Students Protest After Teacher Suspended for Bush-Hitler Comments

ByABC News via logo

March 2, 2006 — -- A Colorado school is in upheaval following the suspension of a teacher who was recorded comparing President Bush's rhetoric to that of Adolf Hitler.

More than 100 students at Overland High School in Aurora, Colo., walked out of class this morning to protest the decision to put geography teacher Jay Bennish on administrative leave.

The school administration made the move after a student went public with a 20-minute recording of Bennish's comments to his class.

In the tape, the teacher is heard saying there were similarities between remarks Bush made in his State of the Union address and "things that Adolf Hitler used to say."

Superintendent Monte Moses told ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV that policy calls for both sides of an issue to be presented to students. He said Bennish'spresentation appeared unbalanced.

The recording was made by 16-year-old sophomore Sean Allen the day after the president's speech. Allen said he had been disturbedby "political rants" he heard in Bennish's class.

"So these kids are going to have notes on why George Bush is related to Hitler and why the state of Israel was founded on violence and terrorism," Allen told KHOW Radio Wednesday when he went public with his tape.

"These kids are going to have notes on this and accept that as fact."

On the tape, Bennish, who has taught in the Colorado district for five years, is heard quoting part of the State of the Union address: "It is our duty as Americans to use the military to go out in the world and make the world like us." Bennish continues: "Sounds a lot like what Adolph Hilter used to say."

"We do want teachers to express their opinions, but to put that in context and to provide opposing points of view," Moses said. "All discussion must be fair and balanced."

"[The suspension] is not a disciplinary action. It is to give us enough time to sit down and gather all the facts," said Moses.

Tustin Amole, a Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman, told KMGH that an investigation of the incident would take about a week.

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