Are Classrooms Becoming Re-Education Camps?

By Nic Rivera

With the recent controversy over the anti-Semitic Ethnic Studies framework proposed by the California Department of Education (CDE), many are talking about the inappropriateness of using a classroom to teach one-sided propaganda. The conversation also leads many to reflect on what kind of adult would use their position of power to manipulate young students to think like them rather than to think for themselves.

Teachers Union

Teachers Union

At the August 20th board meeting for the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), there were considerably less students than usual in attendance promoting the teacher’s union position. This is what happens when school hasn’t started yet, so this small group of activist teachers don’t yet have the opportunity to abuse their position of power to politically manipulate their students. Now that school is back in session, there will surely be more students there next time regurgitating union disinformation. Welcome, Comrade Sally and Comrade Billy!

The controversial topic this time is the new highly inappropriate sex education and gender spectrum curriculum. Many parents were there to express their disgust at the new emphasis on children’s sexual pleasure and on dangerous activities such as anal sex, fisting and blood play. The people that were there in support of this atrocity known as Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) were the teacher’s union, the PTA and the hate group Indivisible: Conejo.

Stock Photo of Soviet Students

Indivisible: Conejo and the teachers union are notorious for rallying naïve students to come and speak. During board meetings last year regarding the book policy, students often spoke out using talking points full of inaccuracies and false accusations. Students were told their schools would be destroyed and books were being banned. None seemed aware that the books they were told were being “banned” were merely going to have an asterisk placed next to them on the syllabi to alert parents and students that the books contained descriptions of graphic child rape and other violence. They were not told that sexual assault victims should never be forced to stumble upon this material with no prior warning. They knew none of this. These are good kids. If they had known the cruelty of the teachers union position, they would never have endorsed it.

But they all came shouting and fighting with signs and cheers. After their rude and disrespectful speeches to publicly elected officials they were greeted with loud applause and high fives by their teachers in attendance. It was one big party for all of them and perhaps some extra credit was handed out for attending on a school night.

On August 20th, the child of the leader of Indivisible Conejo, a couple of his friends and the child of another well-known far-left activist were in attendance to provide the student “human shields” that the extremists in our community enjoy exploiting for political purposes. They like to make it appear that the board room seems full of like-minded, angry people.

But on August 20th, the Indivisible crowd was notably sparse with only a handful of the stalwarts in attendance seated next to the Conejo Council PTA President and the local teachers union president.

You see, school had not started yet and it became very evident that the classroom is where the radical teachers go to groom their “army.”

The following is a Facebook post made by one activist Newbury Park High School English teacher, Lucia Lemieux, who is also a leader in the local teachers union.

Political post about students by Lucia Lemieux

“This will be a great semester DESPITE all of the crap at the school board. Wake up, Ms. Everett and all her followers. You are missing the boat BIG TIME. We have great students who want to take the country into a proper direction.” – Lucia Lemieux

Her post indicates that Lemieux uses the first day of school to assess the activist potential of her new “troops.”  It seems very unprofessional to disparage an elected official whose children happen to attend the same high school. Does she not care at all about the impact on that official’s children?

It also seems that Lemieux may live in a bubble and truly believes that every student in her class agrees with her leftist political views. She seems to believe that her view is the correct view and any other view will take the country in the wrong direction. Perhaps she has never considered that many of her students may be playing along with her because she makes it clear that if they disagree she will get upset and they will get a bad grade.  

Rather than spending the first day behaving with the dignity and restraint, placing her personal vendetta aside, she vented about politics.

The community can reasonably expect that a brainwashed student army will show up at the school board meeting on September 3rd as she and other like-minded teachers continue to abuse their power positions over these students. 

But is this behavior even allowed by in the CVUSD?

CVUSD Board Bylaw and Administrative Regulation 6144 clearly state that no, it is not allowed:

The teacher does not use his/her position to forward his/her own religious, political, economic or social bias. The teacher may express a personal opinion if he/she identifies it as such and does not express the opinion for the purpose of persuading students to his/her point of view (AR 6144).

The Board also expects teachers to ensure that all sides of a controversial issue are impartially presented, with adequate and appropriate information. Without promoting any partisan point of view, the teacher should help students separate fact from opinion and warn them against drawing conclusions from insufficient data. The teacher shall not suppress any student’s view on the issue as long as its expression is not malicious or abusive toward others (BP 6144).

Based on Lemieux’s Facebook post, it does indeed seem that she violated these regulations. It appears, though, that district leadership never enforces these rules against propaganda when it involves progressive teachers. 

If Lemieux was rallying her young and impressionable army to her cause, she was doing so against the professional standards she is expected to maintain in the workplace and should be disciplined. Here is the test: are her students capable of persuasively articulating the position of the other side? If not, then the board policy has been broken and she needs to keep her personal activism out of the classroom in the future.

It is much easier to persuade a teenager to join a cause than to convince their more sophisticated parents. Parents are more experienced and less gullible. They would easily recognize the propaganda for what it is. Students are much susceptible to recruitment and radicalization by the small handful of activist teachers that like to use our kids to fight their battles for them.

So if any parents have children in the class of a politically active teacher, perhaps they should sit down and ask their child if the teacher violated the Board Bylaw or Administrative Regulation. If so, then they should file a complaint with the district, but perhaps wait until after the course is complete so retaliation is no longer possible.

Manipulative adults in positions of power should never be allowed to use that power to control students. The power differential is abusive, especially when the student is trying to get a good grade and please the teacher.

The vast majority of teachers in our district are not unethical like this. It is a shame that a few bad apples on the faculty attempt to exploit the trust and honor that has been placed on them to educate the precious children of our community. They have no right to rally students to fight their political battles.

One way to ensure that your student is not subjected to this indoctrination is to specifically request a non-union teacher. As of right now, there are still many good teachers in the union, but with the recent Janus Supreme Court decision, there is very little reason for good teachers to stay in the union and to pay those huge dues without receiving any significant benefit. Most of those dues are spent for unseemly political purposes anyway.

So, within a few years it is possible that only the bad teachers will still be in the union, because it is typically only bad teachers that need union protection. Why would good teachers want to pay their hard-earned money to protect bad teachers and promote CTA lobbying for bad laws? Teachers are smart. Teachers are perfectly capable of making their own choices for political contributions.

Activist teachers: you need to be just teaching the standards – and regardless of whether you are on the left or the right, please keep your political and social agendas to yourself.  

Nic Rivera is a resident of Ventura County


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