JHHS test question

A multiple-choice question on an internal online testing system included a reference to shooting at President Trump. It was given to Jackson Hole High School students this month and in October 2016.

© 2017 Jackson Hole News&Guide

Parents are upset about politics’ pervasiveness in the classroom. 

One of the answers a Jackson Hole High School English teacher gave her students on a multiple choice quiz Thursday was “A) He was shooting at Trump.”

Teton County School District No. 1 confirmed the answer was on a quiz administered online by their secure learning management system. The quiz has since been taken down. 

Jim McCollum was surprised when his son Rylee McCollum, a junior, came home and showed him a screenshot of the online test.

"I had to read it two times," McCollum said. "I was like, 'Are you kidding me?'"

McCollum, a self-described conservative who voted for President Donald Trump, said that while he "cringes at some of the things he says," the question was completely out of line. 

"It's about respect for the office more than anything," he said. "That's enough of this. No way." 

The test, McCollum said, was on George Orwell's novel “Animal Farm.” The full question was, "Napoleon has the gun fired for a new occasion. What is the new occasion?"

Possible answers were, "He was shooting at Trump," "his birthday," "for completion of the windmill" and "to scare off the attackers of Animal Farm." 

"It was so inappropriate to show a name of a sitting president in that question," McCollum said. "To me, that is so wrong in light of the situation in our country and the divisiveness and all." 

In a statement this morning, the district said, "TCSD #1 administration learned late yesterday that a quiz was administered to a class of high school students that contained an inappropriate answer to a multiple choice question. Administration is investigating this incident and verifying the information we have received.

“TCSD #1 takes seriously threats of any kind, regardless of the intent. We apologize to the students, families and community for this incident and will be addressing the issue with personnel."

McCollum graduated from Jackson Hole High School in 1985 and was "born and raised" in Jackson. He shared the question on Facebook, which took off with shares and angry comments similar to his own, as well as a few students defending the teacher. 

"To see that in my son's class ..." he trailed off. "This is not OK." 

McCollum said that "liberal bias" pervades other classes at the high school, too, leaving his son and other conservative students feeling like "the outcast" and impacting their ability to learn. 

"He told me, 'Dad, they crapped on everything I believe in,’’” McCollum said. 

"Rylee is very patriotic, very supportive of our military and of our country," McCollum said. His son plans to enlist in the Marines unless he gets a wrestling scholarship. 

"My kid is full-blooded red, white and blue," McCollum added. 

McCollum said that his son Rylee "loves the teacher" who wrote the test, English teacher Carin Aufderheide. 

"He thinks she's a terrific person, a nice person," McCollum said, despite knowing she has different political beliefs. "He was really upset that she would do that. He was really disappointed." 

McCollum wants the incident to be a learning lesson, not a disciplinary action for the teacher. 

"I'm not looking to get rid of anyone's position," he said. "Heck, I've done and said enough dumb things throughout my life." 

The timing couldn't be worse to insinuate violence, McCollum said. Stephen Paddock's Sunday night shooting rampage in Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured more than 500. 

"The Las Vegas thing still weights on us," he said. "We are absolutely devastated. Just like any other American, we are devastated by what happened."

This is a developing story.

Contact education reporter Kylie Mohr at schools@jhnewsandguide.com.

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(48) comments

Bobby Tucker

My personal opinion, politics should not be introduced in high school, I never studied politics until college and I'm glad I didn't it allowed me to be a high school student and enjoy the company of my many classmates. People sometimes will end a friendship over politics. Leave it alone in high school. This is only my opinion.

air cobra

Frank Smith is a "TROLL"

William Addeo

Shoot obama, Shoot obama, Shoot obama, Shoot obama, Shoot obama.

Paul Boggs

Would a parent in Jackson Hole explain US Code Title 18, Section 871 to this teacher? It reads, "any threat to take the life of the President of the United States is a FELONY". He/she should also be educated about 18 US Code 2381 (Treason) which reads in part, "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, adheres to their enemies, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death."
America needs to wake-up to the Rothschild Family and George Soros' globalist agenda to destroy America through Carl Marx' death cult of Communism, which killed 100+ million people in the 20th century. Our children are being lobotomized with fluoridated water http://www.silvanuspublishing.com/?s=fluoride They're being given cancer at alarming rates http://www.silvanuspublishing.com/?s=GMO They're being fed food sprayed with Atrazine which is chemically altering them sexually https://youtu.be/q9oThRLhpXU and thanks to teachers like this, they're being indoctrinated into a death cult (communism) that my family narrowly escaped from in Romania.
My family went from seeing family members placed in prison and executed, starving to death and being excited to see the occasional banana and bread loaf in communist Romania, to being millionaires in America. If people want to promote communism and anarchy, they should move to one of the many S. American countries, whose citizens are eating zoo animals, because they can’t afford $100 hamburgers and whose Governments are slaughtering them. Wake-up to www.FreudsMafia.com America!

Bobby Tucker

Mr. Boggs,
Thank you for bringing up the adding of fluoride to the drinking water, in the various communities. Back in the sixties the water in my district was fluoridated and I believe for the same reasons, fortunately, our representatives made use of their positions and had the problem resolved. [smile]

Olive Stemforn

I am grateful that there have been people, other than Frank Smith, who have
shared much positive feedback and valid arguments to this article. Thank you!

Cody Brinton

Boy the liberal trolls are crawling out o fetch woodwork here--- as a certified fire arms instructor Ill tell you its never ok to talk about shooting a human being unless your in military or law enforcement training. This was wrong- irresponsible and yes she should deb fired. (Go ahead Frank justify her again) A chi;d and even draw an image of a fire arm with out being suspended yet a so called teacher can pose a question such as this? The only thing more sickening than what she did is the responses here by the left/progressive/communists. No wyo ahead haters hate away--- thats exactly where this came from. The fact is the left would prefer a civil war to a balanced government that up hold sour laws and is truly for the people, by the people and of the people. Unite dee stand divided we fall---- now go ahead hate away an believing this was appropriate at any level---

candice hawley

I'm amazed that those who supported D. Trump's election continue to so whole heartedly support him. He's turned the White House into a daycare center and presents himself like the playground bully. Our office of the presidency is now a joke inhabited by the Joker himself. What the heck!

Frank Smith

Most journalists who cover gun violence could have predicted this, but it doesn't make it any less sickening: As soon as it was revealed that Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas mass shooter who killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others more, had used a bump-fire stock to modify his semiautomatic rifles into simulated machine guns, sales of the device soared. Both The Trace and the New York Times found that the item was sold out everywhere. The company that makes this delightful innovation, Slide Fire, initially reported the device was out of stock, and now seems to be so overwhelmed by demand it has stopped taking back orders.
It's a grim reminder of one major reason the National Rifle Association and the gun industry work so hard to derail any efforts to prevent mass shootings: They're good for business.

Jerry Windlinger

Incredible lack of judgment. I am sure if the word Obama had been substituted for Trump the whole town would be crying for this teacher to be fired. Whatever you think of our current president this is inexcusable.

Buck Brown

Funny, bet I bet no one here defending this or making excuses would find it funny if it had said Obama instead.

Frank Smith

How much do you want to bet?

Comment deleted.
Maury Jones

Actually, Obama was the "moron" who started that claim (which, by the way, I believe to be false). "Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii." Literary agency Acton & Dystel showcasing their roster of writers. Obama surely approved that bio in order to sell his book. I believe Obama fraudulently passed himself off as "born in Kenya" in order to get foreign aid scholarships to Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard.

Don George

Is this teacher related to your mayor

Frank Smith

No, and probably not related to the guy who, after going bankrupt on his creditors and employees four times, indicated that Puerto Ricans didn't deserve assistance because their island, which is "surrounded by BIG water," have "a lot of debt."

May also not be related to the long married, anti-abortion congressman who resigned this week after he was outed for begging his girl friend to get an abortion.

Comment deleted.
Don George

That’s it add fuel to the fire. Wasn’t Vegas enough

Penelope Melko

The option didn't indicate "President" so no harm done.

Frank Smith

No harm done even if it had.

Gary Perkins

He believes this impacts his childs ability to learn? I believe that being a conservative impacts your ability to learn.

Dave Loy

Don't think he cares what you believe, it's his responsibility to raise his kid, not yours.

Art Marks

Wow. No room in your world view for half the nation? That bias won’t do much for building a country with with shared values. I guess we’re fortunate you’re not a teacher.

Frank Smith

Being a "conservative" these days apparently means that you disagree with the 97% of atmospheric and climate scientists who believe, thanks to rigorous studies, that anthropogenic global warming presents a danger to entire world, and that being a "conservative" means that you believe that lunatics shouldn't be subjected to background checks when buying weapons that can kill 59 people in 11 minutes.

Mary Jones

This teacher has a serious lack of good judgement. And she's teaching our kids? Whether democrat or republican, and you find the actions of this "teacher" appalling, please e-mail your comments to the School Board: schoolboard@tcsd.org. Not sure she should be fired, but most definitely a letter of reprimand should be placed in her personnel file. And, she should receive professional counseling as to why her test answer was inappropriate in the high school setting (or anywhere else for that matter). If she continues to have such a lack of good judgement, she should then be fired. (Is she, by chance, related to the Mayor?)

dave johnson

I more than totally agree with Mr Mcollum

Frank Niesink

Will this ( former ) teacher be prosecuted?

Frank Smith

On what grounds? Teaching? Having a sense of humor? Failing the RW political correctness test? None of these "offenses," so far, are against the law.

Tony Montana

Yet Trump says he can shoot a person on 5th Ave and not lose a single vote. Unfortunately, I think he's right.

Frank Smith

Unfortunately I don't think you're 100% right, but I do worry that 38% of the American public don't recognize mental illness when they see it. That means that he's only lost 8% points from the 46% who voted for him.

Dennis Jones

The “tone” of this teachers’ free speech is very dangerous, especially coming from an apparent role model.

Anne Gradin

Surely this teacher has now resigned or been fired??

Frank Smith

One hopes that the principal and/or the school board or superintendent aren't that dense. One also hopes that should they do so, they should be prepared to endure an expensive lawsuit.

Elle James

No real teaching professional would find this appropriate. It's just low, sloppy political hateful commentary. Question is: why did the district hire this person? Fail...Smart biased teachers create classroom conversations where only one point of view (the teacher's) answers are acceptable. Maybe time to ask teachers to document & submit to the district office their own political content/comments in class. Districts can then be aware how teachers are presenting any political content and monitor bias. Classrooms should be a place where students explore world events, discuss, have a voice & refine their own views.

Frank Smith

This may be hard for you to understand, but it wasn't a "commentary" at all. It was an effort by the teacher to assess whether or not students had read and actually understood the book. The teacher did not understand that political correctness rules in Jackson Hole.

David Cargill

I just want to know the right answer. (D)?

Kid Krep

Could be. Snowball liked the windmill.

Frank Smith

“Comrades," he said, "I trust that every animal here appreciates the sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labour upon himself. Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be? Suppose you had decided to follow Snowball, with his moonshine of windmills ‒ Snowball, who, as we now know, was no better than a criminal?”
― George Orwell, Animal Farm

Frank Smith


Elin Hert

My liberal perspective: Completely inappropriate.

Frank Smith

My progressive perspective.


Tempest in a teapot.

Art Marks

I believe that this incident deserves more than dismissing it as a teachable moment. The fact that the teacher felt she could put this inappropriate answer into her test, raises questions about the culture that exists in Jackson’s schools and among its teachers. The board should investigate the existence on anti-American bias.

Frank Smith

It's the ghost of Senator McCarthy, come to save us all! Hallelujah!!

Julie Blume

What the teacher did was inappropriate.

Frank Smith

What the teacher did was give a test to see if the students had actually read the book. It would not have ruled out that the students had read the Cliff Notes, however. The teacher also may have been curious as to whether or not the students had any sense of humor. Apparently one didn't, nor did his parents, nor do a majority of the News & Guide readers who have left feedback. The microcephalics who are now getting upset about this nationally don't seem to be bothered by the president threatening nuclear war, nor knowing which country he ordered missiles to strike, nor throwing paper towels at Puerto Ricans who expected him, despite all the evidence to the contrary, to act as if he were a sentient and responsible being.

Kathryn Wood-Meyer

I guess I'm a microcephalic but I'm very upset the president is threatening nuclear war. That and other things. But the difference with a hard core independent thinker is we see the wrong and damage Trump, extreme conservatives, extreme liberals and this poor misguided teacher's poor choices have levied on our society.

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