The election may be over, but more allegations of political bias in public schools are surfacing.
A North Carolina superintendent said Friday that he was "shocked" after viewing video footage of an elementary school teacher harshly questioning a student in class for supporting John McCain.
William Harrison, superintendent of Cumberland County Schools in Fayetteville, has launched an investigation of the teacher, Diatha Harris, and has promised to bring disciplinary action.
In a video produced by a Swedish production company and posted on YouTube, Harris is seen asking her elementary school students whom they support for president. She tells them that they can support whomever they want, but when one student says John McCain, Harris responds derisively, "Oh my, John McCain." When another student said she supports McCain, Harris replies, "Oh Jesus, John McCain."
Harris also asks a female student to explain why she supports Obama, to which the student replies that Obama meant change -- such as ending the war in Iraq.
"So in other words, Barack is going to end that war in Iraq," Harris said before turning to a girl who had announced her support for McCain. "Now talk to me, because your dad is in the military. Talk."
The student doesn't say anything, but Harris goes on.
"It's a senseless war. And by the way, the person that you're picking for president said that our troops could stay in Iraq for another hundred years if they need to," Harris said. "So that means that your daddy could stay in the military for another hundred years."
Public school teachers are allowed to discuss politics in the classroom but are required by law to present issues from all political sides and not press agendas.
Harrison said he found the military aspect of the interaction especially worrying and promised to take action.
"Most disconcerting was the military slant that made its way into this discussion. We are a military community, serving over 15,000 military students and their families. We value the sacrifices, not only of the military parents but also those of their families," he wrote Friday in a statement on the Cumberland County Schools' Web site.
He continued: "Please be assured that the actions exhibited in this video are not consistent with the vision of the CCS. Moreover, the actions of one teacher do not represent the 7000 employees in our organization."
The video was part of "From Bill to Barack," a Swedish documentary that followed up with average Americans who had been thrown into the spotlight in the 1992 election. Harris was featured because her ex-husband, Roy Harris, had convinced former President Bush to come into his North Carolina living room and tell his children what he had done for them.
Harrison said that once the video was brought to his attention, he immediately launched an investigation. "Personnel laws prevent me from releasing information regarding individual employees and personnel action taken. I can assure you that upon completion of the investigation, I will take appropriate action," he said.
A receptionist at Mary McArthur Elementary School said that Harris did not want to comment on the case. Wanda McPhaul, Assistant Superintendent of Cumberland County Schools, said that she would not release the name of the student involved or pass a message on to the family.
This wasn't the first time the 2008 presidential election became fodder for an education controversy.
In October, an eighth-grade literature textbook used in public schools came under fire for including pages featuring Barack Obama's 1995 autobiography, "Dreams on My Father."
And a video came out in October titled "Obama Youth --Junior Fraternity Regiment," in which African American students marched into a classroom and repeated a mantra about how Obama had inspired them. The display was organized by a teacher at the Urban Community Leadership Academy, a public charter school.
In September, a school came under fire for suspending an 11-year-old boy because he wore an anti-Obama shirt to school.