A controversial book and video on global warming has lit a fire in Nebraska’s 3rd largest school district. The dispute involves one of the state’s highest ranking federal officials and his 12-year-old son.
Nebraska Watchdog has learned that Millard Public Schools (MPS) is the target of complaints and concern from parents, including Congressman Lee Terry (NE-R) and his wife Robyn, regarding the book “The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming.” In a statement sent exclusively to Nebraska Watchdog, Mrs. Terry writes that global warming is “highly debatable as to whether it is fact, theory or down right fiction.”
According to Millard spokesperson Amy Friedman the district “has received 3 requests to remove the book…and a video on Global Warming hosted by Leonardo DiCaprio.” One of the book’s authors is Laurie David, the producer of the Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, a film based on former Vice President Al Gore’s research regarding the politically charged subject.
On her Facebook page Robyn Terry, who did not file a formal complaint, writes, “The book is a deplorable piece of propaganda aimed at children…” The Terry’s son is a student at Beadle Middle School.
Friedman tells Nebraska Watchdog that all Millard middle schools have the book and film but she indicates in a statement that their use is not mandatory. According to Friedman, “These resources are two of many from which middle school teachers and students can choose to use during reading class.”
But according to Robyn Terry “…children do not have a choice as to whether they want to read this book or a different one.”
Another Millard parent, Matt Butler, also finds the school district’s explanation lacking. Butler says he is “shocked at the level of blatant political manipulation being put on one of my kids.” Butler, who contends that global warming is “junk science”, points to a page in the book where the reader is urged to “Become a Global Warming Activist” and another page which states, “We can vote for leaders who care about your health, air, and environment.”
Because MPS has received formal complaints Friedman says the district’s review policy is already kicking in. According to Friedman a committee at the middle school level, comprised of parents, teachers and administrators will thoroughly examine the book and video. Friedman says the review will take at least 30 days and when it’s completed those who filed complaints will be notified of the committee’s decision.
Congressman Terry’s wife says her son is no longer reading the book because she signed a form removing it from his non-fiction lesson plan. She wonders how many parents (in a district where most of the registered voters are conservative Republicans) know about the book.
Robyn Terry tells Nebraska Watchdog that “Lee and I have discussed this at great length” and they want the book removed from the classroom and placed in the library where it can be checked out and read at home with the parents supervision. Mrs. Terry adds the school district should, “NEVER show this video to students again.”
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Editor’s note: click here to see the DiCaprio video
Reported by Joe Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org