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MACFARLAND: Why Chester County Families Need a Charter School

In May 1, 2023, the Board of Education of the Valley Forge Classical Academy submitted an application for a Charter School to the West Chester Area School District (WCASD).  The application and addendums were over 500 pages.  Additional documents, including the complete K-8 Alignment of the curriculum to the PA Standards and the entire Program (Curriculum Guide) totaling over 900 pages, were submitted a week later at the request of the District.

Already, school choice detractors are spreading misinformation about charter schools.  I am taking a few moments to ensure that the facts about charter schools are available.


Charter Schools MUST abide by the same laws that the traditional public schools must follow.  That includes implementing IEP’s and 504s, non-promotion or teaching of religion (except in its relation to historical events), accepting ALL applicants regardless of race, color, religion, and no screening of applicants (such as entrance tests).


All of Hillsdale’s Member Schools provide an education that is both classical and American in its orientation. It is rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, offers a firm grounding in civic virtue, cultivates moral character, and teaches and supports universal values.


Charter Schools bill the child’s home district for the instructional expenses needed for the enrolled child. The billed amount is not 100 percent of the per pupil expenditures of the district.  In fact, the district subtracts transportation and administrative fees off the top, and the charter school is provided about 70% of the per pupil expenditure.  So, for example, if the home district has approximately $20,000 per pupil expenditure in the district, as in the case of the West Chester Area School District, the charter school payment is about 30% less than that or approximately $14,000.  Consequently, the WCASD is paying LESS to educate charter children than those enrolled in the district and keeping the difference of $6000 in their pockets! Right now, WCASD budget shows only about 2 percent of its funds go to charter schools….and those funds are educating children residing in the WCASD, not those coming from another nearby district!

The truth is that the taxpayers of the West Chester Area School District DO NOT “pay for the school” as I heard someone claim. The district pays only for the students in the WCASD that attend the charter. Your taxes are not going up because of the addition of a charter school.  Public schools in Pennsylvania are allowed by law to raise taxes per the Act 1 index for their school district EVERY YEAR, and they do so, with or without cause.  Charter schools are just the scapegoat.

In addition, right now we have 93 students pre-enrolled, and most of them are NOT from the WCASD.


Charter Schools must hire at least 80 percent state certified staff.  They are given some leeway in hiring non-certified staff for in-demand positions, such as a high school physics or math teachers.  The state requires that person be emergency certified, meaning a temporary grant of certification, while completing the requirements over a specific time period.  Or in the case of a drama teacher or the like, in which there is no state certification, yet the program is offered at the school.  ALL staff must provide clearances and background checks to be hired.


Forbes Magazine ran this story in 2018, by Emily Langhorn: Five Reasons Why Independent Charters Outperform In-District Autonomous Schools.  The article states they have autonomy; are schools of choice; are held accountable for student performance; go through a careful authorization process; are sustainable.


Valley Forge Classical Academy Charter School is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  All of the people working on bringing this school to the community are VOLUNTEERS and have generously donated their time and talents to ensure a strong application.  None have received any remuneration for their work.  All of the people who have donated their time and talents strongly believe in parental choice and in this particular school model.  We believe that a curriculum that meets or exceeds Pennsylvania State Standards and has high expectations for all students is sorely needed, not only in Chester County, but across the nation, and we are willing to devote our energies to make it happen.

The real argument here is whether or not you believe in parental choice.  Do you believe that all children must attend the public school supported by their parent’s tax money?  Or do you believe that parents should have the right to determine where their children and their tax money should go? Does one teaching style serve all learners? Do larger schools turn out better students and citizens?  Are smaller schools safer?

The beauty of a charter school is that if it doesn’t fit your child or align with your beliefs, your child doesn’t have to attend there!  Doesn’t a parent of a child for whom the traditional public schools aren’t working deserve the same?

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ROSICA: Back to Basics West Chester Candidates Advance to the General Election

Back to Basics West Chester endorsed five school director candidates, and based on the unofficial results of Tuesday’s primary, all candidates will advance to the general election in November. The candidates were cross-filed on both the Democratic and Republican ballots, and each candidate won the Republican nomination by a large margin.

The candidates include Nick Spangler and Bob Rafetto in Region 1, Amanda Greenberg and Peggy Schmitt in Region 2, and Alain Oliver in Region 3.

Back to Basics West Chester is a nonpartisan political action committee (PAC) founded by local parents committed to bringing balance to the West Chester Area School District board. The PAC does not endorse candidates based on their party affiliation. The five candidates were endorsed based on their diverse backgrounds, commitment to serving the community, alignment with the platform, and their balanced views on how to best approach the school district’s myriad issues.

One endorsed candidate, Peggy Schmitt, is a registered libertarian. She could not vote for herself in the primary because Pennsylvania only allows registered Republicans and Democrats to participate, though she appeared on both the Democratic and Republican ballots.

(From left to right)  Nick Spangler, Alain Oliver, Peggy Schmitt, Amanda Greenberg, Bob Rafetto

“I am encouraged and hopeful after Tuesday’s win,” said Schmitt. “Parents and taxpayers have spoken to us, and we agree that it is time to bring the West Chester Area School District back to excellence. We owe it to our children.”

The current board is comprised of eight Democrats and one Republican, partially as a result of two directors who changed their party registration from Republican to Democrat in advance of Tuesday’s primary. The PAC founders believe diversity of thought and ideas will improve student academic performance, a better work environment for teachers, and greater accountability and transparency for taxpayers.

Back to Basics was founded on five main issues: academic excellence, transparency, parents as partners, keeping politics out of the classroom, and fiscal accountability. As a result of the thousands of doors knocked on by the candidates over the last two months, the PAC added school safety to its campaign platform. Many parents expressed concerns about bullying at school and how it is handled. The candidates are committed to listening to the voters and addressing their concerns.

“We are thrilled with the results of our primary races,” said Greenberg. “The hours we spent talking to parents and hearing that they are ready for a change is paying off, and we know where we need to continue to work. This summer and fall will be very exciting.”

Alain Oliver, Region 3 candidate, said, “The primary election day experience was great. It was fun to have so many people come up and say they recognized me from door knocking and that I earned their vote.”

The general election is on Nov. 7. All five candidates will be on the ballot, and every registered voter will have the opportunity to vote for the candidate(s) in their region.

To learn more about each candidate, visit Back to Basics West Chester. 


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‘There is No Research’: Speakers Decry ‘Dangerous’ Transgender Trend for Children

A panel of activists on Saturday warned against the growing trend of transgender-style medical procedures being performed on minors in the U.S.—a forum that was so controversial that event planners originally did not reveal its location to attendees until just 48 hours before it occurred.

At the event, sponsored by the conservative group No Left Turn in Education, speaker Chloe Cole, 18, told of starting the medical “transition” from a girl to a boy at 13 and of having her breasts removed at 15, only to realize at 16 that she had made a mistake.

Cole, who in recent months has appeared at multiple events and protests around the country sharing her story, told attendees that she started “transitioning” in public around age 12, wearing boys’ clothing and cutting her hair short.

At 13, doctors put her on puberty blockers and testosterone. At 15, she said she had the mastectomy procedure. A year later she realized she was a in fact a girl and wanted to “de-transition.”

Cole recently sued the doctors and hospitals that treated her. She still has problems from the treatment, including skin grafts on her chest that haven’t healed properly, she said. Her growth has also been stunted.

Forensic nurse Tammy Hartlaub also spoke to the group about the dangers of transgender surgery and medications given to children to attempt to switch them from one sex to another.

She noted the brain’s frontal lobe, which controls judgment, is the last part to mature when people are in their 20s. And the drugs used to block puberty “have significant side effects in adults.”

As to their long-term effects on children and teenagers: “We don’t know,” Hartlaub said. “There is no research.”

Elana Fishbein, Ph.D. founder of No Left Turn in Education

About 100 people came to the event.

The forum itself almost did not happen. Its location was kept a secret until just two days before it was scheduled. During a radio interview on the Dom Giordano Show on Friday, it was revealed it would be held at the Sheraton Great Valley in Frazer. The hotel reportedly began getting threatening phone calls. By 5 p.m. the event was canceled.

The radio station employee who accidentally gave the location on the air called the Rev. William Devlin of Widows and Orphans to see if he might know another meeting venue. Devlin contacted Pastor William Covelens of New Life Community Church in the village of Huntingdon Valley, who said was willing to host the panel discussion.

Stressing the growing spread of transgender ideology throughout the country, No Left Turn founder Elana Fishbein noted there are now at least 100 clinics nationwide that perform transgender surgery.

“In the last five years, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of minors who report some distress about their sex and the perception of their gender,” said Fishbein. “For minors between ages 6 and 17 between 2017 and 2020, there was an annual increase of 20 percent. Between 2020 and 2021, there was an 80 percent increase.”

“This is a substantial increase,” she said. “This is not just minor.”

At the event on Saturday, speaker Sara Higdon warned against transgender activists who seek to target children for ideological exploitation.

“They simply believe there is no such thing as absolute truth,” said Higdon, a spokesperson for the group Trans Against Groomers. Higdon was born a male but now identifies as a woman.

Higdon indicated that there are considerable social justice incentives for men to begin identifying as women. “What way can an oppressor maybe become part of an oppressed class? They can transition,” said Higdon.

“And there are (upper-middle-class White) parents who think if they have a trans child they can say, ‘Look what a good parent I am.’

“And there’s a lot of eugenics at play,” Higdon added. “You are sterilizing an entire group of people. …They want to make your kids wards of the state. You can’t usher in Marxism without kids being wards of the state.”

Multiple school districts in Pennsylvania, including many in the Delaware Valley, are teaching the educational doctrine known as “Queer Theory,” deploying curriculum on gender for students as young as kindergarten.

Some districts, including the Great Valley School District, also tell teachers to hide from parents any information related to their children’s claims about transgender identities.

Though Higdon claims to have discovered an internal transgender identity at a young age, the speaker nevertheless criticized and dismissed major popular assertions about gender ideology at it applies to children.

“No child is born in the wrong body,” Higdon said, “It’s not the body that’s wrong. It’s the mind that’s wrong. My gender dysphoria went all the way to adulthood. At the age of 28, I had to tell somebody.”

Cole said that doctors “failed to address the fact that I might have had underlying issues” connected to identifying as a woman.

Cole said she “wasn’t forced into transition by my parents,” as critics often accuse some parents of doing. They took her to a therapist, she said, who allegedly told her parents that she would commit suicide if she wasn’t allowed to begin identifying as a boy. “[It] wasn’t true,” she said.

Cole said social media also played a large role in transmitting transgender ideology to her at a young age, particularly after she got her first mobile phone that allowed her unrestricted access to the Internet.

“I felt I would be better off as a boy,” she said.

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New ‘Classical Education’ Charter School Planned for West Chester Area School District

When Jennifer MacFarland saw a homework assignment her grandson, then in second grade, brought home in 2020, she was concerned. And MacFarland, a former teacher, assistant principal, and charter school CEO with 30 years in public education under her belt, was also suspicious.

She sent a right-to-know request to the West Chester Area School District and found a company providing training to teachers was teaching Critical Race Theory, which she believes is filtering down into the curriculum for the students.

“That’s what really got me started,” said MacFarland. “Because the more I found out what was going on in the West Chester Area School District, the more I felt compelled to open a charter school.”

So, MacFarland took action.

First, she convinced her grandson’s parents to enroll him in a Catholic school. Then she began to work on opening a charter school.

“It took us three years to find a building,” she said. Having a building is required before a group can apply for a charter school charter. And when they did, Valley Forge Classical Academy Charter School was born. The West Chester Area School Board must still approve it and MacFarland, who is the VFCACS board president, hopes it will open its doors in 2024. Her brother, Charles F. Beatty, is the board vice president. Beatty was an Avon Grove School Board member for eight years.

“We are a Hillsdale College-licensed curriculum school,” said MacFarland. “The curriculum is a truly classical education, based on classical literature and history as told by original documents of the time. Singapore Math will be the math program, (which is) a highly recognized and effective program.

“We will teach reading through phonics and science through the core curriculum,” she said.

Students will be reading books that have long been recognized as great literature.  Elementary school students will read “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “Aesop’s Fables.” Older students will read Homer and Mark Twain, she said.

“I believe it will be a great school,” said MacFarland.

Also, students will learn Latin so they can understand the roots of many English words. History will be the 1776 curriculum from Hillsdale, not the controversial 1619 curriculum from The New York Times. Art, music, and physical education will be taught.

“All programs are recognized as high quality, engaging, and rigorous. Teachers will teach via the Socratic Method, leading the instruction (cooperative dialogue based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and finding truth). VFCACS will also teach and reinforce core values that are identified with every culture on earth…wisdom, integrity, honesty, compassion, hard work,” said MacFarland. She noted the people who founded the U.S. were educated using the Socratic Method.

“It’s a much more thorough way of learning,” she noted.

She said the school will start as K through 8 and will add grades each year until it is K through 12.

If parents are interested in sending their children to VFACS, MacFarland recommends supplementing what they are being taught in their current school with Hillsdale’s homeschool curriculum to “make sure our kids are ready because, quite frankly, we are concerned their education at this point hasn’t brought them as far as it should be.”

Hillsdale, a classical liberal arts college in Michigan, provides that curriculum for free, she said.

“I recommend that parents look into that and hopefully supplement what they’re learning in the public school or what they’re doing in home school so they can ensure their kids will be ready for the grade they’ll be placed in.”

Computers will be limited as well. But cursive writing will be taught.

“At this point, most students, especially most students in Chester County, have access to computer technology,” she said. “In fact, many of them are on computers way too much.

“Our philosophy is you don’t need computers to learn,” she said. “You need the basics of education. You need to learn deeply and have a rigorous education that helps you learn how to think on your own without depending on technology.”

Anita Edgarian, a WCASD parent, said, “An alternative for our kids’ education is always a good thing, especially when parents can’t afford private schools. I personally like the traditional approach to education, (such as) books, and notebooks, logic and Latin classes, handwriting, limited time on electronics, building relationships, etc.

“This would be an accepting and comfortable environment for all children to thrive and grow their love of learning, free from the pressures of the world,” she added.

MacFarland would like to eventually open similar charter schools across the state that offer “a high-quality classical education.” Also, nonunion teachers will be hired.

The Valley Forge Classical Academy Charter School will hold an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. on Feb. 25 at 21 Hagerty Blvd. in West Chester.  [email protected] or (610) 730-6931.


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West Chester Superintendent Defends District’s Gender-Related Curriculum

West Chester Area School District Superintendent Bob Sokolowski admitted during the Oct. 25 school board meeting that the district does, in fact, teach children a gender-affirming curriculum.

His remarks came after several residents spoke out against the controversial curriculum, which the Delaware Valley Journal found had permeated to the kindergarten level.

Connie Halloway spoke to the board about a document obtained through a right-to-know request showing the district does not necessarily tell parents if their child is using another gender at school than at home; rather, it depended on if the parent or guardian is supportive of the child’s seeking to change their gender.

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear,” said Halloway. “We are not co-parenting with the government. This is not the Soviet Union or Communist China. You do not have the authority to determine what parents deserve to know about their child’s health.”

“Does West Chester Area School District hide a student’s gender transition from parents?” Halloway asked.

Sokolowski said, “One of the things I can share is those plans are very specific. They are very personalized. I can share with you that when I was the principal at Henderson High School, there was a student that was transitioning to a different gender and that was something this particular student was very uncomfortable sharing with one of her parents…We exclude those plans in the fullest protection of the students.”

West Whiteland resident Mike Winterode said a right-to-know request had confirmed a teacher training at Fern Hill Elementary School in August, where teachers who taught children as young as kindergarteners were instructed on gender education.

“While teachers did learn how to introduce gender education to kids who still believe in Santa Claus, they didn’t really learn all about gender. They didn’t learn what happens once we get beyond pronouns and name changes.

“And kids grow older and they decide to continue down the road to gender transition, the medical realities, such as puberty blockers, shrinking brain development, or freezing the growth of the pelvis in a prepubescent state,” said Winterode. And “cross-sex hormones possibly destroying the ability to orgasm later in life or how during a double mastectomy the nipples are repositioned…killing the ability for a woman to breastfeed.”

Winterode added, “there is a harsh reality that suicide rates go up 20 percent after gender-affirming surgeries.”

He offered to bring two young women, who went through gender transition and then regretted it, to the district to speak at an assembly.

“There is a storm brewing, and that is the growing number of young men and women who realize they were manipulated, they were manipulated at a time in their lives when they needed the guiding hands of responsible adults,” he said. He urged the district to be one of the first in the country to host an event like this. “The de-transition community is growing, and all of us need to listen to them. They have a lot to teach us.”

Parent Dan Hill also spoke about the Fern Hill Elementary School gender teacher training, saying that he did not want his daughter exposed to this. He pointed out the trainer said on her Twitter feed that she was a “radical activist.”

And the books she recommended were “controversial” and “inappropriate.”

The stated goal of the training was “challenging gender limits,” which will “instill confusion in little children” and promote a “multi-billion-dollar gender-affirming care industry…that encourages chemical castration and surgical manipulation.”

And, Hill noted, as an election approaches, the state Department of Education had “scrubbed” its website of the page that promoted gender education.

“This is no longer about tolerance and being inclusive,” said Hill. “It is about celebration and recruitment in order to sustain this industry.”

Sokolowski justified the district’s gender-education policies, saying the district creates a “positive school environment” that promotes academic learning and “life-long success.”

He noted previous articles brought to light the Fern Hill teacher training.

“I understand that many of us did not experience school that way when we were growing up. But there is a need for this,” Sokolowski said. “This is a reality. We do have transgender students in our schools and we are best preparing our students, our teachers, as well.”

He said feedback from the Fern Hill teachers who took the gender training was positive with 94 percent finding it “relevant and practical.”

He said it was harder for students to learn academics if they can’t go to school “knowing they are safe, respected, and valued.”

“This responsibility to help our students achieve their goals is one we do not take lightly,” he said. And it is one “we will continue to strive toward as a district.”

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West Chester Elementary School Trains Kindergarten Teachers in Gender Curriculum

A ‘woke’ curriculum complete with transgenderism, Critical Race Theory, and an emphasis on drag queen performances rather than reading, writing, and arithmetic has permeated some Delaware Valley public school districts.

It has also become a hot-button issue in the governor’s race.

“Schools should be teaching children how to think, not what to think,” said state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican running for governor. “Sadly, classrooms across Pennsylvania have turned into indoctrination facilities that are pushing radicalism on young kids.

“As governor, I will place an immediate ban on Critical Race and Gender Theory Studies in Pennsylvania schools on my first day in office. Unlike my opponent — who has been endorsed by groups who support irreversible medical transitioning of kids — I will protect young girls by ensuring that biological males are not allowed to use girls’ locker rooms. As your governor, I will put an end to the era of radical indoctrination of children once and for all,” Mastriano said.

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro declined to comment for this article.

Part of the gender awareness curriculum

However, as attorney general, he signed an amicus brief in support of “transgender rights” to allow biological boys to use girls’ restrooms and locker rooms in Virginia. He also opposed a Pennsylvania bill, vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D), which would have prevented biological males from competing in girls’ sports.

And while Mastriano opposes obscene books in school libraries, Shapiro said, “I don’t want the politicians in Harrisburg telling my kids what books they’re allowed to read.”

But even as education becomes a cudgel in Pennsylvania politics, another program for kids as young as 5 years old has come to light.

Documents released through a right-to-know request and first reported by the Daily Caller show teachers at Fern Hill Elementary in the West Chester Area School District went to a training session about how to talk to children as young as kindergarteners about being transgender.

The materials also include a warning to keep children’s gender secret if they prefer: “Also, remember student privacy—it can jeopardize a student’s safety and well-being if they are outed by their peers or non-affirming adults.”

Some of the bullet points in the presentation were: “Moving beyond boys and girls, explaining what gay means, using picture books to challenge gender limits,” and “responding to concerned parents.”

Other topics included “gender inclusive classrooms” and “tackling bullying.”

The discussion included several books for kindergarten and up, including “Jacob’s New Dress,” and discussed with the children what pronouns the character Jacob uses.

The training includes, “Let your students know that there are lots of different ways that children can dress. There are lots of ways to be a boy or a girl or both or neither. Also, “home and school can be different. Here at school, students can wear whatever makes them happy.”

Another book, “Red: A Crayon’s Story,” talks about a crayon labeled “red” but is blue.

According to the materials, the teachers were also taught to use children’s preferred pronouns and teach children to use preferred pronouns.

Yael Levin, a spokesperson for No Left Turn in Education, a nonprofit that opposes student indoctrination, called the curriculum “disturbing.”

“Elementary schools serve children ages 5 -11. Elementary education should consist of reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history, and as much play time as possible. Children in that age range do not need to learn about sexuality and gender identity or expression. We should not be having these discussions at all as a society with children. If parents want to discuss these topics with their children, then they can do that. Generally, children in that age range are not even thinking of life and their friends in those terms.

“Why are we bringing such topics to the forefront of elementary school education? Especially considering how behind our children are due to the unnecessary COVID school shutdowns. We must get back to basics. Parents in West Chester and across Pennsylvania and the nation must demand that their public schools focus on academics. We have to be competitive in this global market. The USA is now ranked 30th in math out of 79 countries, while our spending per student is among the highest in the world and increases every year,” she said.

“It’s time for parents to demand a top-notch education for their children. On top of the poor performance and the learning loss, this particular training (and we have seen this in other trainings as well) mentions evaluating students based on their use of the term gender expression and their understanding of the meaning of the word,” said Levin. “It also references assessing students on their behavior around gender expression – if they are behaving like allies or not. This is reminiscent of a social credit system such as is used in China. This is not compatible with a constitutional republic.”

However, the school district defended the teacher training.

“The West Chester Area School District is continuously looking to improve our ability to provide supportive, welcoming environments for our students and families,” said Molly Schwemler, manager of district communication. “The training at Fern Hill Elementary School focused on developing staff awareness and understanding of gender-based information. The training was not focused on sharing the many elements of transgenderism with students, rather it shared additional ways that our staff can create an environment where all students can achieve their best and where all families feel welcome, valued, and respected.”

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WCASD Responds, Parent Says They Are ‘Blowing Smoke’

Delaware Valley Journal’s coverage of parents pulling their children out of the West Chester Area School District over incidents relating to Gay Pride Week celebrations garnered widespread community comment and national attention, but no comment from the district itself.

Until now.

A week after DVJournal’s reporting on incidents ranging from middle school boys being encouraged to dress as girls, to students being told they couldn’t display American flags the way other students displayed pride flags, the school district commented.

“The West Chester Area School District (WCASD) is committed to providing our students and staff with a welcoming and supportive environment, and as such, we are always saddened to hear of instances in which our families do not feel that is the case,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “However, we do believe that the acknowledgment of Pride Week that was held at Stetson Middle School this June was in keeping with the numerous other awareness and spirit days and weeks that were held throughout the school year.”

Jim Jacobs told DVJournal he was concerned about the disparate treatment his 11-year-old son experienced compared with what Stetson Middle School officials permitted for other students during the Pride observances.

For example, while a male teacher wore high-heeled shoes in class and male students were encouraged to wear dresses, his son was told he could not wear Uggs footwear to school, although he had been permitted to wear them the previous year. And his son and friends were told they could not wear American and Blue Lives Matter flag capes, although other students were permitted to wear gay pride rainbow flags as capes.

In a separate incident, Jacob’s niece, who will also be transferring from the district to a private school in the fall, was required to write a book report, but only books with Black or transsexual characters were allowed, Jacobs said.

“We moved here for the public schools,” said Jacobs. “It was a great public school district. (What) the public school has done is gotten away from its roots. It’s my way or the highway. What they have done is creating a completely adverse climate.”

The WCASD statement disputed those claims.

“The district did not and does not instruct either male or female students or staff to dress in a particular manner, but rather our dress code does allow for any student or staff member to dress as is comfortable for them provided that the clothing is safe, appropriate, and does not disrupt the school environment. As with all other awareness events such as Breast Cancer Awareness Week or Crazy Sock Day, student and staff participation is always voluntary and any demonstrations of support are to align with the dress code or student code of conduct.

“During the recognition of Pride Week, students and staff were allowed to wear pride-inspired clothing and accessories if they wished to do so, which included a pride flag on a specific day of the week. While some of our students instead chose to wear the flag of the United States of America in the same manner as a show of respect and patriotism, it was explained to them that it is actually under the U.S. Code that in respect to the flag it is never to touch the floor, to be worn as a cape or apparel, or used in a manner that may permit it to easily be torn or damaged. Our students understood the grave and special place the flag holds in our country and returned them safely to their lockers.

“Helping our students to grow in their knowledge and awareness of the many different facets that make up our vibrant community while also supporting them to join and better that community through their unique talents and perspectives lies at the heart of our work as a district.”

Jacobs said the district’s response was “blowing smoke.” He does not believe it was concerned about the American flag and its response did not mention that a student was offended by the American and Blue Lives flags and complained.

“It’s selective enforcement of the dress code,” he said. “It’s wrong.”

And teachers and students who disagree with the district’s “woke” agenda are afraid to speak up because they will be called racist or transphobic.

“They put the fear of God into everyone.”

As for his son, “He doesn’t have to be indoctrinated at 11 years old,” Jacobs said.

Elana Fishbein, the Lower Merion mother who founded No Left Turn in Education, a parents’ group that is holding school districts accountable for left-wing indoctrination, said the district’s remarks were not factual.

“The West Chester Area School District’s reply is disingenuous,” said Fishbein.  “No Left Turn in Education has received many complaints from parents that the district’s schools spread racially divisive propaganda, denigrate our country, practice reverse discrimination, and broadcast phony race-blaming.

“Students are given intrusive surveys that collect personal and family information from students without parental consent,” she said.  “Sexually explicit, suggestive, manipulative, and pornographic books and material have been readily available to minors and promoted in the school libraries, classes, and lessons.  So it comes as no surprise that many parents are fed up and plan to enroll their children elsewhere for the fall.”

A teacher who is a local member of No Left Turn in Education, but asked that their name not be used because of their job, said about the WCASD statement, “Sounds like spin to me. Are they saying the boys allowed the flag to touch the floor? Are they also saying that another student did not complain about the American flags as originally reported? Considering the rest of the story–the teacher parading the pride flag around the cafeteria, students being asked to pose in front of the pride flag, the student being told he couldn’t wear slippers (which were actually Uggs) while his male teacher wore stilettos– it’s hard to believe the school here.”

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Families Fleeing WCASD Over LGBTQ Curriculum, Dresses for Boys

At least two families have decided to remove their children from Stetson Middle School after over-the-top gay pride celebrations this year.

Jim Jacobs said he and his brother have decided to send their children to different schools because of what he believes is cultural indoctrination instead of education occurring in the West Chester Area School District.

“The last thing I wanted to do was to transfer my son for his 8th-grade year, but enough is enough,” said Jacobs. “At Stetson, there is no freedom of speech but freedom of ‘woke’ speech. The tolerance promoted by Diversity/Equity/Inclusion is not practiced towards those who have disagreements with or dare to question the ‘woke’ agenda.”

During the gay pride celebrations, boys were encouraged to wear dresses during Gay Pride Month and a male teacher taught in high heels. However, Jacobs’ son was pulled out of class for wearing Uggs that officials deemed slippers, although the youth had worn Uggs the previous year without incident.

“So my son gets disciplined for wearing Uggs (which are said to not adhere to the dress code), but boys are encouraged to wear dresses and male teachers can teach in stilettoes! Really?” Jacobs said. “I called Assistant Principal (James) DeWitt to ask if that was true. He verified it and told me that ‘boys dressing as girls and a male teacher wearing high heels is perfectly acceptable and not in violation of the dress code.’”

And DeWitt also told Jacobs, “This teacher has worn high heels on multiple occasions and that if the teacher is comfortable wearing them, then the school supports him.”

“My son told me that the same teacher who wears high heels would wave the gay pride flag and march it through the cafeteria at lunch and that this was completely accepted and encouraged,” said Jacobs. “How are these not clear-cut examples of indoctrination and the promotion of a specific social agenda?”

“The final straw was the fact that students were encouraged to wear ‘gay pride’ flags for Gay Pride Week. My son’s friends were wearing American flags, and he wanted to wear a Blue Lives Matter flag. I saw nothing wrong with that since if students are allowed to wear Gay Pride flags, others should be allowed to wear an American flag, right?

“However, a gay student opposed the American flags being worn, so Mrs. Heather Selgrath, the 8th-grade counselor, told students who were wearing American flags and Blue Lives Matter flags (my son) that they had to take them off and put them away in their lockers,” said Jacobs.

“It’s selective enforcement of the dress code,” Jacobs said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Also, Jacobs said his 12-year-old niece had to do a book report this semester, but her only option was to do one on a Black or transgendered person.

“Why?” he asked.

“My brother is flipping out,” Jacobs said. “They had his daughter wearing all this make-up and posing with another girl because that’s what they’re encouraging.”

Both Jacobs and his brother are sending their children to Catholic schools in the fall.

“Students were encouraged to take pictures with same-sex students in front of the gay pride flag at school,” he said.  There were also pictures on the wall for students to pose with. “When the LBTGQ display by the pride flag is examined closely, pictures of various individuals on the school wall can be seen,” he said.

“Googling two of their names gave extremely disturbing results,” he said. One was Frida Kahlo, “who was a Communist artist ‘regarded as an icon for Chicanos, the feminism movement, and the LGBTQ+ movement,’” he said. “And another was Bianca Del Rio, who is a drag queen comedian, ‘whose YouTube videos contain off-color raunchy, comedy routines and discuss heroin usage and men’s penises.’ One has to question the academic value of displaying these pictures in a middle school for 11 to 13-year-old children.”

“These activities and displays are unquestionable distractions and liabilities to academic learning, which should be the primary purpose of our public schools,” Jacobs continued. “Promotion of political and social agendas should be verboten. Unfortunately, freedom of speech doesn’t exist anymore in public schools such as in the WCASD…there is only freedom of ‘woke’ speech and selective enforcement of dress codes. Taxpayers should not be required to fund this nonsense.”

“This is unbelievable, crazy stuff,” Jacobs said about the school’s emphasis on LGBTQ issues. “It’s not enough to be gay. You have to be flamboyantly gay.”

Elana Fishbein, a Lower Merion resident and founder of No Left Turn in Education said, “Our schools have been completely derailed by woke people who call themselves ‘educators.’ These woke mobsters hijacked the schools and are suffocating and sexualizing our children with their perverted ideology. For them, furthering an ideology is their mission, not imparting knowledge and skill building. And while religion was chased out of school halls long ago, this ideology has become, ironically, not only a new religion but a cult. Today, they are the true schoolyard bullies.”

A spokeswoman for WASD did not respond to a request for comment.

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New Website For Parents to See Ratings, Excerpts From Explicit School Library Books

Parents around the country are concerned about explicitly sexual books in their children’s schools.

A website developed by a Utah mother lists a number of those books with excerpts and also rates the content of books from 0 to 5, with 5 being the most explicit. A teacher living in the West Chester Area School District, who is also concerned about the books children are being exposed to in their school libraries, identified books and began an offshoot website for WCASD books.

“For the past several months, I have been part of a team that has been doing a deep dive into the obscene books in the West Chester school district’s libraries,” said the teacher, who asked that their name not be used out of fear of potential retribution. “This has culminated with the creation of a website that contains all of the obscene titles, along with excerpts from the books. This will serve as a one-stop resource for parents, residents, political leaders, and anyone else with an interest in protecting our children.”

The books that many parents find objectionable are not just books related to LGBTQ topics, but also graphic discussions of heterosexual sex.

Image from “Gender Queer”

“There’s a lot of straight content that’s just as explicit,” the teacher said. “Or violent. Or includes drugs. It’s all explicit. It’s got obscenity in it.”

“The sole purpose (of these books) is to corrupt,” the teacher said. “They are downright sexual and have cartoons. They’re pushing an agenda.”

“We tried to have ‘Gender Queer’ removed” and were not successful, the teacher said.  However, the West Chester Area School Board “decided to keep that book.”

A spokeswoman for the district did not respond to a request for comment.

Website creator Brooke Stephens, a mother of four living near Salt Lake City, said she discovered the problematic books when she was given a copy of  “All Boys Aren’t Blue.” It is a memoir by George M. Johnson about his experiences growing up LGBTQ and his first experiences with sex.

Stephens decided to take action. She has spent hours reading the books and creating her website.

Ironically, she and her family moved to Utah from California because they wanted to live in a more conservative area, but she found the public schools have the same books on their shelves.

“There’s a problem with very sexualized content,” she said. When she asked the Davis School Board to remove the book, it refused. Thatwas when she decided to create the website.

Stephens blames the American Library Association for the graphic books turning up in school libraries nationwide. It cites the First Amendment to promote these books with school district librarians, but fails to take into account whether they are age-appropriate, Stephens said.

The Library Association did not respond to a request for comment.

Stephens sometimes shows people the content so they believe her and they tell her, “’I wish you’d never shown me this. It is so graphic.’ You can’t unsee it,” she said.

There is “truly obscenity, truly vulgarity that is harmful to minors,” she said.

Stephens is working to review school library books with other parents in Utah Parents United and No Left Turn In Education, which was begun by Lower Merion parent Elana Fishbein.

Stephens said while she wants educational content to be inclusive, she does not think it needs to be so graphic. For example, the books in category 5 include discussions of bestiality and necrophilia.

“Who doesn’t want to be inclusive?” Stephens asked.

She urges parents to be aware of what their children are reading.

“There are probably thousands of parents out there that have no idea that these books are in the school libraries,” the local teacher said. “And unless they come to the school board meetings, or have social media contact with people who do know, they’re not going to find out. So this was an easy way to provide a one-stop resource.”

Parents should take a look at the website and see the books their children could be reading that are in the school libraries, the teacher said.

“If you don’t like what you see, you need to start speaking up or you need to make sure your kids don’t read them,” the teacher added.


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Chester County Judge Orders Five West Chester School Board Members Removed

In a stunning move, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge William Mahon ordered the removal of all five Democrats on the West Chester Area School Board on Tuesday in a dispute over the district’s mandatory mask policy.

Mahon wrote his decision was a “procedural result” of the school district attorneys’ failure to comply with a March 15 court order instructing them to respond to a removal petition filed by upset mother Beth Ann Rosica, who has children attending school in the district.

Because of that, West Chester Area Board President Sue Tiernan and board members Joyce Chester, Karen Herman, Kate Shaw, and Daryl Durnell — all supporters of increasingly unpopular mask mandates — are now out of jobs. Meanwhile, the district’s legal team is looking to address the procedural gaffe on the back end.

It is unclear whether Mahon will entertain their arguments as to why the district did not follow the deadline order. The parties now have seven days to provide to the judge a list of names of five replacements, according to the order.

However, school district attorneys filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing the deadline for a response was actually April 4, WHYY reported. The motion asks the court to vacate the order and reinstate the board members while allowing district attorneys until April 4 to file a written response to the petition.

The judge’s initial ruling is a stunning move considering that Rosica, who has no formal legal training, faced long odds of getting the board members removed under the Pennsylvania Public School Code for favoring masking policies amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

She and another mother, Shannon Grady, mobilized parents in other districts to take similar action against school leaders. They said in their petitions mask policies caused students “permanent and irreparable harm” by “fabricating, feigning or intentionally exaggerating or including a medical symptom or disease which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment.”

“I was kinda crying and happy and laughing,” said Grady, who is awaiting the outcome of a petition calling for the removal of Downingtown board President LeeAnn Wisdom, Vice President Caryn Ghrayeb, and board members Jane Bertone, Joyce Houghton and Audrey Blust. “I’ve never been in court before, and that’s why it’s so funny. So many parents reached out to attorneys, and none of them took this route. It just shows what perseverance can do. There are ways for the people to have justice. This could change the landscape.”

Rosica called the decision a “pleasant surprise.”

“It’s very gratifying to have the judge rule in our favor,” she said. “It’s been a long two years of feeling like we’re not heard by our school board. This was a way to hold them accountable for the decisions that they’ve made.”

The judge scheduled a hearing for 9:30 a.m. Friday to hear the reconsideration motion. Rosica said she is prepared to move forward with presenting her case if the judge decides to give the district another chance.

“We feel we have a valid legal argument,” she said. A provision in the code allows residents to push for removal of board members who “refuse or neglect to perform any duties.”

The mothers were emboldened by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in December that said Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration had no legal authority to require masks in schools and child care centers. West Chester continued to impose the mandate even after the ruling declaring the state’s policy unconstitutional.

The justices did not touch upon whether districts could enact such policies. Instead, they focused on the Department of Health’s limited scope of authority to protect public health so long as it did not “act by whim or fiat in all matters concerning disease.”

In a message to parents Tuesday night, West Chester Superintendent Bob Sokolowski said attorneys for the district were “in the process of preparing a substantive response” to the mothers’ claims in the petition.

He did not say why the district’s legal team didn’t meet the initial deadline to file a response to the removal petition.

“While we do not have all of the answers at this time, please be assured that the West Chester Area School District and I remain deeply committed to the mission of educating and inspiring the best in our students,” Sokolowsi said. “As many of you who have emailed or spoken with me over this past year know, I strive to connect with each and every member of our community to answer questions and address concerns in a timely manner.”

Mahon’s decision comes after a federal court judge in another case in the Perkiomen Valley School District in Montgomery County issued an injunction keeping the district’s masking policy in effect after school leaders relaxed it to optional in January.

Parents complained the school’s decision violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because immunocompromised children were more susceptible to contracting and dying from the respiratory disease that has claimed millions worldwide.

The judge in that case, Wendy Beetlestone, wrote that district leaders faced “excruciating choices” trying to keep students and staff safe from the virus while ensuring everyone has equal learning access. However, by March 14, Beetlestone had reversed her decision and ruled that Perkiomen Valley students and staff no longer had to wear masks.

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