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Flyer plugging Kathleen Gentner for school board rips Palisades teacher

Superintendent Bridget O’Connell defended the instructor, saying the flyer distorted the assignment


A seventh-grade school teacher has become a target in the Palisades school board race.

A campaign flyer paid for by Just Concerned Citizens that arrived in potential voters’ mailboxes over the weekend in Durham, Nockamixon and Riegelsville claims “the extreme radical left is alive and well in Palisades School District.”

And it cites seventh-grade Social Studies teacher Allison Burley’s assignment that references a 16-year-old openly gay Bollywood actor as an example of that.

The political action committee’s letter, which had a Coopersburg mailing address, claims the assignment asked students if they would stay with the inspirational actor on an island or get a plane out of there.

The letter goes on to state that tax dollars “should be used to teach students how to be successful adults, not to discuss very private and personal preferences.”

It also accuses the teacher of fomenting division and conflict among students and families.

In a statement, District Superintendent Bridget O’Connell claimed the group distorted the writing assignment.

“That assignment was designed to prompt a student-led discussion about different kinds of contributions to society through ten fictitious characters representing diverse backgrounds.”

“Our district welcomes parent questions and concerns about any lessons in any of our schools. With the exception of this campaign letter, we did not receive any emails, calls or concerns objecting to the assignment or taking issue over its content. It is unfortunate that the teacher’s name and an excerpt from the lesson were included without context rather than reaching out to the teacher and principal for further discussion,” she continued.

Neither the educator, nor the action committee responded to emails seeking comment.

On social media, a Palisades parent agreed that it was inappropriate to target a teacher but said the question was also inappropriate, and she questioned what the assignment had to do with social studies.

Echoing O’Connell, another parent claimed the assignment had been manipulated to elicit outrage to prop up candidate Kathleen Gentner, a conservative running for school board who is featured prominently in the flyer.

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