JEFFERSON COUNTY — “What’s up with these punks?”
That’s what Fox News host Gretchen Carlson asked prior to a story on the hundreds Jefferson County high school students who have for the last week been protesting a proposal to review the new Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum that many conservatives feel is unpatriotic.
At times in a segment following the story, in which she offered her take on the protests, Carlson articulately echoed the rallying cry being voiced by many critics of the JeffCo protests.
At other points during her minute-long prepared diatribe, she showed what could be described as a general lack of understanding about the circumstances that led to the protest.
“How can being patriotic or learning about patriotism be a negative?” Carlson asked. “And what does it say about our young people and the teachers joining the protests that patriotism is now a negative?”
The following conclusion to Carlson’s take has also been voiced by many in response to the JeffCo students’ protests:
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for freedom of speech, and the ability to gather and state your claim,” Carlson said. “But quite frankly, if you don’t like it here, and you have a problem with promoting the basic freedoms that men and women have died for protesting for the rest of us and protecting us, then get out.”
However, some of Carlson’s comments in between her introduction and conclusion suggested she might not fully understand the proposal for a review of the AP U.S. history curriculum made by the Jefferson County school board, which sparked the protests in the first place.
“Ironically the new curriculum being proposed is all about promoting individual rights – like protesting,” Carlson said.
That’s true. Or it least it seemed true of the new AP U.S. history curriculum to JeffCo board member Julie Williams. In fact, the idea that the curriculum might promote protesting was part of the reason Williams proposed a committee be assembled to review the potential lesson plans.
In explaining her proposal, Williams even went so far as to say she would champion an amended curriculum in which things like civil disobedience were discouraged.
Carlson continued her take by suggesting the new AP U.S. history curriculum would “also encourage that there be no disregard for the law.”
“Isn’t that why we have laws on the books?” Carlson asked. “Or have we come to the point where breaking the law is now an admirable choice?”
Those questions have also been raised by critics of the JeffCo students’ protests. However, there is nothing in the curriculum that would force teachers to instruct their students to be respectful of the nation’s laws.
That also troubled Williams, who suggested that a respect for the law is a lesson she would like to see added to the AP U.S. history curriculum.
Williams’ proposal is yet to be voted on by the school board. Fellow board member John Newkirk has also said the “most controversial” language in Williams’ initial proposal has been removed from the amended proposal that will likely come up for a vote at the board’s next meeting.