What kind of a teacher would invite her students to “burn” a figure of Donald Trump to commemorate a Spanish historical event? We received the following message on Instagram April 9. Keep in mind that the Andover Spanish teacher is at an Elementary School.
“So Helen Kuperus…a Spanish teacher at Florence M. Burd Elementary School in Andover NJ, is asking students and teachers to choose a figure to burn to honor a historical Spanish event. One of those figures being voted on? President Donald Trump. How is this legal? How does an elementary school get away with pushing their political agenda on children? This is disgusting and needs to be shut down.”
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We emailed both Helen Kuperus and school Superintendant Matthew Beck to ask for a statement. We have not received a response as of this writing. If we do, we’ll add it to this article.
Her paper states that students in the Ecuador tradition she calls the Hidalgo-White event could “put their regrets” into the figure and burn it “leaving the bad behind and starting fresh.” She decided that since she missed the New Years action, she could do a similar one based on one from Spain called “Las Fallas de Valencia” or “fires of Valencia.” She has used Donald Trump as the subject of one of the figures – and encouraged the students to pick one to burn up.
The Ecuadorian event contains dolls created by the community called “The Viejos” and is meant to symbolically say goodbye to the previous year. Sometimes they get “sinister” with their “dolls” and use political figures. The Valencia event, originally a fiesta for St Joseph, is now 5 days long and keeps the “scarecrow-like” figures called “ninots” around until the “La Crema,”or the burning.
Since the United States is not Ecuador, nor is it Valencia, Spain, using the President as a subject in this presentation of a foreign “tradition” is a one way to teach elementary school children that our President is “bad.” These are small children, not adults. Teaching children about other cultures is one thing, making politically motivated “lessons” is quite another.
Superintendent Matthew Beck, Spanish teacher Helen Kuperus, Principal Cindy Mizelle: the school phone number is 973-315-5257 if you find this to be objectionable.
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