This morning, a link popped up in my social media feeds about Guyer High School in Texas using a new AP US history textbook to “re-write the 2nd Amendment.” Here’s a link to the story in the Liberty Crier (which is a thing, apparently):
Textbook version: “The people have a right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.”
Actual 2nd Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Now, the implications are troubling to say the least, because if that’s an accurate representation of what’s in the textbook, then it obviously shouldn’t be used in any schools. Not because of potential political bias, but because that’s not what the 2nd Amendment says. It’s exactly the same as teaching a student that 2+2=5, because it’s quite simply wrong.
There is a problem, however. Namely, the sources for the article are…questionable in the best case. The Liberty Crier which we’ve linked to simply links back to the equally unsourced “Daily Paul” website, which you can probably guess the political orientation from the title. I’m not saying that it’s not true, but until it’s verified by a more credible website, we’ll withhold calls for action until then. To that end, I’ve contacted the Guyer High School administration, who at this time have not yet returned my emails. I’ll update this post through the day if I uncover more information on this as of yet unverified story.
Again, it’s important to not jump to conclusions. The websites that this story originally appeared on are about as credible as infowars (and share a similar readership) so before we saddle up the torches and frankenstein rakes, let’s make sure this is actually happening first.
Update 11:08 AM Central Time
Guyer High School’s Director of Communications, Sarah Cox responded to our request for information with the following email:
Thank you for your interest in our textbook.
The teachers and staff are aware of this “summary statement” in the U.S. History book for Advanced Placement history classes. It is what it states above the listing of the amendments – that it is a summary statement. Please be assured that the teachers in Denton ISD are disseminating the correct information on the Second Amendment.
So here are the facts that we have: Guyer High School in Texas is using a textbook which drastically misstates the purpose and summary of the 2nd Amendment. According to their Director of Communications, teachers are aware of the summary statement, and are teaching the “correct” information on the Second Amendment.
At this juncture, we’d encourage parents of children enrolled in Guyer to contact the school’s administration and ensure that the correct text and meaning of the 2nd Amendment is being taught in school. The statement from the school officials that the “correct” information is being taught isn’t strong enough for me to not worry about it, because it’s entirely possible that their definition of “correct” could differ quite wildly from the Supreme Court’s definition.
Again, if you are a parent of a child enrolled at Guyer, or know someone who is, please make sure that you’re getting in touch with the school’s administration to make sure that they’re teaching the 2nd Amendment as written in the Constitution and clarified by the Supreme Court in the Heller and MacDonald decisions.
Update at 1414 Central Time: The administration at Guyer has provided further clarification on the textbook as used in their class. Here is their clarification:
The main history book utilized in the Advanced Placement U.S. History classes for juniors in Denton ISD is titled: American Pageant. This is a history book that has had a strong reputation for historical facts for many years. The American Pageant, the official textbook, gives the exact Bill of Rights.
The book in question, U.S. History: Preparing for Advanced Placement Exams, is a supplemental instructional aid and not the official textbook for any history classes. In this supplement, it states – above the amendments – that the following is a “summary statement.” The teachers and staff are aware of this “summary statement” and are teaching the amendments from the classroom textbook, American Pageant.
The only approved textbook for these classes is American Pageant. All other materials are “supplemental.” Please be assured that Denton ISD history teachers are disseminating the correct information on the Second Amendment.
While not much more strongly worded than their initial clarification, this does point out that the text is used in a supplemental fashion and not as a primary source in the classroom.