ENOLA, Pa. – A Jewish Pennsylvania parent who was accused by a local teachers union president of being a neo-Nazi took the issue up with the school board this week, and demanded the teacher’s termination.
Josh Barry recently raised concerns about an assignment given to his daughter at East Pennsboro Area Middle School about the government shutdown because the lesson contained a very obvious liberal political slant.
The eighth-grade classroom assignment used an article from the New York Times that solely blamed Republicans for the shutdown and prompted students to answer leading questions. Barry emailed his daughter’s teacher about the assignment as well as the school board, according to news reports.
That’s when middle school teacher and local union boss Cydnee Cohen decided to inject herself in the situation. Cohen discovered she had a mutual friend of Barry on Facebook. She then called and left a voice message for the friend in an effort to dig up some background on Barry, and express her opinions about his concerns.
“We are having a problem 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’s a neo-Nazi … call me … and let me know about Josh,” Cohen said in the message, which was passed to Barry and eventually posted to YouTube.
“I’m calling for no less than acceptance of her resignation or termination of her employment as a teacher. Anything less is condoning her actions,” Barry said, according to PennLive.com.
“There is something that must be clearly illustrated here,” he said. “This was an attempt by a teacher inside the school district and union president to stop me and smear my name simply because I questioned the bias of a school assignment.”
In a prepared statement, the district contends Cohen’s “actions are not supported or sanctioned by the administration and school board of East Pennsboro Area School District.”
“The district is looking into this situation and will take appropriate action,” the statement read.
School leaders and the eighth-grade teacher who assigned the lesson have offered to meet with Barry to discuss the questionable classroom material. Cohen also apologized to Barry, according to PennLive.com.