When Woke Goes Too Far

Andres Mejia, Director of DEIJ for SAU 16, Exeter, NH

By Ray Cardello for October 23, 2021 Season 6 / Post 33

I live in a small town on the Seacoast of New Hampshire. Exeter is known to be the birthplace of the Republican Party. The event took place in a building right down the street from my home and Phillips Exeter Academy. Inside this historic building, then known as Major Blake’s Hotel/Tavern, on Oct. 12, 1853, 14 gentlemen representing several political parties listened as Amos Tuck proposed their collective unity, coalescing under one banner — “Republicans.” New Hampshire had been a proud Red state for decades and was one of the reasons I moved here from neighboring Massachusetts forty years ago.

The state seems to be moving back towards its conservative roots, but the Seacoast and Exeter specifically are entrenched with Liberal and Democrat elected officials. This prevailing ideology also means our local school board, which ironically is housed in the original Tuck High School. The name on the building is as close as this board comes to conservative thinking.

The school board in Exeter is entirely autonomous from the town select board. The elected officials of the town have no oversight of the school board. Today, Exeter has a battle brewing as the parents have been awakened by recent school-related actions and are pretty vocal in their efforts to reel in this left-leaning woke board of administrators. Three events that have gained national attention are the hiring a principal for one of our elementary schools. She had been caught publicly criticizing parents in her former town in Arizona for opposing Critical Race Theory being taught in schools. Another incident involved a teacher removing a student from class on Pride Day for wearing a Thin Blue Line shirt honoring police. The teacher found the shirt offensive and is now being sued by the student’s parents. The last was the labeling of hands with a magic marker of unvaccinated students who attended the senior prom. This was supposedly done for tracking purposes but singled out and embarrassed the students who were marked.

Recently, the School Board hired a Director of DEIJ, which stands for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. The job of this director, in his own words, is “about making students feel and know that they belong so they do not have to worry about being different, which will allow them to focus on their academics.” That seems to be the description of a camp counselor, and this individual comes on board with a salary over $150,000. This salary is not far below the $170,000 paid to the Superintendent who made this ill-advised hire. Originally this director was hired to service the high school, but his responsibilities now include the elementary schools. By the way, the average teacher’s salary in Exeter is $53,000. I am sure that many of these teachers now wish they had skipped math or science classes and taken more “feel good” classes.

There is no systemic racism in this town. Though the town is predominately white, we have two people of color and three women on our select board. The primary reason that our students may “feel” different is that they are being taught, or indoctrinated, to feel that way. They are taught that there are more than two genders and that if you are white, you come from a heritage of oppressing people in other ethnic groups. The school board and the educational system have created this issue of kids unclear about their identity, and now they want to mask it by hiring a counselor to come in and have a Kumbaya moment with our children to ease their minds. The parents have seen and heard enough.

There is a movement by President Biden and the Justice Department to quell the public from criticizing their local school boards. They are threatening the use of the FBI if necessary to shut down parent input. We have an option, and that is to vote these people out. We need to encourage parents to get involved in the process and take back our schools. It has taken a generation to create this woke environment from kindergarten through college, and it will not be reversed overnight, but it has to start. Now is the time. Let’s take back our schools for our children.

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