Superintendent ‘doubled down and retaliated’ against student and mother
A charter school in Nevada has rebuffed a student trying to opt out of a mandatory class that promotes discrimination against whites, according to his mother.
Gabrielle Clark’s lawyer warned Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus in a letter last week that the school was violating mother and son’s constitutional rights and creating a “hostile and divisive educational environment.”
It also claimed Superintendent Steve Popper “doubled down and retaliated” against Clark and her son “on multiple occasions” after they sought an accommodation.
“Sociology of Change” is required for graduation, yet the course content “served no apparent pedagogical purpose beyond ideological thought reform,” lawyer Jonathan O’Brien wrote to Popper. The student is biracial and his late father was white:
As such they object to the glib racism of your course materials and programming, which includes statements in no apparent context like “Racism is what white people do to people of color,” repeated ad infinitum.
The letter reprints a SpongeBob SquarePants meme allegedly used in the course materials that says “reverse racism doesn’t exist.” Organizational psychologist Karlyn Borysenko shared that and other slides from the class in September, including one that excuses “black prejudice” because it supposedly can’t hurt whites.
These images are from a class called "Sociology of Change" at @DPAgassiCampus. This is a required class to graduate from this charter school. They are teaching this to teenagers. pic.twitter.com/Bh3MTBU6q8
— President-Elect Karlyn Borysenko (@DrKarlynB) September 16, 2020
The teacher “explicitly discouraged disagreement, terminating class discussion when students objected to the content of the class materials,” and “repeatedly” told students to “publicly profess their sexual, racial, and religious identities” in order to scrutinize them “in a derogatory manner,” according to O’Brien’s letter.
The lawyer called this exercise “psychologically abusive,” “an offensive violation of privacy” and “compelled speech,” and yet such exercises “are pervasive to the class and homework assignments.” The course content is “patently racist” and violates both federal civil rights law and the school’s contractual agreement with the Nevada state charter authority.
The letter implies the school is hiding discriminatory course content from regulators “under the guise” of ordinary-sounding class titles that mention “civic engagement” and “social justice,” rather than accurately identifying the course as indoctrinating students in critical race theory.
School’s lawyer decided to ‘blow smoke up my ass’
Clark’s tweet about the letter includes an earlier response from the school’s executive director, Adam Johnson, rejecting the family’s request to let him opt out of “Sociology of Change.”
Despite reviewing the syllabus and materials Clark provided, Johnson said the course is “a valuable learning experience” and her son will be stopped from graduating if he doesn’t finish it. Johnson portrayed the top-down race-shaming and anti-white stereotypes in the course as “civil academic and social discourse.”
The course is “intrinsic” to students’ completion of their “Change the World” project in which they analyze “social change movements and theory,” the executive director wrote in the Sept. 18 letter.
O’Brien’s legal threat letter said senior staff of the school and the nationwide Democracy Prep organization “were party to these threats on multiple occasions, and did nothing” even as the student was preparing to submit college applications.
The lawyer warned Popper not to test the courts by requiring the student to attend “ideologically loaded classes” whose stated goal is to “change students’ fundamental personal convictions.”
Clark tweeted Monday that she’ll “press on” because the school’s counsel and assistant superintendent decided to “blow smoke up my ass” at a meeting that followed O’Brien’s letter.
The College Fix has asked Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus, Johnson and the national organization’s Board of Trustees for its response to the letter, especially the retaliation claim.