SARATOGA SPRINGS – After discovering what they saw as a questionably one-sided graphic in their childrens’ schoolwork, a local group of conservative-minded women decided to take action, and soon found themselves in the national spotlight on the popular morning news and talk program, “Fox & Friends.”
“Saratoga Conservative Chicks” is a Facebook group that launched early on March 22, but prior to that, its members had been chatting daily through social media and sharing information since early last year.
“The group has grown exponentially in the past 6 months,” said Amy, a member of the group who wished to be referred to only by her first name for the sake of her family. “We chat daily through social media, etc., and last week a concerned parent brought to our attention the assignment by a classroom teacher at Saratoga High School.”
The graphic in question was from a power-point discussion in a 10th grade class at Saratoga Springs High School on the topic of the rise of fascism during World War II. Within the power-point, cartoons depicting President Donald Trump with facial hair similar to Adolf Hitler, as well as comparing the President’s appearance to Benito Mussolini, were used to link the topic of the lesson with current events. Once the concerned parent showed them the cartoons, the group mutually agreed that the content was “one sided and inappropriate.”
“The particular power point in question here was about WWII,” said another group member who wished to remain unnamed for the sake of her children. “Trump was not president then and has no relevancy to that war. I would be equally upset finding a cartoon like that of Obama, or Bush, or Clinton inserted into this lesson in this manner. It is clearly biased, clearly pushing an agenda. The power point and the fascism debate handout support the lack of balance in this lesson. That is what is at the crux of this group and how we formed.”
At an earlier point, the graphic and its accompanying lesson were available online through the teacher’s website, for the sake of student reference. However, as of March 22, the site has been closed-off from public viewing.
Following this, a member of the group got in touch with conservative columnist and commentator Todd Starnes with the information. Starnes, a frequent “Fox & Friends” contributor, conducted his own research on the issue for a column on his website. According to Amy, Starnes’s involvement with is what led to their group’s spot on “Fox & Friends,” as the interview process “escalated quickly” after he began looking into the issue. Starnes also states in his column that the lesson became blocked once he started asking questions about it.
“We are very proud of the two women who represented us on Fox News,” Amy said. “They did a great job in a short amount of time.”
As of 11 a.m. the day after their interview, their segment had received 144,000 views on the “Fox & Friends” Facebook page.
Amy said that the group’s hope moving forward is to encourage members of the local community to join them in debate and discussion of these issues.
“Especially young girls,” Amy said.
In an official statement, the Saratoga Springs City School District (SSCSD) said that after an investigation into the lesson, they found that it did not violates the district’s rules about keeping classroom activities non-partisan, as the images were used to visually display the idea of potential media bias. Further, the school found that the lesson was used to teach students to debate and research fascism on their own terms.
“We continue to reinforce the District’s policy which states that employees will in no way impair the non-partisan position of the schools,” said Michael Piccirillo, superintendent of schools for SSCSD.
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