Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Denver Post Staff Writer
The student whose recording of an Overland High School teacher's lecture triggered national debate on academic freedom will be honored this week in Washington, D.C.
Sean Allen, a former Overland student who now attends Cherry Creek High School, will receive an award for "courage" from the Students for Academic Freedom at a conference, said Sara Dogan, national campus director for the group.
Also, Allen will participate in a news conference Friday with David Horowitz, a conservative author affiliated with the group.
Allen in early February recorded a lecture by Overland teacher Jay Bennish during a geography class. During the 20-minute recording, Bennish made comments critical of U.S. foreign policies and compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler. Dogan described Bennish's remarks as a form of "indoctrination."
Bennish, who had been placed on paid leave during a district investigation, has said he was trying to provoke critical thinking among students in the class. He was permitted to return to Overland.
Allen on Tuesday said he was "stunned and overcome" when he learned the Students for Academic Freedom wanted to honor him. "It's humbling," said Allen, who has been enrolled at Cherry Creek for two weeks.
The conference will also feature a debate between Horowitz and controversial University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill.
According to the conference website, the debate topic will be "Can Politics Be Taken Out of the Classroom, and Should It Be?"