Teacher draws criticism for politically-charged messages in the classroom

"Home is where the values are taught not the public school system.”

An Andover High School teacher faced criticism for displaying signs in her classroom that include pro-feminist, pro-Black Lives Matter and anti-Christian statements.

The messages are displayed in the classroom of Andover teacher Jessica Askew, according to images provided to Alpha News by a student’s parent who’s concerned about politics in school.

“Public schools seem to have room for everything but God. They seem to honor everything except Christianity,” said the parent, who asked to remain anonymous.

“A neutral environment is needed to make all students feel comfortable; the school has a lot more signs to start hanging in order for that to happen, or better yet they need to all be removed so that no religious or political views are pushed on our children. Home is where the values are taught, not the public school system,” the parent added.

One of the posters, referencing an alleged quote from Mahatma Gandhi, states: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.”

The banner was taken down after the school’s principal received a message from the concerned parent, who asked the principal to consider what would happen if the sign said, “I do not like your Muslims.”

A Black Lives Matter sign is also on display in the room, along with a “fight racism” sign and a banner declaring that “we were all immigrants once.”

“It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber,” reads one of the quotes on the wall.

“Well-behaved women seldom make history,” says another, touting a popular feminist slogan. “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people,” a third sign states.

Askew, however, defended the signs, saying her classroom “has been a marketplace of ideas” for her 19 years as a teacher.

“Since I teach both history and politics, current topics as well as historical facts have always been part of the vibrant and robust classroom environment. There are no derogatory or exclusionary messages in either the curriculum or in my classroom, only timely or historic quotes, slogans, and ideas,” said Askew.

“All points of view are welcome, with the exception of hateful or discriminatory rhetoric. In the public school classroom, we are a microcosm of the greater society, and in order for all students to feel connected, it is important that they see themselves in the curriculum and as a part of the institution,” she added.

The concerned parent said she thinks it is “unprofessional and distracting” for a teacher to promote their political views in what is supposed to be a “socially neutral public setting.”

Update: This article previously stated that a poster of the recently-deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was outside of Askew’s classroom. In fact, the image is on the door of a student achievement advisor’s office, along with multiple pictures of the late Congressman John Lewis and another Black Lives Matter sign, according to pictures sent to Alpha News.

“RBG is on the wall and she was radically in favor of abortion. There should be a pro-life advocate too,” said the concerned parent. “Get the political narrative out. It feeds division and points fingers.”

Judah Torgerud

Judah Torgerud is a freelance journalist working with Alpha News to keep the people informed and bring the truth to light. Contact him at whqnu@nycunarjfza.pbz.