A concerned community member reached out to Parents Defending Education and provided documents received from the Ridgefield School District through FOIA requests. The documents showed the school district and staff supporting Black Lives Matter and gender ideology initiatives in emails. In one email exchange, a fifth grade teacher used her official email to explain that she is debating “heading up to Ridgefield for a Black Lives Matter sign waving.”
Another email featured a librarian discussing her “own mental health/preoccupation with current events” during the Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020. She sent the email out to other staff and asked if they “would like to send me a short video, or text and pictures, about something or someone important to LGBTQ+ rights and visibility” for Pride Month. She also discussed a video about “Stonewall in general and connecting it to Black Lives Matter protests.”
A social studies teacher explained in an email that he encouraged two students “to create a Black Lives Matter bulletin board to be up when the students return” from summer break.
A second grade teacher discussed showing a Black Lives Matter video to students and how a parent negatively responded to his child viewing the video. The teacher explained in the email: “I may have crossed a boundary with a zoom meeting. I showed this video and had a short discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement going on. A parent emailed me. I believe that this man is a Police Officer so I am sure I hit a big nerve.”
In one email, another second grade teacher sent a video to parents “to share with your child (children) to help them understand things that are going on regarding the Black Lives Matter protests.”
One English teacher emailed another English teacher a message negatively targeting the police. The message stated to the police: “Imagine feeling hurt by constantly seeing the Confederate flag waved proudly around you, and feeling like the worth of your life is being undermined by it, in addition to the ‘black lives matter’ movement being put on the back burner by some because they think their struggles are more important than the attempted liberation of a whole race.” The message appeared to be in response to the “Blue Lives Matter” movement.
Another email seemed to be directed at the whole the school district. The email was titled “Infusing Black Lives Matter” and included a Zoom link to join. The email stated: “We are so excited you will be joining us tonight for our BLM in Schools Session.”
In an email, a science teacher responded to a parent who raised concerns about the teacher displaying a Black Lives Matter poster in her classroom. She tells the parent: “In science, women and people of color have long been underrepresented. I want students from marginalized populations to feel safe and supported in my classroom so that we can work to change that reality.” In another email, another science teacher responded to her stating: “You should put your poster back up. How is our society ever going to improve if we don’t push back on the most racist. Did anyone tell you to take it down yet?”
A French teacher sent out an email titled “White Fragility Book Study.” The book study appeared to include district faculty and focused on the book White Fragility from known political activist Robin DiAngelo. Members of the book study are encouraged to buy the book and will be “reimbursed” for purchasing the book. It is unclear where those reimbursement funds will come from.