For at least the second year in a row, a “fake news” assignment at a Texas high school has gone off the rails, forcing district officials to issue an official statement to debunk rumors spreading online.
“As part of our digital citizenship curriculum, a high school teacher made an assignment to illustrate the power of fake news and its potential impact. Students were given the assignment to create fake news story,” the Klein Independent School District posted to Facebook on Wednesday.
“One student created a fake post outside of the scope of the assignment about a Klein Oak employee which has been shared repeatedly online. This post is NOT TRUE.”
It’s unclear what the post was about, or what, if any, punishment the student faced for the post, KHOU reports.
It’s a routine that’s familiar to many in the school district. Less than a year ago, KISD officials posted virtually the exact same message to parents about the same “fake news” assignment, instructing them to have a sit-down with their kids about what they’re posting to social media.
“Ok, so let me understand … a teacher tell the students to create a fake news story, so they did! And once again the students get in trouble and the parents need to have a talk to their kids??” Clara Uribe wrote in the comments.
“This exact same thing happened last year, shouldn’t the teacher have thought better before giving such senseless assignment? Why isn’t he/she held accountable for it?”
Others pointed to the repeated problems with the assignment as evidence it’s necessary to begin with.
“It seems this incident, and the fact it has happened two years in a row, sows the lesson is sorely needed,” Christopher Burris wrote. “Now maybe these students will be able to go out into society with more critical thinking skills, unlike a large portion of our society.”
Fake news is a hot topic in the Trump era, as the president rightly points to liberal bias in the media that’s resulting in numerous false claims about both the president himself, his administration, and conservatives more broadly.
Most recent examples include allegations by gay black actor Jussie Smollett that he was attacked by racist and homophobic Trump supporters on a recent sub-zero stroll to Subway at 2 a.m. Smollett alleged two men beat him, poured bleach on him, put a noose around his neck, and yelled Chicago is “MAGA country” before dashing off into the night.
After his claims were widely reported in the media and amplified by leading liberal politicians, more recent revelations suggest the whole thing was a hoax, staged by the actor himself to appear a victim and frame conservatives as racist.
Another recent fake news conspiracy involved highly edited video that appeared to show white Catholic students with Make America Great Again hats taunting an elderly Native American man. After the liberal media widely reported the alleged racism, longer video emerged that showed the teens were taunted with racist slurs from Black Hebrew Israelites and the Native American, a well-known radical instigator, invaded the students’ space to bang a drum in their faces.
At the Klein ISD, teachers are apparently struggling to convey the concept of fake news. But instead of addressing the cause of the confusion, administrators are simply copy and pasting the previous year’s prepared statement, and passing the buck to parents to “have a conversation” about “the unfortunate power of social media.”
One parent pointed out the district’s statement is virtually verbatim from one sent to parents in September, while others pointed out neither notice explained what the supposed “fake news” actually was.
“Maybe this whole post is fake news about fake news,” Diane Ford pondered.
Still others think there may be a silver lining for students repeatedly drawing attention for their make-believe.
“This kid has a future at CNN,” Phillip Holloway joked.