Dad: Teacher Gets Death Threats Over Bush-Hitler Lecture

The father of a teacher who made a classroom comparison between President Bush's State of the Union address and speeches by Adolf Hitler says he and his family have received at least 12 death threats.

Teacher Jay Bennish is on paid leave from Overland High School in suburban Aurora while Cherry Creek School District investigates whether his Feb. 1 lecture violated a policy requiring that balancing viewpoints be presented in classes.

Bennish has defended the lecture, saying he was trying to encourage his students to think.

His father, John Bennish of Beverly Hills, Mich., told The Detroit News that people have called his house threatening to kill him or his family.

"This has been totally lopsided and one-sided," John Bennish said of the news coverage of his son's lecture, the News reported Wednesday.

John Bennish said he did not report the threats to police.

A student recorded at least part of the lecture in Jay Bennish's world geography class and took it to a Denver radio station, which played excerpts on a talk show.

Bennish told "Today" the excerpts broadcast weren't representative of the full lecture.

"This is 20 minutes out of a 50-minute class. The rest of the class provides the balance," he said.

On the recording, Bennish said some of Bush's speech "sounds a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler used to say. We're the only ones who are right, everyone else is backwards and our job is to conquer the world and make sure that they all live just like we want them to."

Later in the recording, Bennish said he was not claiming Bush and Hitler were the same, "but there are some eerie similarities to the tones that they use."

School district officials postponed a meeting with Bennish scheduled for Wednesday, citing calls "from people who have something they think may be pertinent to our investigation."

District spokeswoman Tustin Amole would not discuss the content of the calls but said they came after Bennish appeared on radio and TV. She did not know when the meeting would take place.

Amole would not say what disciplinary action Bennish might face if administrators conclude he broke any rules.