the closed meeting’s topic.