Emails reveal high-school teachers in a tiny Boston suburb plotting to hide their political bias from parents shortly after President Trump’s inauguration.
The history teachers at Newton North High School pledged to reject the “call for objectivity” in the classroom, bully conservative students for their beliefs and serve as “liberal propagandist[s]” for the cause of social justice, the emails show, according to an investigative report published by the Federalist.
Ilya Feoktistov, a board member of the non-profit Americans for Peace and Tolerance, wrote that he obtained the emails under a Massachusetts public-records law after one of the teachers arranged for what he describes as “an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel organization to show Palestinian propaganda films” at Newton North.
But he found that anti-Semitism is “not the only specter haunting the history department at Newton North.”
The exchange of emails came after history teacher Isongesit Ibokette complained in February 2017 about new guidelines for avoiding bias in teaching that had been been sent out by Newton Norths principal that morning.
Teachers were instructed: “For current controversial issues (health care, immigration, environmental policies, gun laws), teach students that there are different perspectives and present the reasoning of those who hold those different perspectives.”
Ibokette, responding to an email from a colleague, objected, declaring in an email to the entire history department his “concerned that the call for ‘objectivity’ may just inadvertently become the most effective destructive weapon against social justice.”
Earlier, history teacher David Bedar, the one who hosted the anti-Jewish event, sent an email accusing Trump supporters of “nativism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc.,” charging “the other viewpoint” they are instructed to provide “might just be blatantly racist.”
Bedar said “it feels wrong to not call out ideas that I know will offend many of my students and create a hostile and potentially unsafe environment.”
In the Federalist, Feoktistov wrote that the teacher’s left-wing activism reminded him of his childhood in the Siberian city of Tomsk, where he entered the fifth grade in a state school the year after the communist Soviet Union fell.
His teacher told the class she had nothing to teach them anymore, because the old history books were useless, “full of Communist Party lies.”
“Undaunted by the failures of their comrades in the Soviet Union and other socialist hell-holes,” Feoktistov wrote, “left-wing activists are dug in at all stages of the American educational process from preschool to graduate school, where they seek to replicate the Soviet Union’s abuse of its children’s minds with lurid lies.”
He said the “ongoing trend of growing political intolerance and ideological bigotry among the newest American adults will continue, and nothing good will come of it.”
“In the Soviet Union, I’ve seen what young people could be turned into, what I myself could be turned into,” he said.
“Trust me, America hasn’t seen anything yet.”