Documents released by court order show Tredyffrin/Easttown teachers are learning about Critical Race Theory and how to “transform” the district. However, a lawyer for the school district says the controversial race-based theory is not reaching students.
Parent Ben Auslander contended Tredyffrin/Easttown School District officials violated his First Amendment rights when he tried to take verbal notes on Critical Race Theory (CRT) materials from a vendor.
Auslander, working with America First Legal and Wayne attorney Walter Zimolong, sued the district, winning the release of 166 pages of documents that vendor Pacific Educational Group (PEG), a California-based education consultant supplied to T/E.
PEG claims “systemic racism is the most devastating factor contributing to the diminished capacity of all children.” The district had hired the company to run teacher training and shape the curriculum, according to the America First Legal (AFL) press statement.
Auslander wanted to see the PEG materials. District officials told him he could look at the papers, but he could not take notes or pictures and had to look at the materials at the district office.
When Auslander tried to make a voice recording on his cell phone about what he saw, he was told to leave and officials threatened to call the police, the lawsuit said.
The materials show, “PEG’s ‘training’ of the district staff included exercises on’ walking through the barriers to teaching Critical Race Theory at your school,’ and how ‘Critical Race Theory is a vital step in your School Transformation Action Plan,'” according to AFL.
Kenneth Roos, the district solicitor, denied CRT is taught in the school district but acknowledged it is part of “district staff discussions.”
“To be clear, CRT is not taught in TESD schools,” said Roos. “The district has developed its own initiative related to equity, inclusion, and belonging. The district works with multiple vendors to craft the steps to support our own initiative. In some EIB initiative leadership training (including the ones PEG did), district staff discussed with each other (not students) what CRT is and how it fits into the national context. CRT is not an underpinning of what the district teaching in the classroom, and it is not in the TESD curriculum.”
However, former school board Director Kyle Boyer acknowledged at a public meeting in 2021 the district does use elements of CRT in its curriculum.
Zimolong said the newly-released documents counter claims made by Roos. “His claims could only be true if you ignore what the CRT documents bought and paid for by the school district say. Indeed, page eight of the documents sets forth a ‘School Transformation Plan’ using the teaching of CRT to achieve that transformation. The school district’s comments recall Orwell in ‘1984’ who wrote, ‘[t]he party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.'”
The judge’s decision is “a great outcome if you’re in favor of transparency and knowing what is being taught to your kids in school and you don’t like when any government agency tries to sandbag and cover up from a citizen what their tax dollars are being spent on,” said Zimolong.
The litigation is continuing. While obtaining the documents was part of the process, claims regarding how his client was treated by school officials remain to be litigated. Zimolong said officials had violated Auslander’s First Amendment rights by not permitting him to record his thoughts.
Auslander could not be reached for comment.
The next phase of the court case will require depositions from school officials, Zimolong said. After that, there may be a hearing in September or Judge Harvey Bartle III might rule based on the results of the depositions.
For his part, Roos said the district continues to believe the case should be dismissed.
Andrew McClellan, a parent whose son is a student at Conestoga High School, is very unhappy with both the racial and transgender curriculum that he says is being taught in district schools.
“To be honest with you, we’ve known this has been going on for a long time,” said McClellan. “All their transgender promotion and the grooming that they’re doing. They’re sexualizing these kids. It’s all done in secrecy, then they lie to the parents about it…The majority of their policies and curriculum, if you can even call it curriculum, the ideologies, the grooming, it’s all there and they lie to us about it. It’s horrific. How did we get here?”
“It’s been an agenda,” he said. “It’s been a takeover.”
Meanwhile, the AFL lawyers believe these PEG materials illustrate that CRT is being taught in many districts across the country.
“This should forever end all debate. Our innocent children are being viciously indoctrinated with CRT by Marxist radicals. This lawless, extremist, poisonous bigotry must be defeated,” said Stephen Miller AFL president.
AFL Vice-President and General Counsel, Gene Hamilton, said, “These documents establish–once and for all–that CRT is present in public schools across the country. And not only is it present, but it is being funded by taxpayers across this country with hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent in each individual school district.
“The American people do not want their money being spent on these toxic training materials under any circumstance, but especially not while their children attend classes that are overcrowded, their teachers are underpaid, and in school buildings that are in need of repair. Every dollar spent on this nonsense is a dollar wasted,” Hamilton said.