REDNECK PERSPECTIVE: Truck-ed Sparks Controversy

By on May 3, 2016

160504RedneckJACKSON HOLE, WY – Uproar over Teton County School District’s decision to invite and then uninvite an abstinence presenter to its classrooms has parents demanding more oversight of auto shop curriculum. Speaker Shelly Donahue originally was to give her abstinence-centric presentation suggesting students wait until graduation before going in debt to buy a pickup truck.

The choice to invite Donahue flies in the face of recent speaker topics, including a lecture by local Chevy dealer David Auge who presented a discourse entitled: “The third generation Silverado 1500 with 6.2 L EcoTec3; why it leads to moral supremacy, economic freedom and world peace.”

When parents were notified of the Donahue presentation many responded with concern and indignation. Hog Islanders in particular were outraged, claiming Donahue’s approach to abstinence-only truck education is not science-based. They demanded an explanation as to why officials would allow her to speak in the district’s classrooms.

“I dropped out of high school when I turned 16 to work and finance my first 3/4 ton truck,” explained one Hog Islander. “I have had truck payments ever since. It is a Wyoming tradition.”

“These are our children,” another Hog islander complained. “What’s the school going to do next? Invite a Prius dealer to talk or suggest our children buy a Hyundai Accent?”

The concerns of those parents and others who agree caused the school district to cancel Donahue’s classroom presentations.

Concerned parents specifically mentioned an exercise in which Donahue sticks a piece of tape to young men over and over until the adhesive has worn off to make a point about trucks. She uses the demonstration to show what she calls a scientific principle that choosing to be truckually active while still young makes it difficult for a young man to bond with a compact or sedan due to brain chemistry. He will therefore face a lifetime of truck payments.

The American 4 Wheel Drive Council’s review of Donahue’s program’s curriculum found that it “uses fear- and shame-based tactics to promote a particular transportation model” and, “includes little horse power or toque information” and “contains messages promoting biased views of ¾ and one ton duallys with club cabs.”

Wyoming law does not require that students receive any truck-ed as part of their shop curriculum and sets forth few standards for districts teaching it.

Teton County’s normal high school curriculum is based on a program called “Making Proud Choices,” which is included in a list of programs the U.S. Department of Transportation has found evidence to support.

“Making Proud Choices” focuses on a range of topics with emphasis on preventing friends from driving Dodges and Yugos, highlighting healthy horsepower dynamics and turbo charging, and the relational aspects of powerstroke inline five cylinder motors.

School board member Kate Mead defended the Donahue invitation. “The first amendment allows differences in approach to auto buying,” she said exasperated.  “Do we want our children to learn how to think for themselves or do we want to control their thoughts?”

“What the hell does she know?” raged one Hoback Juctioner. “She drives a Ford.” PJH

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