The Florida Board of Education is set to double-down on another agenda which many parents regard as radical and divisive, raising concerns about who the board claims to represent.
In November of this year, Florida school district parents were shocked and disgusted by the discovery of a children’s book in the S. S. Seward School library which showed, in graphic detail, two cartoon male children engaging in oral and anal sex. Many parents struggled to understand why the BOE President, John Redman, defended the pornographic book’s placement in the library. Now, without allowing parents time to catch their footing on the first issue, Redman is quickly moving the Florida BOE on a vote: to pay forty-five thousand dollars to introduce a Critical Race Theory learning platform to the Florida school district.
“It was very difficult to comprehend” said one parent, “that a book on pedophilia was being offered in the school library. At first, I couldn’t believe it. And then, when I saw the screenshots, I couldn’t believe that John Redman supports keeping it. What he is doing, I would imagine, is against the law. This is obscene.” She continued, “If an adult was showing these pictures to kids outside the school grounds, they would get arrested for indecency. What on earth is going on here?”
The placement of the illustrated book Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe in the public school library raised concerns around the district and packed the November BOE meeting. Florida parents came to demand the Board remove the book. However, prior to that meeting, aware that Florida citizens were deeply disturbed and would be attending en masse, Redman quickly introduced new rules which restricted who could speak and for how long. When asked about these new limits on speaking by one parent, Redman responded “I will ask the office to send you the full policy which we have been forced to implement because of disruptions and those who feel that they have unlimited time to spout their views.” Redman’s view that parents who disagree with the BOE’s ideological agenda are “spouting their views” has further confused and frustrated the parents he was elected to represent.
Redman invited a few speakers to the BOE meeting who claimed that this book was necessary resource material for LGBTQ students. Florida parents watched in disbelief as these guest speakers justified this material to the audience. A mother of one child reacted “Here’s the real question: Would reasonable parents or educators believe that a book like Gender Queer and literature like it, which I would argue is nothing short of kiddie porn, is appropriate or beneficial to the well-being of school-aged children regardless of gender identity or sexual preference? Is this a good thing for our kids? The answer is ‘no.’”
Is John Redman attempting to promote this material? Or was this just an oversight by whoever ordered this literature? This is something all the people of Florida can agree that reasonable and concerned parents should know. An answer might be found in Redman’s reaction as the emails of frustration poured into the Board of Education. Redman responded to one parent, who demanded the book be taken out of her child’s school: “This book has already prevailed in at least one court case that by legal definition it is not pornography.”
As Florida citizens slowly began to discover what had happened at that meeting, and that Redman was digging his heels in on keeping the book in the library, he then announced at the December 2nd BOE work-session that he would allocate forty-five thousand dollars, paid to a consulting firm, for the introduction of the Critical Race Theory system termed “Culturally Responsive” teaching.
“They are moving very fast on all this. They know a backlash of Florida citizens is coming and they want their agenda firmly in place before that happens,” remarked a Florida mother with two students in the district.
What is CRS?
Earlier this year, Warwick parents had to educate themselves swiftly on the “Culturally Responsive Sustaining” platform their district was being pressured to adopt. They discovered that it was a worldview which racialized curriculum, teaching children to identify themselves primarily by where they might fit on the Intersectional spectrum (which “oppressed” group identity they can claim: race, gender, sexuality, etc). CRS teaches children that our nation and its institutions are discriminatory, racist, and unfair.
Warwick parents began to circulate YouTube videos of the primary racial theorist behind the CRS experiment, Dr. David Kirkland, whom they came to regard as a racist charlatan. They researched the concept of “equity” and discovered it to mean something very different from “equality of opportunity.” “Equity,” they came to understand, was a rationalization for deconstructing areas of academia in which a student’s placement is based on their hard work. When “Honors” and “Gifted and Talented” programs do not reflect the demographic agendas of bureaucrats, they are cancelled. Equity is the destructive “equality of outcomes.” Warwick parents then began to rally around new candidates for the Board of Education and eventually succeeded in removing a 15-year incumbent.
The War on Parents
“I feel that there is a war on parents, like there is an agenda that has nothing to do with real education, but something else, something hostile” said another Florida parent. This reflection of hostility that Florida parents are feeling may be coming from the very top. John Redman’s Board of Education hired Larry Leaven to be Superintendent of Florida schools in August. However, Larry Leaven’s social media feed does not indicate that he is an ideologically neutral administrator.
Superintendent Larry Leaven
Leaven was director of the Dalton School in Hong Kong, and served two years as the principal of the Beijing International Bilingual Academy in Beijing, China. Despite his apparent cultural breadth, Leaven’s twitter account was discovered to be fraught with extreme slurs against a racial group and people belonging to a faith. Leaven singles out White Christian Evangelicals by labeling them as “dangerous” and “racists.”
The next link that Leaven is retweeting mocks parents at school board meetings for not wanting Critical Race Theory in the schools. The video racially disparages White parents for standing up to the racism and hate they saw embedded in CRT. Apparently, many parents of Florida give Larry Leaven “ugly chills.” At the 5:22 mark is what Leaven “agrees is racism in action.” Watch:
If the parents of Florida’s school children were confused about whether or not the presence of the book in the library was simply an oversight, BOE President Redman’s correspondences are revealing. If there is any ambiguity on why CRS is being proposed, Larry Leaven’s tweets give clarity on that question. Redman is not only defending his hard turn towards a Progressive agenda, but is doubling down. Before waiting for the smoke to clear on the controversy surrounding the Gender Queer book, Redman is quickly moving to put the forty-five thousand dollar CRS item up for a vote at the December 16th BOE meeting. The Superintendent’s bigoted Tweets and the BOE President’s racialized curriculum demonstrate that both men are of the same mind on these far-Left issues. Larry Leaven was likely hired by John Redman precisely because of their shared ideological objectives. These controversial items do not appear to be accidental or careless. These are deliberate and being tactically executed while the opposition is distracted.
A father of two children remarked, “I’m so busy with my job and my family. I just didn’t see any of this coming. When did the Board of Education turn against and become so hostile to the people they are supposed to be serving?”
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