Hilliard, Ohio City Schools are under fire after an email from administrators to teachers in which a Black History Month lesson plan included instructions for the students to advocate for a controversial local city “non-discrimination” ordinance relating in part to sexual and gender identity.
The Center for Christian Virtue (formerly Citizens for Community Values, CCV) issued a press release this week revealing the content of the email from school administrators to staff, in which teachers were given a detailed script to read to students instructing them to lobby for the ordinance.
“Among other harmful effects, the ordinance would require homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters to allow men to bathe and bunk with women. It would also require businesses and schools to allow men in women’s locker rooms or showers,” the organization explained.
In the email, teachers were told to read the following to students as part of some “intentional time” allotted to recognize Black History Month during this week’s third-period classes:
The power of student voice is remarkable and transformational! Last September, Jahari, a Hilliard high school student, contacted Hilliard City Council as to ways in which he could make our community more inclusive and accepting of all people. Two City Council members asked Jahari to leverage the power of student voice to help them expand existing anti-discrimination laws so that our city can protect people who are from communities related tosexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, marital status and pregnancy because our current law in Hilliard does not include community members related to those classes. Jahari and other students in the Reaching Out to Cat Kids group got to work!
Now, we need YOU. We need YOU to share with our elected officials in the form of a hard-copy letter why expanding the anti-discrimination legislation is necessary. If you have experienced discrimination because of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, marital status and pregnancy, please share your experiences as well so we can help the people who serve us understand us and understand why we need legislation that protects all people. There is a box where you can turn in your letter in the main office.
We are proud of Jahari, Thomas and the other members of the Reaching Out to Cat Kids group for their inclusive, transformative efforts. Students, now it is your turn to help us bring about a better tomorrow.
“This is an unprecedented violation of the public trust,” said Aaron Baer, president of Center for Christian Virtue, in response. “For Hilliard public schools to turn students into lobbyists is bad enough. But to pressure students to lobby for something as dangerous and controversial as a Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Bill is wholly unacceptable.”
“What’s worse, to order teachers to endorse legislation as harmful as a Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity law is incredibly unethical. The employees of the state come from diverse backgrounds, and should not be coerced to back such partisan and divisive legislation,” he continued, going on to call on Hilliard City Schools to issue an apology and take steps to prevent such an unbelievable violation of the community trust in the future.
That Hilliard City Schools did.
Well, sort of.
After CCV’s original email went out alerting the community to the highly unethical “lesson,” Hilliard City Schools Board of Education released the following statement:
The Hilliard City Schools Board of Education and administration has been clear on their support of diversity and inclusion of all students and supports our students’ personal involvement in the political process as they choose. However, board policy sets clear expectations that literature promoting or opposing political figures, candidates or issues, not be distributed in the school setting.
In this case, we understand that students were not required to write letters in support of a particular issue, but any distribution of political literature to our students was not appropriate and should not have occurred.
We discussed this with all involved and set new guidelines to assure this type of situation does not reoccur.
Baer expressed his gratitude that the school administration acknowledged the undeniable breach of ethics it was to try to turn students into partisan lobbyists, he said it did not seem to go far enough.
“There was a fundamental failure and breach of trust that enabled a communication like the to go out. It is a great responsibility public schools are entrusted with to shepherd young minds, and to abuse that power by forcing dangerous political agendas on students is wholly unacceptable,” he said.
He praised the community for such a strong response to the email, which he said spared students and teachers from “an unacceptable bullying and intimidation campaign.”
“The leadership at Hilliard Davidson needs to understand that celebrating diversity isn’t just about recognizing how we may look different. It’s also about respecting different perspectives and worldviews. The original email from the Hilliard Davidson administration failed to honor this timeless truth, and CCV is committed to ensuring no student or teacher is ever intimidated like this again,” he stated.
Baer is absolutely right. The fact that the Hilliard School administrators for one moment thought that it would be appropriate to encourage schoolchildren to advocate for a highly controversial city ordinance is chilling evidence in itself that simply stopping this one-time lesson plan is far from enough when it comes to scrutinizing the wildly partisan politics of our public educators.
This is nothing new.
Public schools—and the unions who represent the educators who work within their walls—are notoriously politically and ideologically biased.
The secular humanists managed to kick God out of the classroom decades ago, yet we are doing little to stop the decidedly religious ideology that has now invaded these once-great educational institutions.
If our tax dollars are going to continue to fund public schools, then the schools need to be suited for children from families of a broad range of worldviews and not indoctrination centers for the kind of radical ideology that only existed in the most fringe of circles less than a decade ago.
It is easy to imagine that, under the new administration, those who seek to weaponize our schools in this fashion will only get more emboldened.
This is why it is up to the parents to hold school administrators accountable for their actions and remind them it is the community, not their ideological agendas, that they are serving.
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