Arizona parents are demanding answers from Congressman Matt Salmon, who recently gave a civics lesson at a local Gilbert school that scared second and third graders in the process.
According to parent Scott Campbell, Salmon made a comment during a visit to San Tan Charter School while discussing how bills turn into law with a group of second and third graders at the school that scared the children in attendance. Campbell said he and other parents had to console their children after Salmon provided unfiltered analysis of schools and terrorism:
“The congressman chose to give an example of the current situation in Iran, and made some inappropriate comments about ‘Do you know what a nuclear weapon is? Do you know that there are schools that train children your age to be suicide bombers?’” Campbell said.
Campbell went on to say that his daughter returned from school scared, adding that she did not previously know what suicide was.
Colby Itkowitz wrote for The Washington Post that the incident was confirmed by principal Kristofer Sippel, who sent a letter to the families of those in attendance in which he explained what had happened, encouraging parents to call the Congressman’s office to further discuss the situation with his staff.
While representatives from Salmon’s office maintains that his comments were not any worse than what children can see on the local news each night, staff members did meet with parents and Salmon talked to a number of them by phone to reassure them that he in no way meant to offend anyone with his comments, reports Rebekah L. Sanders for AZCentral.
“It was never Congressman Salmon’s intention to offend any parents,” said spokesman Tristan Daedalus. “The content of those remarks wasn’t anything beyond what children could expect to see or hear on any timely TV or radio newscast.”
A similar situation occurred earlier this year when, during a presidential campaign event, Senator Ted Cruz told attendees the “world is on fire,” scaring a 6-year-old in the crowd who responded to the comment by asking, “The world is on fire?” Cruz answered by saying “Yes, the world is on fire. Your world is on fire.”
Around a year ago, Representative Don Young spoke to students at a local high school in Alaska, telling them a story “that involved flying to Paris to get drunk.” He also compared marriage equality to “bull sex” and made some poorly-chosen comments concerning teen suicide.