Last week we reported on an incident where Ms. Melissa Wilson—a high school English teacher at Heritage High School—had her students take a Diversity Inventory that asks them to identify their sexual orientation, gender, religion, socio-economic class, as well of those of their family members, doctors, etc.
We thought this incident was shocking on its own, but once we began to research it, we uncovered something that is going to outrage parents all across the state.
Earlier this morning we attended a first-hand meeting with a Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) Human Resources (HR) representative and parents who were outraged and demanding action on behalf of the school regarding the incident. Below we are going to reveal some of what went on in that meeting, as well as a major revelation we discovered on—ironically enough—labor day. All identities have been redacted, as many claimed during that meeting that they have already been harrassed for initially voicing their objection to the Diversity Inventory.
In short, we have discovered that the Wake County Public Schools System's Equity Affairs office has been conducting training seminars on the "Social Justice Standards," which is intended to educate and activate students to advance a particular socialist/social democratic political ideology. These training seminars are attended to and promoted by everyone from principals, to teachers, to schools, to entire departments. There are arguably hundreds of tweets from WCPSS educators discussing these training seminars, and stating how they are implementing them in classrooms ranging from elementary science, to high school literature, to middle school math.
One teacher even shows a picture of her morning circle of 4th graders, with a tweet explaining how she is teaching them social justice, while a new age spiritualist quote sits on the powerpoint in the background.
This email will be long, and full of examples of teachers and administrators who—in their own words—explain how the Equity Affairs office is training them to implement the Social Justice Standards in their classrooms, as well as provide statements and photos of them doing this very thing.
We ask for your patience given the amount of information we want to share with you, and that if possible you read this email and review its photos in full, as its contents will shock you. We'll provide you an outline of what we discovered, as well as incidents and first-hand witnesses from this morning's meeting.
I. CHAPTER 1: TEACHER: MELISSA WILSON
Last week a number of students came home and complained that a teacher had them conduct a "Diversity Inventory" assignment. Students were asked to write their name, and then identify the sexuality, gender, religion, ability, and socio-economic class of their teachers, fellow students, themselves, their parents, even their doctor.
We learned this morning that it went much further than this. Students were also asked to stand up, and walk towards posters in different areas of the room that correlated with their sexual identities. Students were traumatized. Some were even brought to tears. At this morning's meeting, one parent said that her student had been experiencing PTSD from the incident. Another student didn't attend school on Friday, and is so scared to return to Wilson's classroom environment that they told their parent they hoped the hurricane would distract everyone from this incident. Another parent's child Facetimed them in the middle of the classroom to tell them how uncomfortable they were with the assignment. Another student had a friend who had recently shared very private information about themselves to a select number of their peers, and went white when the teacher asked students to now stand and reveal their private identities.
When the students expressed discomfort, the teacher's response was to tell them it was alright because she used to be Catholic and is now a bi-sexual atheist.
Let's get one thing straight: this was not a voluntary assignment. The students and parents made that clear during the meeting, and the fact students were asked to stand and publicly identify their choices confirms it was not voluntary.
Let's also make this clear: this was neither a one-time offense, nor a single parent's complaint.
In addition to there being seven angry adults in this morning's HR meeting, one parent handed us a large stack of printed copies of emails and messages from other parents complaining about the incident, but who were too scared to go public with their complaints (for fear of being called a bigot, being harassed by neighbors, or having their children face ramifications at school). They had good reason, too. One of the parents in attendance expressed how after they went public with their outrage, a teacher commented on their post—during school hours—and attacked them for complaining about the assignment. The teacher defended Ms. Wilson, and stated the assignment was a good thing. Other parents have been messaged on Facebook and called a bigot. One even had their home vandalized last night.
In addition to all of these incidents, we also learned that this was not a once-time incident. Ms. Melissa Wilson apparently has given this assignment in the past.
And this assignment seems to be illegal.
According to the 20 U.S. Code § 1232h.Protection of Pupil Rights, subjection (b) states:
(b)Limits on survey, analysis, or evaluations No student shall be required, as part of any applicable program, to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning—
(1)political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent;
(2)mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family;
(3)sex behavior or attitudes;
(4)illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
(5)critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
(6)legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
(7)religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
(8)income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program),
without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unem
Miss Wilson's assignment seems to violate the Protection of Pupil rights subsection
(b) (3) on surveying "sex behaviors or attitudes" where her inventory asks for "sexuality;"
- it seems to violate (b) (5) “Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships" where she asks for the identity traits of "my teacher" "my close friends" and my doctor;
- it seems to violate (b) (6) “Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers," where her inventory asks for the identity traits of the students doctors;
- it seems to violate (b) (7) “Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent" where it asks for the religion of the child and their parents;
and it seems to violate (b) (8) “income" where it asks for their socio-economic status.
The outraged parents asked for the teacher to be placed on leave, given the fear they had for their children and their current discomfort. Instead, the HR representative responded that they would handle this internally. When the parents asked for a timeline in which they could get an update, the representative refused to give one. This was in spite of the revelation that the teacher's survey violated the Protection of Pupil Rights, and inflicted emotional harm and an invasion of privacy of the students.
And this is when things get really shocking. Enter the Heritage High School Principal and WCPSS Communications Director's response.
II. CHAPTER 2: PRINCIPAL LYONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR LUTON
In response to the parental outrage, the WCPSS Communications Director, Lisa Luten, claimed that the teacher was asked to cease the activity after internal review. Their statement said: “We will continue to work with educators on how to effectively lead important conversations connected to identity, culture, and other sensitive topics as appropriate.” They claimed that "The Diversity Inventory worksheet in question is not a district-provided resource."
The media widely reported—and the Communications Director's statement inferred—that this seemed like a rogue and one-time incident. Afterall, the Communications Director claimed this worksheet is not a district-provided resource.
However, a letter from Principal Scott Lyons dated February 20th 2019 addressed Ms. Wilson using a similar assignment in her 10th grade English class. After outcry from parents, he claims to have conducted a careful analysis and concludes:
“I have carefully conducted a review that included interviewing and/or gathering information. Additionally, I have contacted human resources department for guidance on this matter. The review indicates that the lesson has been used and is continued to be used at high schools through the district. . . Additionally, the lesson as a whole may have been best served if it was used further into the semester when students and teachers are more comfortable with each other.”
The WCPSS Communications Director's statement seems to infer that this is not a district-provided resource, however the Principal acknowledges that not only has this happened with this same teacher before, but that his research concludes "the lesson has been used and is continued to be used at high schools throughout the district."
And this is just the beginning. It gets even crazier!
III. CHAPTER 3: THE HERITAGE HIGH SCHOOL "SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT TEAM"
After discovering the contrasting statements between the communications director claiming this was not a district activity, and the principal back in February claiming it was, we were suspicious and began to do some digging. We discovered that both the principal and Ms. Wilson served on the recent "School Improvement Team". The goal of the team was as follows: “Part of the Core Beliefs of the School Improvement Plan is: The Board of Education, superintendent, and all staff value a diverse school community that is inviting, respectful, inclusive, flexible, and supportive.”
The team produced four purposes for effective practice:
- “Curriculum and instructional alignment”
- “High expectations for all staff and students:"
- "Student support services”
- “Family Engagement”
We discovered that on May 4th, the WCPSS Equity Affairs Office held a seminar for educators to learn how to disrupt biases and enact social change. The four effective practices they focused on were remarkably similar to those stated by the School Improvement team. A photo of the seminar from an educator reveals this connection in relation to "disrupting biases" and being part of "societal change."
This begged the question: what is the WCPSS Equity Affairs office, what are they training educators to do, and is there a connection with what Ms. Wilson did in the class? And it now gets even more shocking...
IV. CHAPTER 4: THE WCPSS EQUITY AFFAIRS OFFICE
Within the WCPSS is an office for Equity Affairs. It states as its mission "to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy." It goes about this mission by "teaching tolerance," "provid[ing] free resources to teachers . . . to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create civil and inclusive school communities" Furthermore, "Our Social Justice Standards show how anti-bias education works through the four domains of identity, diversity, justice and action."
The WCPSS Equity Affairs office conducts events all over the district that train teachers to implement the "Social Justice Standards" within their classrooms—regardless of the grade or subject being taught.
So what is the "Social Justice Standards"?
The Social Justice Standards is a framework of four anchors that teach 20 standards. The four anchors are:
There are plenty of tweets from teachers and administrators from packed rooms where the Equity Affairs office conducts training seminars where you can see the Social Justice Standards anchors on presentations. They also hand out copies of the red Social Justice Standards. These events are promoted and liked on twitter by educators, departments, official school and district accounts, etc. Here are two examples of them promoting their Social Justice Standards training for September 7th, and a teacher showing her distributed Social Justice Standards red document and stating she was "learning how to implement [it] into my curriculum."
So besides the framework, why does the Social Justice Standards exist and what does it teach? The four anchors are designed with the following purpose stated on Tolerance.org's Social Justice Standards website:
- “Students will develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society. Students will develop language and historical and cultural knowledge that affirm and accurately describe their membership in multiple identity groups. Students will recognize that people’s multiple identities interact and create unique and complex individuals. Students will express pride, confidence and healthy self-esteem without denying the value and dignity of other people. Students will recognize traits of the dominant culture, their home culture and other cultures and understand how they negotiate their own identity in multiple spaces.”
The framework accomplishes this goal by training teachers to insert lessons into their curriculum that teach the four anchors and the 20 standards.
It isn't a surprise that several of the sample modules in the Social Justice Standards are almost identical to the lesson Ms. Wilson performed in her class that outraged parents and robbed kids of their privacy.
For example, the identity anchor contains a lesson that asks students to identify the gender, ethnicity, race, religion, socioeconomic states, and sexual orientation of different photographed individuals. A second module asks them to identify their own, and whether they are visible or invisible (and why). This seems to directly parallel Ms. Wilson and others Diversity Inventory. However, even the module of looking at photos of students and identifying their identity has parallels. One parent revealed to us that during a class, the teacher pointed at a student and claimed because she was a white female, she was likely to be able to afford lunch. Regardless of how inappropriate this was, it reflects the Social Justice Standards module of identifying the identities of the photographed individuals, however the teacher opted to out a students as a live demonstration instead of using the photos.
Here are some photos from the Social Justice Standards achor 1 identity module, and you can see the parallel with the Diversity Inventory document assignment Miss Wilson handed out. Apparently Miss Wilson seems to simply be implementing the Social Justice Standards via her Diversity Inventory:
Here are further examples of modules/lessons:
- Identity Anchor
- A module on identifying identities from profile photos
- A module on identifying one's own invisible and visible identities
- Diversity Anchor
- A module on examining and creating LGBT-safe spaces and inclusive school environments
- Justice Anchor
- A module on positively appraising Cesar Chavez and labor movements
- A module on rating your privilege, where the most privilege points are awarded to white males, and individuals in welcoming families
- Action Anchor
- A module encouraging girls to read Six-to Twelve-Year-Olds Talk about Gays and Lesbians
- A module on getting students to talk to a group of little children about social justice
- A module positively examining labor movement boycotts
The WCPSS Equity Affairs office conducts trainings on implementing the Social Justice Standards and these four anchors all across the district. The past year evidences training seminars across schools and departments. Teachers and principals even actively promote the events, recruit fellow teachers and administrators, and share how they plan on implementing the Social Justice Standards training in their elementary, middle, high school, english, science, and even math classes. Here are some of their own public tweets showing the training and explaining how they will use them in their own words.
A tweet from a principal at Rolesville Middle School recruiting teachers to attend the WCPSS Equity Affairs Social Justice Standards training session on September 7th
Collaborative events between Equity Affairs and Safe Schools NC teach educators in public facilities
Teachers are encouraged to not use pronouns and avoid “micro aggressions;" instead use "scholars" "authors." On discussing LGBT+ identities of famous scientists, one presentation encourages them "don't shy away from it!"
Teacher Liu Laoshi is trained on the Social Justice implementations, and she states “Social justice is a process that I should start from my own classroom”
Wake Forest Elementary School's science department promoted and encouraged educators to adopt culturally responsive science teaching that utilizes "sociopolitical consciousness"
Teacher Supriya V teaches a circle of 4th graders about “discussing the relation b/w social justice” during her morning circle with her kids. A new age spiritualist named Eckhart Tolle's quote sits in the background on the screen.
The list goes on an on, and anyone can read the hundreds of tweets here
from educators on how they are implementing the Social Justice Standards WCPSS Equity Affairs training in their classrooms.
V. CHAPTER 5: THE REMAINING QUESTION; ROGUE TEACHER OR DISTRICT WIDE ISSUE?
I think most every parent can agree that it is wrong to invade a child's privacy, and it is especially wrong for educators to use their positions and their captive student audiences to proselytize either their faith or their political ideology. The Social Justice Standards four anchors and their sampled module activities quickly reveal the attempt to disciple children to adopt and act upon a very specific social democratic political ideology.
This is not only clear in the sample module lessons the Standards—and the WCPSS Equity Office who trains teachers to use it—give in appraising labor organizing, identity politics, and helping students identify their privilege. But it is especially evident in anchor four, which focuses on getting the students to organize for "collective action."
Number 20 of the standards within this anchor states as its goal to get students to "plan and carry out collective action against bias and injustice in the world and will evaluate what strategies are most effective."
This "collective action"
is a hallmark of the socialist/social democratic ideology, and the tolerance.org website even contains a database that is filterable by grade level, taught subject, and anchor category to find lesson plans to teach students collective action on everything from challenging the Judeo Christian academic calendar, to using their social media profiles to advocate for a particular and ideologically-specific understanding of social justice.In short, these connected dots show that the WCPSS's Equity Affairs office is actively training educators across the district to implement social justice into their curriculum. Two of the modules of sample lessons in the identity anchor were likely used by Miss Wilson in her Heritage High School English class. She may even have gotten them from the district's Equity Affairs office...We're suspicious that the Diversity Inventory may be one of the items distributed at these Equity Affairs Social Justice Statement training seminars. At the very least, both of the examples given in her class, and the document itself, seem to directly reflect the sample lessons and spirit in the Social Justice Standards document that Equity Affairs distributes and trains teachers to implement. We have even seen messages from other parents stating other teachers have used this same document at Heritage High School, and in February earlier this year, the Heritage High School principal stated that after his research he discovered the lesson was used across the district, and that his problem with it was that it should have occurred later in the semester. In his own words.
In closing, this doesn't at all seem to be a rogue teacher incident. This has occurred in the past from the same teacher, parents claim other teachers in the department have used it, the principal claims it was used throughout the district, and the district's official WCPSS Equity Affairs office is actively training educators to implement the Social Justice Standards into their curriculum (and with it, sample lessons that are nearly identical to the Diversity Inventory that invaded these children's privacies). We now must find out whether Miss Wilson attended a WCPSS Equity Affairs Social Justice Training seminar, whether she received this document at a seminar, what other teachers in the district have used it or are using it, what other anchor lessons they are implementing to advance the social justice ideology into their curriculum, and just how widespread this problem is.
Whether you want to teach your child to be Christian, or a social democrat, or even a communist, it is your family's private business. Families and churches are charged with teaching these values; not public school (because they are public and need to maintain a neutrality and respect of privacy). When public schools try to radicalize youth or abuse their teaching responsibilities, it leads to emotional wounds like those experienced and voiced by the impacted students. It is not the business of the state through public education to do it for you; and that's exactly what is happening when teachers are trained to modify their curriculums to train their students to learn and act on social justice (whereas that time should actually be spent teaching them English, Math, and Science; the things taxpayers are paying for their kids to be taught)
Would you take a minute to take our survey letting us know if you believe teachers should be teaching social justice standards in their Elementary, Middle School, and High School English, Math, and Science classes? Would you also let us know if your child's teacher is currently doing so?