Letter: Vermont schools guilty of ‘divisive racial indoctrination, negating parental rights’

This letter to the editor is by Randall Northrop, of St. Johnsbury. It first appeared in the Caledonian Record.

I would like to start by saying my family is a rainbow. I am a white male, my wife of 35 years is Japanese. My oldest daughter is married to a black man and they have two daughters who are a mixture of white, Asian and black, my youngest daughter is in a long-term relationship with a Mexican American man. I understand several perspectives on race in this country.

I spent eight years teaching elementary age children, and three years teaching university level. I served for years on a local Vermont public school board and several more on the board of a Vermont private high school. I have spent many years auditing public schools across several states, and my wife and I raised three children in public schools. I understand the public educational system.

I spent 23 years in the Marine Corps. I traveled the world — from Asia through North and South America, Europe, Australia and Africa. I have seen racism throughout the world. While no one should live in a world where racism dictates our lives, and I think we should all make an effort to mitigate the effects of racism. But, in comparison to much of the world, the United States is not a racist country. In many of the places I have been, racism is not only allowed, it is encouraged — even legal. To label this country with the broad brush of racism fails to recognize the amazing progress we as a nation have made in overcoming racism and the acts of discrimination that come from it.

If an American in this country is not an economic success, it is easy to say that it is the fault of racism. That the educational or justice system is racist and that the legacy of slavery and discrimination are the root cause of economic failure but there are too many examples of economically successful minorities in this country to lay the blame on racism and discrimination. At some point, we each need to take personal responsibility for our success and failure.

The point of this letter to the editor is that the things I see from Vermont public schools cause me anxiety. I see example after example of racist teaching that has no place in our public schools. Students are singled out for their race and taught that because of the color of their skin they are racist. Teachers in mandatory training where they are told that all white people, and particularly white males, are racist and that black people cannot be racist because they are the oppressed. This is discrimination which according to the Civil Rights Act is unlawful in education.

These are my specific concerns:

Middle and High School students are surveyed questioning the students’ risk behaviors, sexual activity, sexual orientation, transgender status, and their thoughts about suicide and hurting themselves. I don’t believe schools should be in the business of asking these kinds of questions. These are parental responsibilities not the public school’s responsibility. Secondly, these questionnaires are given to children as young as ten years old – not an appropriate age to be asked these questions in a public school setting and I think most parents agree. Further, the questionnaire for high school can lead vulnerable teenagers into dangerous considerations – drug use, suicide, bullying, vaping, chewing tobacco, marijuana use. Again, these are parental/family issues not public issues.

Parents I have spoken to who have children in middle school — starting in sixth grade — are very upset that their children are exposed to this material and often the school make only a token effort to allow parents to opt out of their child’s participation.

Divisive Racial Indoctrination

Recently Essex Westford School adopted C29: Equity Policy which states that “this nation would not have evolved without the genocide of the indigenous people nor would the economic infrastructure exist as it does without the enslavement of the native African people and their descendants. Further, the policy directs that curriculum include anti-racist education and LGBtQI+ affirming education. The policy goes on to state that the school intends to focus it education and hiring practices on promoting marginalized and underserved people. Again, this is discrimination, unlawful under our constitution. The U. S. Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that education and workplaces across America are required to be color blind. This policy is not color blind.

Further, just for context, when slavery ended 156 years ago, the native African population of this country was estimated by the U. S. Census to be about 8% – not really enough to account for all of our economic infrastructure. So we are not teaching history here but simply indoctrinating school-age children in a political philosophy that undermines their sense of worth and equality.

Negating Parental Rights

The Vermont Agency of Education has adopted a policy entitled “Continuing Best Practices for Schools Regarding Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students.” This policy states that “To the extent that the school is not legally required to use a student’s legal name or sex assigned at birth on school records and other documents, the school should use the name and gender preferred by the student. This may require the school to maintain two sets of records (one with the student’s legal name and sex assigned at birth kept separate from routine school records) to avoid inadvertent disclosure.”

Really? Two sets of records? To keep from parents? Children, anyone under the age of majority, do not have the emotional, intellectual maturity to make decisions regarding their sexuality and should not be encouraged to explore it early by the public schools.

On top of all that, schools are mandating that teachers, school staff and fellow students recognize gender identity as gender. Requiring the use of mislabeled genders as though children have the right to change their biological presence. They do not and should not — at least not without parental permission and involvement.

Lastly, and this is education-wide throughout the State, schools are mandating DEI training for all teachers and staff, dictating that white teachers declare their white privilege and recognize their racism — all while stating the black Americans cannot be racist because they are marginalized. That is discrimination and illegal.

Many of us feel powerless to change the system or simply do not know how we can have an impact.

I plan to vote to make my voice heard, for School Board and for State Legislators.

Randall Northrop
St. Johnsbury, Vt.

5 thoughts on “Letter: Vermont schools guilty of ‘divisive racial indoctrination, negating parental rights’

  1. Thank you Randall for writing this. I have shared this with others.

    You speak for many parents, students, grandparents and many teachers. Some teachers also do not agree with these directives, but are powerless in the face of the school boards, superintendents, state government operators and the teachers’ union (VTNEA) who have embraced this wrong-headed equity dogma, commonly known as Critical Race Theory.

    For those concerned, take action. Attend you school board meeting, get to know the players.
    If you do not have the materials that have supported training of teachers and student instruction on this matter, request them. Submit FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests to your schools to obtain copies of the equity curricula, materials, schedules of when these things were taught. Also request emails to/from the superintendent, school board chair and state agency contacts for the last 2 years regarding the topic of equity training. Request copies of invoices for any consultants hired to train teachers and staff to instruct students, and dates dates and materials from teacher training on this issue. All of this is public information and available to you upon request under the law. If materials can be provided in electronic form (videos, powerpoint, Word documents) this will save copying costs and time.

    Finally, run for school board. Vermonters got too trusting and comfortable with the current school management. We as citizens allowed this to happen. If you want this to change you must demand change by being a decision maker.

  2. “They Laughed At The Parents” – Leaked Audio Reveals How California Teachers Recruit Kids Into LGBTQ Clubs
    SATURDAY, NOV 20, 2021 – 09:30 PM
    By Brad Jones of the Epoch Times

    A leaked audio recording revealed California teachers mocking parents over concerns about homosexual and transgender indoctrination at school, said a source who attended a recent teachers union conference in Palm Springs.

    “It was horrifying to listen to not just one teacher but really all of the teachers in all of these seminars, excoriating parents,” said the source, who goes by the pseudonym Rebecca Murphy.

    Murphy attended the California Teachers Association (CTA) conference in late October. She told The Epoch Times the teachers “mocked” parents for their concerns, and suggested they know better than parents about what’s best for their children.

    “They laughed at the parents,” Murphy said.

    The sold-out CTA conference, billed as the “2021 LGBTQ+ Issues Conference, Beyond the Binary: Identity & Imagining Possibilities,” was held Oct. 29 to 31.

    The CTA has hosted similar “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” (SOGI) professional development training for at least the last two years, according to an event notice posted on the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) website, which asks teachers: “Do you have the courage to create a safe environment that fosters bravery to explore sexual orientation, gender identity and expressions?”

    However, according to Murphy, the purpose of conference in Palm Springs appeared to be about teachers showing other teachers how to undermine the authority of parents and school administrators and conceal activities related to gender inclusion and sexual orientation from them.

    The three classes Murphy attended were designed to recruit middle school students to GSA clubs, she said.

    “The overarching theme of the classes that I attended were California Teachers instructing other teachers on how to sneak in the LGBTQ+ curriculum in a manner that does not alert parents,” Murphy said.

    Caldeira and Baraki led a workshop called “How we run a ‘GSA’ in Conservative Communities,” and they described the obstacles they faced as activist teachers in concealing the activities of these clubs from parents.

    In the audio clip, Caldeira advised teachers who lead LGBTQ clubs to maintain an air of plausible deniability so they can play dumb if they are questioned by parents.

    “Because we are not official, we have no club rosters. We keep no records,” said Caldeira, who is also an LGBTQ club leader. “In fact, sometimes we don’t really want to keep records because if parents get upset that their kids are coming? We’re like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe they came?’ You know, we would never want a kid to get in trouble for attending if their parents are upset.”

    Baraki backed up Caldeira’s advice, suggesting activist teachers to disguise the nature of GSA clubs by calling them something less obvious. Baraki provided an example of this deception, pointing out she avoided naming her LGBTQ club a GSA. Instead, she called it the “Equity Club” and later changed the name to the “You Be You” club.

    The teachers bragged about spying on students’ online searches and activity as well as eavesdropping on their conversations to identify and recruit sixth-grade students into these LGBTQ clubs whose membership rolls are kept hidden from parents. They suggested that parents who refuse to call their child by pronouns of the child’s choosing should be arrested and charged with child abuse, Murphy said.

    Buena Vista Middle School falls under the jurisdiction of the Spreckels Union School District (SUSD). Another nearby district, Salinas Union High School District (SUHSD) has been a center of controversy over its mandatory ninth grade ethnic studies program, which teaches elements of critical race theory.

    SUSD Board President Steve McDougall, Superintendent Eric Tarallo, and school board members did not respond to Epoch Times inquiries about the leaked audio. Neither did Caldeira and Baraki.

    Anti-Bullying Presentation

    Caldeira also discussed a yearly anti-bullying presentation she provides to students along with Baraki, and she said LGBTQ issues were not the only topics they discussed.

    “We also covered religious differences, race, cultural backgrounds, family status poverty—everything that is listed in the Parents’ Rights handbook.”

    However, when the kids went home and talked to their parents about the presentation, the parents complained about the LGBTQ content. Baraki suggested a different strategy to avoid resistance from parents.

    “Next year, we’re going to do just a little mind-trick on our sixth graders. They were last to go through this presentation and the gender stuff was the last thing we talked about. So next year, they’ll be going first with this presentation and the gender stuff will be the first thing they hear about. Hopefully to mitigate, you know, these kind of responses, right?” Baraki said.

    Baraki ridiculed a parent who complained she hadn’t planned on having a conversation about sexual orientation and gender identity issues with her middle-schooler but was pushed into it by the school.

    “I know, so sad, right? Sorry for you, you had to do something hard!” Baraki told her audience. “Honestly, your 12-year-old probably knew all that, right?”

    When a principal suggested to another parent to enroll their child in a private school over the controversy, Caldeira said, “We count that as a win.”

  3. Thank you, Ralph, for your thoughts and writing this! You give me hope that more people are starting to stand up and calling out to the craziness of these policies! Some days, it seems like people either don’t care, actually agree with it, or are too afraid to say it is completely wrong! So when I read this, it gives me strength to fight another day!
    Liz Cady
    Essex Westford

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