There is a growing concern that public school students are being indoctrinated rather than taught to think independently. This concern is well founded in Collier County, Florida. The controversial film Zeitgeist: Moving Forward by Peter Joseph was shown to public school students during a World History course taught by Mr. Mike Cassio and other teachers in the Collier County Public Schools with the support of District staff.
According to Wikipedia:
Zeitgeist: The Movie is a 2007 film by Peter Joseph presenting a number of conspiracy theories. Zeitgeist blends skepticism, metaphysical spirituality, and conspiracy ideas.
The film disputes the historicity of Jesus (the Christ myth theory) and claims that the September 11th attacks in 2001 were pre-arranged by New World Order forces, and claims that bankers manipulate world events.
In Zeitgeist, it is claimed that the Federal Reserve was behind several wars and manipulates the American public for a One World Government or “New World Order”. The Zeitgeist film, according to writer Paul Constant, is “based solely on anecdotal evidence, it’s probably drawing more people into the Truth movement than anything else.”
A copy of emails from Collier County district officials and teachers shows that Zeitgeist was shown to students. Wendy Hodgson, the Coordinator of Social Studies and Character Education for Collier District Schools, states in a September 15, 2013 email to Tamera Hampton:
I wanted you to know that I watched this video [Zeitgeist] and found it well developed, calm, balanced, and historically accurate. As educators, part of our responsibility is to allow students a safe environment to consider alternate view points from the norm and I do know you intended for this outcome through the choice of an excerpt from Zeitgeist.
[ … ]
I spend too much time pacifying a political group in town who gets their news from Glenn Beck and his concerns about a book in Florida that has a “Whole Chapter on Islam.”
Here is the full film Zeitgeist which was shown to Florida public school students:
Doug Lewis, the parent of a student in Collier County School District wrote in an email:
The District has falsely denied that the documentary Zeitgeist was shown to students in the District.
It is beyond dispute that this documentary is factually inaccurate and controversial. Also, it clearly violates Policy Policy 2240 , which policy provides (in part) as follows: The School Board will permit the introduction and proper educational use of controversial issues provided that their use in the instructional program: A. is related to the instructional goals of the course of study and level of maturity of the students; B. does not tend to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view; C. encourages open-mindedness and is conducted in a spirit of scholarly inquiry.
Lewis notes, “As a parent of Collier County public school children, I have zero assurance that the District will not (going forward) prohibit this kind of factually inaccurate and controversial material in the classroom without prior parent notice and consent, with the student opportunity to opt out. Irrespective of whether an individual parent leans to the left or the right, all parents can unite and find concern with a District that fails to acknowledge the simple and easily verifiable fact that this video was shown, a District that fails to enforce and comply its current policy 2240, and a District that fails to communicate to the parent reporting the problem of action being taken to fix the reported problem.”