The New Trier Township High School administration appears to be misleading local parents intentionally about the mandatory day of “racial identity” seminars held on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
In an letter e-mailed Friday to parents, sent by Assistant Superintendent Timothy Hayes and co-signed by Hayes and the principals of the high school’s two campuses, the district claimed the day’s focus had been “diversity,” not “racial identity” as repeatedly stated before.
On Jan. 8, Hayes sent an email to parents explaining: “As we have mentioned in previous emails, the goals for this day are to help students develop a deeper understanding of their individual racial identities and to investigate ways that we can all work to counteract the impact of systemic racism in our lives.” He repeated that description of the day’s goals at a school board meeting on the evening of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day itself, after class had ended.
On Jan. 22, Hayes and fellow administrators claimed: “Our goals for the Martin Luther King Day All-School Seminar were to help students in the development of their own unique identity, to help them understand the experiences and identities of others, and to begin to learn more about living in an increasingly diverse world.” There was no mention of “race,” “racism,” or “racial identity” in the e-mail, nor of concerns raised by parents.
In fact, as the day’s curriculum (embedded below) proves, the seminars dealt almost exclusively with race, with emphasis on white guilt and black victimhood. A black Muslim discussed his faith, but no other faiths were represented, aside from a seminar on black Gospel music.
Hayes actually told the school board Jan. 18 that one source that had “really informed our thinking” in planning the day had been an article, “What White Children Need to Know About Race.”
Hayes explained further to the board that the lesson of the article was that it is incorrect to talk about race in a “color-blind” way. (The article argues: “Silence is a racial message and a ‘tool of whiteness.’ In order to support the goals of their diversity mission statements and work toward a ‘racially just America,’ schools need to take a more proactive approach to teaching white students about race and racial identity.”)
In the email, Hayes and the principals cite “very positive” feedback about the day.