About 150 high school students walked out of class to protest a decision to put a teacher on leave while they investigate remarks he made about President Bush in class, including that some people compare Bush to Adolf Hitler.
The protest came Thursday as administrators began investigating whether Overland High School teacher Jay Bennish violated a policy requiring balancing viewpoints in the classroom, Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole said.
“It was peaceful. The students yelled, but there was no fighting,” Amole said. “Most of them did return to class.”
A telephone number listed for Bennish, who has been teaching social studies and American history at Overland since 2000, had been disconnected.
Sophomore Sean Allen recorded about 20 minutes of Bennish’s class during a Feb. 1 discussion about Bush’s State of the Union speech and gave the recording to his father, who complained to the principal, Amole said.
“After listening to the tape, it’s evident the comments in the class were inappropriate. There were not adequate opportunities for opposing points of view,” she said.
Deborah Fallin, spokeswoman for the Colorado Education Association, which represents about 37,000 union teachers, said it will not represent Bennish because he is not a member, but said that Bennish has hired an attorney.