Small Town America Needs to be Rescued

New Elementary School Principal Tonja Neve is now looking over Exeter’s children at Main Street Elementary School

By Ray Cardello for November 18, 2021 Season 7 / Post 9

I live in Exeter, a small town of 15,000 in the seacoast area of New Hampshire. Exeter is the birthplace of the Republican Party and home to the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy. It is an average town when you look at the demographics, but it has always been able to boast an above-average educational system. It isn’t easy to evaluate over the last two years due to COVID, but Exeter’s ranking in the state and nationally is slipping. That has been changing of late and not the way Exeter’s citizens would like. More money spent for lesser results is not new math.

There are facts about the Exeter school system that are even more concerning than the drop-off in ranking. Decisions made by our Superintendent, Dr. David Ryan, are now being called into question by awakened parents and taxpayers. Two decisions particularly raised eyebrows were hiring a principal for one of our elementary schools who openly supported Critical Race Theory in her previous position in Arizona and the addition of a director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Exeter is 95% white but has two black members of our Select Board and no history of racially related issues. This new director does play into an emphasis on CRT and DEIJ in the curriculum. People would rather see a focus on educational skills.

The other issue of concern is the number of lawsuits against the school department. The latest count is 4in the last year initiated by students and one by a dismissed teacher. Five lawsuits are five too many. These cases include:

  1. 22 families filed suit against SAU16 over Mask Mandate, which keeps students in masks for over 8 hours a day, including transportation time to and from school
  2. Last spring, Exeter High School held its Senior Prom. The event was held outdoors, but COVID protocols were followed. The unidentified staff took it one step further by identifying students in attendance who had not been Vaxxed by numbering their hands with magic markers. At intervals throughout the night, students who were “marked” were told to hold their hands up high to identify those around them. Those students marked filed suit against the SAU.
  3. Also, in the spring, a day was set aside to have students honor their heroes. One student wore a Thin Blue Line shirt to honor police. His teacher was offended and removed the student from class. The lawsuit quickly followed.
  4. A teacher in her 40s was dismissed, replaced by a younger teacher in her 20s. The age discrimination suit began
  5. Last week a student was suspended from athletic activities because of the following as detailed on thegranitegrok.com
    1. M. P., who is a believing Catholic, had an exchange with a politically progressive student on a school bus in which he affirmed that there are only two genders: male and female. The progressive student, who is not transgender, later engaged M. P. in an exchange of text messages on the issue, in which M. P. reaffirmed his views. The student then turned a copy of this text conversation over to Vice Principal Dovholuk, who confronted M. P. with printed copies of the text messages. M. P. was then subject to an athletic suspension. Exeter adopted a Gender Nonconforming Students policy in 2016. In addition to the policy’s provision that “[a] student has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to the student’s gender identity,” it also includes a broader rule: “the intentional… refusal to respect a student’s gender identity… is a violation of this policy.” In applying this policy, the defendants have not only punished a student for expressing an opinion, but seek to compel students to use “non-binary” pronouns such as the singular pronoun “they.”

In addition to the obvious expense to the taxpayers of Exeter who have to pay to defend the SAU and then foot the bill for any settlements, the Education Department is a stain on our proud town. These incidents indicate a systemic problem with the department. That problem is a lack of respect for students, their parents, and the goal of educating our children. They have decided to indoctrinate not educate and the parents in Exeter have said, NO. Not in our town and not with our children.

The battle is simple. Take back the school system from the WOKE administrators and give it back to the true heroes, the parents. God bless them and support them in this fight.

This article was first published on The Liberty Loft thelibertyloft.com

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