A Philadelphia sixth grader surprised Fox News host Brian Kilmeade Wednesday morning by defending President Joe Biden.
During an appearance Wednesday morning on Fox & Friends in a recurring segment titled “Failing our children,” McCall Elementary student Mason Seder credited his teachers for doing a “great job” and said he was looking forward to returning to the school building on Monday.
“I miss, most obviously, seeing my friends and all the after school activities that I have done,” Mason said. “And I think that the way that our new president is handling things is a very good way and we would not have gone to this if it were still the last president.”
“Really?” a surprised Kilmeade responded. “That’s hard to believe because the last president was saying I want every kid back in school.”
Mason came to the attention of Fox News due to his comments at a public Philadelphia school board meeting in March, where he passionately called for the district to move all students to hybrid learning.
Virtual learning, Mason said, “has been a struggle, and we are not learning enough, and our grades, motivation, and mental health are hurting, and this is only one reason we need full in-person school in the fall, and at least hybrid learning for everyone now.”
Speaking to the Inquirer, Mason said he was aware that Fox News tends to be more conservative, which is why he felt the need to mention Biden’s handling of the pandemic. But Fox News also devotes more airtime than other cable news networks to getting children back into the classroom, which is why Mason has made multiple appearances on the network in recent months and would appear again if invited.
“I think it’s an important subject, and I think that until really we get to go back to school five days a week, I want to still talk about it,” Mason said.
All Philadelphia public school are open for hybrid learning for children in pre-K through fifth grade. though just 32% of eligible students have opted to return to the classroom, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. announced last week. Kids from sixth to ninth grade are eligible to return to the classroom May 10.
Mason said he didn’t mind virtual learning at the beginning of the school year, especially because the day was shorter and he could wake up later. But lately, he said he’s starting to see the effect online learning is having on him and his friends.
“A lot of kids are struggling with their mental health, and for me it’s really hard to focus on school,” Mason said. “The teachers are doing great, but we can’t learn as much as we would if we were in person.”
Biden has been a vocal advocate for reopening schools and has insisted it is safe — especially for younger children — as long as districts follow safety guidelines on masks and social distancing developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited a Virginia elementary school this week to discuss virtual learning, and a group of fifth graders opened up about their time on Zoom, including sneaking in naps and faking computer issues.
“If you don’t know the question, you can just pretend like your mic doesn’t work,” one girl told the first lady, a teacher herself, who predictably responded, “Oh, great!”
Staff writer Kristen A. Graham contributed to this article.