Good to discuss class material

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A furor started from a blog post earlier this week questioning the use of a classroom lesson that one man believed was providing students at Guyer High School with incorrect information.

Like a wildfire, the issue of a shortened version of the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights prompted angry discourse.

Denton school officials say that while the guide is used in a junior-level course to help students study for the Advanced Placement U.S. history exam, it’s not the district’s official high school textbook.

Sean Getts, father of a junior at Guyer High School, said he was in disbelief about an entry his daughter recently found in a book she was using for her AP U.S. history class titled United States History — Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination.

According to Page 102 of the book as shown in a photograph taken by Getts, the summary of the Second Amendment reads as such: “The people have the right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.”

The actual Second Amendment as printed in the Bill of Rights states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

Getts said that when he read the school book entry, he interpreted it as the right to bear arms was restricted to a state militia and that he only had the right in a state militia.

He took a photo of the page in the book and posted it to his Facebook page Sunday with the statement, “From my daughter’s AP United States History book. Looks like I’ll be educating the school system.”

Within days, the Facebook post went viral and was being mentioned in blog posts across the Web and on cable and local TV networks.

According to Denton school officials, the book is used as supplemental material to the course textbook, American Pageant.

In recent days, officials with the Denton school district fielded phone calls and e-mails at Guyer High and various departments throughout the district — mostly from individuals with gun groups. The number of calls and messages was unavailable.

Cox said Wednesday the supplement instruction aid has been used the last eight to 10 years by high school juniors taking AP U.S. history. The supplemental aid is available at all three traditional high schools in the district, she said.

History teachers are disseminating the correct information on the Second Amendment and that the amendments are not taught from the supplement instruction aid, she said.

Kimberly Williams, parent to a Guyer High senior, said she was initially upset upon reading reports about the supplemental instruction aid at the school.

She said it wasn’t until her daughter, who took AP U.S. history last year, explained to her that inaccuracies in the guide were being pointed out to students as a lesson that people can’t believe everything they read and that they must research for themselves.

Students pay for the supplemental guides, not the school, and old copies are handed down to students who can’t afford a copy, Williams said.

The publisher of the supplemental guide plans to reprint the booklet with the full version of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights.

Some parents are saying they plan to approach school officials at an upcoming board meeting to ask trustees to not include the supplement as a teaching aid in its current state.

With the issue of gun control at the forefront of a national spotlight following mass shootings and living in the state of Texas where the right to bear arms is considered an important right, we agree the conversations should take place.

And, in these conversations, students, parents and school officials can be better informed of processes and provide input in what they feel is appropriate for students.

These types of discourse are healthy.

But one caution we advise to everyone is to listen and not rush to judgment without hearing all sides to the story first.


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