“We are being manipulated and intimidated by a divisive ‘woke’ ideology that is creating a culture of contempt and disrespect,” a Kansas public high school English teacher, Caedran Sullivan, wrote in an article for a non-school affiliated publication. Students walked out of her class in protest. Some of these snowflakes were so offended that they demanded Ms. Sullivan’s firing.
Ms. Sullivan, who has taught for 15 years at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kansas, complained about the “toxic environment” her school district was fostering. She said that employees were required “to attend Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) training and workshops centered around Critical Race Theory, including Black Lives Matter in the Classroom and Social Justice in the Classroom (using teachers’ ‘white privilege,’ ‘white supremacy’ and ‘de-colonizing our classrooms’ propaganda).”
“There is repeated white shaming and a preoccupation with white people as the ‘oppressor,’” Ms. Sullivan added. “There is a strong anti-capitalism, anti-conservatism, and anti-American bias in the DEI curriculum, with an emphasis on ‘white fragility’ and ‘how to be antiracist.’”
Ms. Sullivan took exception to being told to “refer to students by their preferred names and pronouns during the school day, but hide from the parents the fact that their minor children are transitioning at school.”
In short, this English teacher objected to being directed to mangle proper pronoun usage in addressing her students and to withhold information from parents about their children’s emotional health, which the parents have a right to know.
Ms. Sullivan made it clear in a follow-up online article that she will not be deterred by the nay-sayers who have stooped to hateful ad hominem attacks against her with smears like “racist,” “transphobe,” “Nazi,” and “fascist.” Indeed, she has doubled down, criticizing her school district for prioritizing woke indoctrination over academics and telling teachers to “hide information from parents regarding their minor children transitioning at school” with no written policy to that effect.
Ms. Sullivan publicly urged the school district to release its DEI curriculum so that parents and taxpayers can judge its merits for themselves. But school administrators are refusing to do so with the lame excuse that they cannot release the DEI curriculum because it is copyrighted material.
A reasonable person should certainly have no objection to Ms. Sullivan’s exercise of her First Amendment right to express her concerns about DEI indoctrination, concerns that are shared by conscientious teachers across the country. In fact, Ms. Sullivan deserves the teacher of the year award for her courage in speaking out. But we are no longer living in a country where reason and respect for individual liberties prevail.
“The students run the school and know there will likely be little accountability for their actions, while teachers are accused of discrimination,” Ms. Sullivan wrote. She is so right.
At Shawnee Mission North High School and too many other public schools across the country, the students and their supposedly adult “woke” enablers rule the classroom. Mature educators who want to provide their students with traditional lessons in English, math, history, civics, and science are required instead to bend down and pay homage to the DEI idol.
Scholastic, Inc., a giant billion-dollar children’s book enterprise, has also paid homage to the DEI idol. It apologized recently for asking writer Maggie Tokuda-Hall to revise an Author Note she added to her children’s book about Japanese Americans’ incarceration during World War II, which Scholastic wanted to license for its Rising Voices Library collection. The book, entitled Love in the Library, is geared to children in grades 1-4. It tells the romance story of the author’s Japanese American grandparents who met while incarcerated in an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.
The granddaughter’s Author Note discussed the trauma Japanese Americans suffered from incarceration during World War II and the ethnic bias that led to the incarceration. But Ms. Tokuda-Hall was not content to use this tragic episode as a lesson about the terrible harm that hatred and bias can inflict on people just because of their ethnic background, nationality, religion, or color of their skin. Instead, Ms. Tokuda-Hall chose to turn her Author Note into an anti-American diatribe.
Ms. Tokuda-Hall wrote that the racism which she said put her grandparents into the internment camp “is the same hate that keeps children in cages on our border. It’s the myth of white supremacy that brought slavery to our past and allows the police to murder Black people in our present.” Condemning what she called “the deeply American tradition of racism,” Ms. Tokuda-Hall added that “Hate is not a virus; it is an American tradition.” As if hate was not sadly part of human nature universally.
Originally, Scholastic, Inc. did the right thing. Its Rising Voices Library’s lead editor wrote to Ms. Tokuda-Hall’s publisher saying that they loved the book and wanted everyone in the schools they serve to read it. However, in explaining the need for some modifications to the Author Note, the editor said that “our audience is comprised of elementary school-aged children and there are some details in the Author’s Note that, although eloquently stated, are too strongly worded for what most teachers would expect to share with their students. This could lead to teachers declining to use the book, which would be a shame. To that end we are requesting make an adjustment to the Authors [sic] Note.”
Thus, Rising Voices Library’s lead editor, on behalf of Scholastic, Inc., initially requested the removal of the harsh anti-American language in the Author Note that portrayed the United States today as systemically racist where the police are allowed “to murder Black people in our present.” Ms. Tokuda-Hall refused to comply with the request.
Scholastic, Inc. buckled. Peter Warwick, President and CEO of Scholastic, issued an apology. Suggesting edits to Ms. Tokuda-Hall’s Author Note, his statement said, was the wrong approach “and not in keeping with Scholastic’s values.“
Even after Scholastic offered to include her book in its library collection without any changes to her Author Note, Ms. Tokuda-Hall spitefully rejected the offer. She tweeted, “we don’t have to accept symbolic apologies. We deserve more.”
More of what? More racialized invective against the country where she has been able to live the American dream? More obliviousness to the pervasive racism in other countries today, including Japan where those of non-Japanese origin face an environment of hostility that has been described as “reminiscent of the segregation-based atmosphere of 1950s America”? More disregard of the major strides that the United States has made in combating racism, particularly in the years since the internment of Ms. Tokuda-Hall’s grandparents?
Scholastic’s “values” amount to buying into the false critical race theory narrative of an inherently racist America where white people are villainized as the oppressors and people of color are cast as the oppressed. By its apology to Ms. Tokuda-Hall, Scholastic has demonstrated its willingness to disseminate such anti-American propaganda to its impressionable young readers.
Caedran Sullivan, the Kansas high school English teacher, courageously spoke out against the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion indoctrination the staff members at her school were being required to incorporate in their teaching and interactions with their students. The head of Scholastic, Inc., on the other hand, cowered under pressure from a self-righteous children’s book author. He apologized for his company’s suggested edits that would have removed rhetoric from Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s Author Note that threatened to turn impressionable young children against their country and against each other.
We need many more educators to speak truth to power like Ms. Sullivan to counter the DEI juggernaut at schools across the country that the mega children’s book company Scholastic, Inc. seems all too willing to enable.