Northeast Kingdom parents form group to resist CRT, ‘affinity spaces’ for young children

A group of concerned parents in the Northeast Kingdom has formed to reject critical race theory being taught at local schools, and especially “affinity spaces” for children to talk about race with members from the activist group Building Fearless Futures.

Ben Morley is a parent who has children attending schools in the Orleans Central Supervisory Union. He has formed Fair Education for the OCSU as vehicle to help concerned parents respond to social justice-themed political material being targeted at their children

“Everything that we’re trying to do for our group is to resist this, but also have positive connotations, positive meetings about what things should be like,” Ben Morley, a parent with children attending schools in the Orleans Central Supervisory Union, told True North.

“We don’t want to just rip it down and demonize the teachers because we love the teachers, we think we have one of the best districts in the state,” he said.

Morley says he is especially concerned about a survey sent out by the local school that included a message about “OCSU affinity spaces.” The spaces, he wrote in a Facebook post, offer kids from the LGBTQ communities social justice training on “Antiracism/Classism/Whiteness etc.”

“In the trainings, participants learn about whites being a dominant class and the trainings attempt to re-define or broaden the term racism along with introduction of several other isms that seek to change your Child’s ideology,” he wrote.

Building Fearless Futures is the activist group that will be running the social justice training in the school-based affinity spaces. Morley said he spent some time looking up the group, which he called “radical.”

“In our equity committee at the Orleans Central Supervisory Union we have a member of Building Fearless Futures, which is an extremely radical organization,” he said.

The organization’s website says the group encourages “transformation” in people and understanding “our own … perpetuation of inequity.”

“The process of transformation means we cannot side step discomfort, we must move through it. We cannot engage in courageous analysis and actions within our companies without understanding the realities of what inequity really is, who we are and what our own relationship with the perpetuation of inequity may be – even when our intentions are good,” the group’s website reads.

Morley said that the organization may have some conflicts of interest because it contracts with the school and also has representation on the Equity Committee.

“They are sitting on our equity committee and they are actually contractors for our school system,” he said. “So you’ve got the person that’s responsible and the consultant for social justice determining how funds are going to be spent to contract with them in the committee.”

According to the minutes of the OCSU Equity Committee’s July 14 meeting, the members discussed a range of social justice issues, such as “safe spaces” and “dealing with more pushback because these things are now on people’s radar.”

Morely said he’s keeping track of what the social justice advocates are saying.

“They were  talking about some things that were really strategic and would really push this orthodoxy, but also talking about everything that they’ve done so far as being tremendous and without having any pushback,” he said. “Though [now] there is a tremendous amount of pushback for parents.”

The OCSU Educational Support Team did not return TNR’s request for comment.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Public domain

5 thoughts on “Northeast Kingdom parents form group to resist CRT, ‘affinity spaces’ for young children

  1. This article states: “A group of concerned parents in the Northeast Kingdom has formed to reject critical race theory.”

    Here are a couple of questions for Ben Morley and/or Michael Bielawski:

    1. What is the size of the “concerned group of parents”?

    2. Is the concerned parent’s group gaining supporters?

    3. What is the general consensus of the overall community regarding the program and the philosophy of BFF?……Is the community interested in what’s going on?…….Is the community fine with the program or are the people concerned with what’s being pushed?

    4. How are the school administrators and teachers reacting?

    5. How is the School Board now reacting to the “concern parents’ push back?……..Anything different than” the pushback is good” as stated in the Board minutes held in on either 7/14/21 (per article) or 6/14/21 (per attached board minutes).

  2. They don’t like citizens having opinions that take exception to their state-imposed ideology: they call this “pushback.” We call it free speech, and the right as parents to be involved. What is being done is blatantly illegal — THAT is going to cause a little pushback too: parents oppose illegal school segregation. So let’s push back — much harder.

  3. The only way to eliminate CRT and other subversive indoctrination is to eliminate any involvement from the U.S. Department of Education in our schools. Hire individuals without a degree in education to teach, who actually have demonstrated a proficiency in various subjects and are not affiliated with the NEA.

  4. It sounds like there just might be some conservatism left in the NEK, I may move back

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