NBC Hails Parkland Teacher Who Inspired Students to Anti-Gun Activism

On Thursday, just days ahead of the third anniversary of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, NBC’s 3rd Hour Today show marked the occasion by touting the anti-gun rights movement that followed the tragedy. In particular, the broadcast applauded a government teacher at the school for helping make his left-wing students “ready for activism.”

“Jeff Foster is a teacher there and he left a lasting impact on his students who, since the tragedy, have gone on to lead a movement, becoming the faces of the gun reform debate in this country,” co-host Sheinelle Jones declared at the top of the glowing profile. Fellow co-host Craig Melvin promoted: “I got the chance recently to talk to Foster about his students and his new book as well….he shares some of the same lessons that he’s passed on to his students, telling young readers how they can stay informed and how they can effect change.”

 

 

Melvin emphasized how the shooting was used to spur on the left’s latest push to restrict gun rights nationwide: “A tragedy that led to March for Our Lives, the student-led protest that drew millions across the country calling for an end to gun violence and catapulted teenage activists like Emma Gonzales and David Hogg to center stage.”

Turning to Foster, the host gushed: “They took your AP Government class and they credit you for helping to shape and mold their minds to get them ready for activism.” Foster happily proclaimed: “I mean, these kids were superstars before they met me, they’ll be superstars when I’m long gone. That’s why we teach. I’m honored to be just a small scintilla of their existence, It humbles me greatly.”

Moments later, the teacher ironically argued: “I think a big thing for us as teachers is trying to get people, and this is a lot harder than it sounds, to accept other ideas and not just say, ‘No, that’s stupid, you’re dumb, I’m right, you’re wrong’….and try to teach them a new way to debate and not necessarily argue and shout each other down.”

Is that what Emma Gonzales was practicing during a 2018 CNN town hall when she questioned then-NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch’s quality as a mother? Or what fellow student Cameron Kasky was doing later in that same event when he compared Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio to a school shooter? Did Foster teach his students to engage in such vile rhetoric?

Melvin of course didn’t ask those questions. Instead, he worried: “There’s a lack of trust in government and it’s been that way for a while in this country. Why is that? Where does that come from?” Foster replied:

We want – at least I want – all citizens to participate….We have the ability to change – change laws….It matters because we need to know how it works and then we need to know how to make the government work for us. No one person is too small to make a difference.

After the taped segment, Melvin concluded: “And Foster still keeps in touch with his former students by the way….he’s also a testament to the power of a good teacher.”

This was not the first time NBC fawned over Foster. Back in 2018, the network celebrated how the teacher “groomed” students like Gonzales and Hogg to be “articulate” left-wing activists who supposedly made “thoughtful arguments.”

Another example of how the media are fine with incendiary rhetoric as long as it’s in pursuit of a leftist agenda.

The cheering of Foster’s mentorship of the young left-wingers was brought to viewers by Planet Fitness and Neutrogena. You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.   

Here is a full transcript of the February 12 segment:

9:15 AM ET

SHEINELLE JONES: This Sunday marks three years since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida. Jeff Foster is a teacher there and he left a lasting impact on his students who, since the tragedy, have gone on to lead a movement, becoming the faces of the gun reform debate in this country.

CRAIG MELVIN: I got the chance recently to talk to Foster about his students and his new book as well. It’s called, For Which We Stand: How Our Government Works and Why It Matters. In the book, he shares some of the same lessons that he’s passed on to his students, telling young readers how they can stay informed and how they can effect change.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Impact Thursday; Majory Stoneman Douglas H.S. Teacher on Inspiring Students to Take Action]

JEFF FOSTER: That’s what keeps us going as teachers, is the connection you have with your students.

MELVIN: For 20 years Jeff Foster’s been giving high schoolers a lesson in civics.

First of all, what’s it been like teaching during the pandemic for you?

FOSTER: It’s been trying, but the kids have been great, the parents have been supportive, the school district’s been good. And you know, our school’s gone through so much, this is just another one that’s been thrown at us.

MELVIN: Foster is the AP Government and Politics teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In 2018, it was site of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. History. A tragedy that led to March for Our Lives, the student-led protest that drew millions across the country calling for an end to gun violence and catapulted teenage activists like Emma Gonzales and David Hogg to center stage.

EMMA GONZALES: Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.

DAVID HOGG: We can and we will change the world!

MELVIN: They took your AP Government class and they credit you for helping to shape and mold their minds to get them ready for activism.

GONZALES: These are my AP Gov notes.

FOSTER: I mean, these kids were superstars before they met me, they’ll be superstars when I’m long gone. That’s why we teach. I’m honored to be just a small scintilla of their existence, It humbles me greatly.

MELVIN: These days, Foster has plenty to talk about with his students, using current events to generate conversations in the classroom.

So much is happening right now in our world. That insurrection at the Capitol, I would imagine that was top of mind for your government students.

FOSTER: I started class, I said “Alright, guys, obviously we saw what happened.” Before I could even start a prompt for the discussion, the kids just started raising their hand online, and I just kind of sat back and moderated. They were frustrated, they realized there was an assault on our democracy. They were curious as to see what the ramifications were gonna be.

MELVIN: At times, Foster admits some discussions can even lead to disagreements.

FOSTER: I think a big thing for us as teachers is trying to get people, and this is a lot harder than it sounds, to accept other ideas and not just say, “No, that’s stupid, you’re dumb, I’m right, you’re wrong.” Because they’re seeing the adults in their lives behave that way, and they’re mirroring that behavior. And it’s up to us as parents and it’s up to me as a civics teacher to try to quell that, to try to stop that, and try to teach them a new way to debate and not necessarily argue and shout each other down.

MELVIN: There’s a lack of trust in government and it’s been that way for a while in this country. Why is that? Where does that come from?

FOSTER: We want – at least I want – all citizens to participate. So I think when we don’t participate and the levels are low, and there was life this year. The numbers were enormous this year in the presidential election. I mean, is that a one-off because of COVID? I hope not, but we had 150 million-plus people vote this year and that’s amazing. I hope those numbers continue in our local elections, in our state elections, and in the midterm elections.

MELVIN: As a father of two whose motto is if you don’t participate, you can’t complain, he says now more than ever, it’s paramount for everyone, especially young people, to engage in our government.

FOSTER: We have the ability to change – change laws. When I was a kid, you know, smoking in public places was normal. The citizens put it on the ballot to remove smoking from public places. And guess what? You can go out now and not have to take off your shirt and throw it in the washing machine anymore because we as citizens did that. It matters because we need to know how it works and then we need to know how to make the government work for us. No one person is too small to make a difference.

MELVIN: And Foster still keeps in touch with his former students by the way. This weekend marks three years since that shooting. Tomorrow Foster and some of his current students from Majory Stoneman Douglas will be participating in a day of service. And he told me that this book is a good refresher for adults too, it’s not just for kids. He was surprised to learn that civics education, actually not taught in every school. So he’s also a testament to the power of a good teacher.

JONES: Absolutely.

DYLAN DREYER: Really good story, Craig.

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