Parents derail hiring of toxic Critical Race Theory consultant in California school district.
School Board had no problem with her radical views, but parents went ballistic!
Exposure goes viral – featured on national Fox News!
Part of outrageous district-wide plan to indoctrinate children.
June 18, 2021
A few parents can make a big difference if the pressure is put in the right places. This is also a story about how these poisonous agendas get into our schools.
Hermosa Beach is a small beachside community in the South Bay section of Los Angeles County. It is one of the wealthiest school districts in the state of California. For years, the students have consistently earned some of the highest test scores, and parents have been more than happy to raise taxes when state lawmakers cut funding to school districts during hard economic times.
The Hermosa Beach school district seemed like a ripe target for the radical left’s latest propaganda: Critical Race Theory (CRT). The elected school officials consider themselves “modern” and “progressive” and were becoming increasingly “woke” – and the community trusted them. When the teachers’ union and others pushed this “new important” program, the school officials didn’t want to be left behind.
How they went about incorporating the CRT curriculum is a veritable clinic of the leftist strategy to bring a very controversial new agenda into a school system. We’ve seen this around the country.
The roadmap: a “District Equity Resolution”
It’s worth studying. The resolution includes a long-winded declaration that there is “institutional and structural racism and injustice” in society at large and in their own community. This includes every person in the school district and their staff – and it’s “affecting student achievement.” (It also lists “gender, gender identity, sexual orientation” among the “biases in our own school district” that must be cleansed.)
The resolution then calls for the creation of an “Equity Task Force” to investigate the district’s racism and injustice further, then create an “Equity Agenda” for fixing it with “Measurable Targets.”
Not surprisingly, this translates into hardcore propaganda sessions for all students in virtually every classroom plus “training sessions” for all staff. There was also a call for “community engagement” – which means spending more money to persuade parents and others that this program is a good thing.
Disguising the true nature and intent of a program is a standard leftist tactic. The term “Critical Race Theory” is nowhere to be found in any of the material (except on their web page where they attempt to deny it). But that’s exactly what it is.
The Equity Task Force was implemented very quickly. This concept of setting up a “task force” to push an offensive agenda into a school district goes back to the 1990s with sex education. The organizers include a wide range of people from the community: school staff, parents, students, administrators, School Board members, and others. This is to give it the aura of a broad-based consensus and input. But the participants are very carefully chosen (to be sufficiently passive), and the core leaders are radicals who are trained experts at directing the group’s decisions. It’s a very common strategy.
The Task Force also set up an “Equity and Inclusion webpage” with “resources and updates” of the Task Force’s work and progress.
MassResistance gets involved
A group of Hermosa Beach parents who monitor and discuss local politics in a social media group became alarmed and began following this disturbing development. The group shared clips of various School Board and Task Force meetings and other material.
In January 2021, our MassResistance Organization Director, Arthur Schaper (who lives in nearby Torrance, CA), got involved to help with this specific issue. Arthur had worked with several of the parents in the past on various local school and civic issues.
The parents were very worried about this but weren’t sure what to do. Arthur encouraged them to take direct action. He told them to file FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, to get parents to confront the School Board, and to expose to the community what is going on. They agreed with Arthur’s approach. From there, the parents were off and running!
Taking on the School Board
The parents found out that the School Board was spending considerable money on radical outside consulting groups to create and implement their “equity” agenda. It was clearly a “Critical Race Theory” and Marxist agenda that was coming to their school system.
Parents started speaking up at the School Board meetings, held remotely via Zoom. Actual public testimony was replaced by emailing the Board, and the Superintendent would read the emails aloud during the meeting. Other parents contacted the Board members directly with their expressions of outrage. At first, just a few got involved, but the number steadily grew as parents lost their fear and reticence.
A parent exposes the horror about to come
Then, the April 13 Equity Task Force meeting included a presentation from a consultant whom the Task Force was hiring, Dr. Sheri Atwater. She is a psychologist and specialist in “diversity, inclusion, and equity” (DEI), and was being hired to design the training sessions for students in classrooms and also school staff. The meeting was via Zoom and made accessible to the public.
Atwater talked about white privilege, identity, and white supremacy, and how important it was to deal with those issues, even in elementary school. “This is the time to build into the curriculum the implicit biases that we all have,” she told the Board. For example: She will ask children to “raise their hands if they are a racist.” No one raises his hand. But by the end of the session she teaches them that they really are racists, but didn’t know it. Now they know.
One of the parents watched the meeting, and was shocked. He made a video of Atwater’s remarks and posted it on YouTube:
The video alarmed parents across the city of Hermosa Beach. At the May 12 School Board meeting, parents flooded the Board with angry emails, which the Superintendent read aloud. Parents were livid about Critical Race Theory being taught to children, and especially Atwater’s offensive teaching methods. Coincidentally, Atwater was also there to give a presentation to the Board.
The Board members were very condescending to the parents’ concerns, and simply called them “fearful.” “I encourage the community to come together on this, so they’ll become more comfortable,” one Board member said. Atwater, true to her Marxist roots, described this process as a “journey” and quoted Lenin, saying that it would be, “two steps forward, one step back.” The Board then thanked Atwater for her “great definition of leadership” in this matter. It was like spitting in the face of the worried parents.
To try and mitigate the situation, the Superintendent sent a letter to all the school district parents. It used the kind of “educrat-speak” that everyone dislikes:
During the May 12 Board meeting, some Hermosa Beach residents and parents raised concern over the school district hiring a consultant, Dr. Sheri Atwater … Our goal as educators, and I believe as a school community, is to ensure that school is a place where opportunities are available for all students, regardless of label … Dr. Atwater is working with staff to support our goal to meet the needs of all students.
But parents weren’t buying it.
The video goes viral – and makes international news!
Over the next few weeks, the parent’s video of Atwater went viral around the world.
On May 17, The College Fix did an article exposing it. Then on May 21, Laura Ingraham did a scathing commentary on it during her national Fox News TV show. (Note: The video of that segment is not accessible, only the transcript and a screenshot.)
The following day, the Daily Mail out of the United Kingdom did an article on Ingraham’s coverage.
It was wonderful! People from across the United States – and beyond – became focused on what Hermosa Beach was about to do to their young students.
A few days after that, it was quietly reported that Dr. Sheri Atwater had decided not to take the job. On May 27 the Superintendent sent out this email:
As I shared last week, the Board of Education received public comment that raised concern over the school district hiring a consultant, Dr. Sheri Atwater. Dr. Atwater was hired to facilitate staff discussions and professional development around HBCSD's emphasis on equity and inclusion.
Unfortunately, a national cable news outlet and other online media continued to broadcast a short video clip of Dr. Atwater speaking in an Equity Task Force meeting, the video purposely edited to misconstrue her message and meaning in a long, thoughtful conversation. This misinformation attracted national debate and because of it, Dr. Atwater has experienced concerns for her safety and well-being, also affecting her core professional responsibilities as a professor with Loyola Marymount University. As a consequence, she has decided to not move forward as an external consultant for HBCSD.
This is very disingenuous - but par for the course for dishonest school officials. The video did not "misconstrue her message and meaning." Anyone watching her entire frightening remarks would would see that it was a very fair representation. It's also insulting to suggest that she would have to fear for her safety. It sounds like she wants to be "safe" from having to explain herself to parents!
In any case, parents are breathing a sigh of relief that she's gone. It is a huge psychological victory against this arrogant School Board. But there’s still work to do. The whole Critical Race Theory train needs to be derailed in Hermosa Beach. We’re going to help them work on that.
It’s a common situation where parents see what’s going on and are very upset, but don’t do anything about it. MassResistance is proud that Arthur Schaper was able to inspire the parents to act – and equip them with tactics.
A few of the parents made a point of thanking us for that! One mother said:
Arthur helped inspire the team to go after the School Board. We would not have been following exactly what was going in the school district if Arthur had strongly encouraged us to do that. He gave the Hermosa Beach activists tips and directions on what to do to take on the School Board: reach out to residents, write emails, file FOIA requests, and more!
Another local resident wrote us:
I wish to tell you how much I admire the work of Arthur Schaper. I will tell you up front that in the beginning, I was not a fan. What I discovered after some time was that Arthur had the courage of his convictions and over time I switched to being a fan. Slowly he changed my mind and I began to admire him.
Most recently, Arthur said in a polite way that I was not stepping up. I had my reasons for not stepping up, but I thought about what he said. The end result was that I did finally step up in my own way. It was because of Arthur that I mustered the courage to speak up.
Please give Arthur a pat on the back for his efforts. His work is not going unnoticed in my tiny community of Hermosa Beach, CA.
We’re thrilled that MassResistance was able to make a difference!
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