Douglas School District is funding the purchase of “No Place for Hate” curriculum, created by the Anti-Defamation League.
On Feb. 25, 2021, a community member, Will Johnson, published an op-ed, raising issues with the ADL curriculum. He asked, “What is the purpose of publicly financed education?” Is it to make our kids hyper-aware of their differences and turn them into political activists? Or is it to teach them how to think, not what to think? Apparently, NPFH [No Place for Hate] views the former as a primary purpose of education, and wants it to permeate Colorado schools’ curriculum.”
Johnson said the curriculum seems initially easy to support because it condemns bullying and bias and promotes empathy. But he warned that “below the surface, parents and our community should be aware of causes for concern—reasons to question whether this program is accomplishing what we think it is.”
He said for a school to qualify for the program, 75 percent of students must sign a pledge. While it is technically voluntary, teachers, he said, repeatedly ask students to sign the pledge. Once a school qualifies and decides to implement the program, Johnson explained that schools “are expected to notify ADL when any incident of bias, bullying, discrimination or harassment occurs” and work with ADL to address the issues or risk losing their designation as “No Place for Hate,” according to the program handbook. As they work toward “universal consciousness,” Johnson wrote that “schools are strongly encouraged to use ADL-supplied curriculum and students must complete three approved activities throughout the year.”
‘The Pyramid of Hate’
He said K-2 students learn about the “Cycle of Inequality” and that racism means “the disrespect, harm and mistreatment of people of color based on ideas that white people deserve to be in charge and treated better.”
Middle school students “consider the extent to which dress codes unfairly target certain identity groups” and analyze their differences in the “Identity Iceberg.”
High school students explore how micro-aggressions are “pervasive in everyday life.” They delve into “The Pyramid of Hate” which states that oppression is prevalent in our society and seems to imply that not being “aware of privilege” can lead, on a continuum, to genocide. The program teaches students about “gender fluidity” and warns them against “misgendering their peers.”
Teachers are “encouraged to ask students what their gender pronouns are, to present articles and videos on this topic, and to correct students when they don’t use their peers’ chosen pronoun,” he wrote.
FOIA and Public Records Request
In March 2021, Parents Defending Education assisted a parent in filing a FOIA request to Douglas School District. A request was made for the fees paid by the school district for the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate program.