White Bear Lake Area superintendent apologizes for using the word ‘hoax’ to describe an actual hoax; 6th graders required to label their various identities during lesson on privilege and oppression (during choir class!)
White Bear Lake Area School District in Minnesota can’t seem to get out of its own way with its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
During a recent chorus class, 6th graders participated in a lesson about privilege and oppression—according to parents who observed the class, and the lesson plan, neither term seems to have been defined for students.
Students were tasked with placing themselves in the “privileged group” or the “targeted group” for the following five categories: racism, sexism, religious oppression, heterosexism, xenophobia.
When asked about the assignment by The Blaze, the superintendent provided the following statement:
We know from listening to our students that our continued and sustained commitment to educational equity is a critical part of how we achieve our stated district mission and close gaps that currently exist in our student outcome measures. —The superintendent, Wayne Kazmierczak
White Bear Lake District has another public relations problem on its hands. High school sophomore Amy Severson was trying to start a club for conservatives at the school. Soon a firestorm ensued when vile racist messages sent directly to black classmates were attributed to Severson. The messages prompted outrage and led to a student walkout.
Severson did not send the messages. An FBI investigation revealed that a different female student created an anonymous account and and sent the fake messages in an effort “to raise awareness of social and racial injustice by sending the fake messages.” School officials have not named the person behind the fake messages.
Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak admitted in a note to families that the messages were a “hoax” but he later backtracked and apologized for using the term “hoax,” saying that he did not intend to “minimize the impact that racism or racist acts has on students and families who have been marginalized throughout history and in White Bear Lake Area Schools.”
It is hard to reconcile how fake messages created to rile up a community, stage a walkout and falsely accuse an innocent person wouldn’t qualify as a hoax.
The district issued an additional statement in an effort to further clarify the situation.
To look at the district’s equity and engagement page, click here.
6th grade choir teacher separates kids into ‘privileged’ and ‘targeted’ groups in lesson on ‘oppression’ The Blaze, March 3, 2021
Officials: Racist messages in White Bear Lake were faked to highlight racist incidents Bring Me the News, April 15, 2021