On January 5, 2023, Emerson Elementary School of the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin shared a post on Facebook promoting that fifth grade students in the school were taught “social justice concepts.” The post starts by exclaiming: “Social Justice artwork from Emerson 5th graders!” The school explains in the post that students worked together on a social justice art project:
After studying social justice concepts and artist/activist Danielle Coke, the 5th graders set to work on these 3-dimensional paper mache letters. Each student created one letter to contribute to some key phrases in their learning including anti-racism, social justice, and equity. Finally, they illustrated some of their own ideas related to social justice on the outside of their letters using paint, paper, and sharpie. These are the stunning results!
Several of the notes that the fifth grade students left on the finished project are controversial. On the “U” in “equity,” notes from students include the phrases “My Uterus My Choice,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “LGBT Pride.” The “U” in “justice” has the phrases “Pride” and “You can come out to me.” The “Y” in “equity” appears to have the transgender flag.
The Madison Metropolitan School District also has a history of making controversial posts online supporting political issues. On May 27, 2021, the district made a post on Instagram supporting a “student-led Breaking the Silence Rally” that “supports #LGBTQIA+ voices and will feature a variety of speakers.” On October 11, 2021, the district posted on Instagram: “In honor of National Coming Out Day, the Madison Metropolitan School District commends all who have and will come out as LGBTQIA+ – we see your strength, your beauty and your brilliance.”
On June 3, 2022, the district made a post on Instagram that stated: “We celebrate LGBTQ diversity together.” In the same post, the district appeared to also support illegal immigration and gender dysphoria: “We believe that students, staff, and families of all races, ethnicities, faiths, home languages, immigration statuses, disabilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities are valuable members of our MMSD community.”