On April 28, 2023, the principal of Charles E. Brown Middle School of Newton Public Schools sent out a weekly newsletter promoting events that explicitly encourage students to be ideological activists. The principal promoted a “No Place for Hate” march for students and a zoom call for parents on perceived issues such as “homophobia” and “transphobia.” The principal states in the newsletter:
On Thursday we will be marching with Oak Hill and Newton South High School to demonstrate solidarity in our 2nd annual “No Place for Hate” march on Thursday after school – ALL members of the community are welcome to join us. Thursday evening we will be zooming in with parents (PLEASE JOIN US!) to talk together about how to support our children to be upstanding members of the community. We will share the work we are doing with students, and discuss how parents can partner with us to combat racism, homophobia, antisemitism, transphobia, ableism and other “isms” that divide us.
The newsletter has the “No Place for Hate Walk” and the zoom call on “transphobia” both dated for May 4, 2023. The purpose of the zoom call is “helping students to be upstanders.” The school explains in the newsletter that it will use the zoom call with parents to “share the work we are doing with students around building empathy to help them becoming upstanders when faced with racism, homophobia, antisemetism, anti-Asian sentiment, transphobia, ableism and other -isms.” The newsletter states:
This Thursday evening, May 4, after the No Place for Hate Walk, we will hold a zoom forum for all Brown MS parents. During the zoom we will share the work we are doing with students around building empathy to help them becoming upstanders when faced with racism, homophobia, antisemetism, anti-Asian sentiment, transphobia, ableism and other -isms. If you have not had conversations with your child before now about these issues, this is a good place to start.
The “No Place for Hate” project is operated by the notoriously political organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In a document for the “No Place for Hate” project, the ADL states that “although learning how to demonstrate kindness is an important part of a child’s psychological and social development, ADL highly encourages schools to move beyond kindness to social justice.” One section of the document is titled “Let’s Get It Right: Using Correct Pronouns and Names.” In this section, the document encourages teachers to use the preferred pronouns of students:
From an early age, many were taught that pronouns should follow specific rules along the gender binary: ‘she, her and hers’ for girls and women and ‘he, him and his’ for boys and men. However, as our society has progressed in understanding gender identity, our language must also be updated. It should be accurate and convey understanding and respect for all people, especially for those who are transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary.
The document then encourages teachers to implement “LGBTQ” topics into classroom discussions:
Using the lesson below, lead a discussion about the ways in which LGBTQ people, events and issues have been less visible or made invisible in mainstream accounts of history. Explore the impact of invisibility on people and how different groups have been historically marginalized in society. Then, engage students in a discussion about people who may feel invisible in their school. Be sure to focus on general identity characteristics (e.g., sexual orientation, immigration status, gender identity, etc.) rather than specific individuals. Based on this discussion, ask students to sign up to be interviewed if they feel like an aspect of their identity needs more visibility.
The “No Place for Hate” document also features a “Pyramid of Hate.” The ADL uses the document to explain that “while every biased attitude or act does not lead to genocide, each genocide has been built on the acceptance of attitudes and actions described at the lower levels of the Pyramid.” The pyramid intends to show that actions such as using “non-inclusive language” and committing “microaggressions” will possibly lead to “the act or intent to deliberately and systematically annihilate an entire people.”