A fourth-grade social studies teacher in Pennsylvania named Katherine McGuire is on paid leave after discussing abortion with her students.
According to the story, McGuire discussed abortion and asked her students to vote if they'd would choose abortion or adoption. She then told her students she was against abortion.
Some parents are threatening legal action against McGuire.
According to the account given by the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Ms. McGuire wasn't the one who brought the subject up but she described an abortion procedure and noted that a baby was killed during the procedure.
We can only guess at the cricumstances of this discussion. My guess is that Ms. McGuire was teaching her young students about elections and government and maybe certain issues that people vote on when one of her students (probably a student with prolife parents) mentions abortion. Other students may have quickly asked, "What's abortion?" At that point, what's a teacher to do? Do you discuss abortion and the political controversy surrounding it with fourth graders or do you try to avoid the subject?
I've actually discussed this type of situation with someone I know who has a child of similar age. The child's mother is strongly prolife and because of her involvement with various prolife events has taught her daughter some things about abortion. During the 2004 election, the young students at the daughter's school were asked to take part in a mock election between Kerry and Bush (this is where I think the cause of the problem lies) and the daughter was asked by her friends or the teacher (I can't remember) why she was voting for President Bush. The daughter said she's voting for Bush because he's against abortion and then went on to describe her understanding of abortion. This, of course, caused some stirring and eventually the teacher requested that the daughter not talk about abortion in class. The teacher later mentioned this incident to the mother and requested the mother talk to her daughter about not talking about abortion in class.
Any thoughts on how parents and teachers should handle this type of situation?