Rantz: Seattle school teaches rioters are ‘freedom fighters,’ pushes bail-fund donations
A Seattle public school taught students as young as 11-years-old to refer to a riot as an “uprising” and rioters as “freedom fighters.”
Students were even encouraged to donate to bail-funds that have recently been tied to helping release an accused child rapist. But, the teacher responsible for the lessons says there’s no problem with the ask.
Similar lessons are planned for this school year, including advice telling students to intervene when police question Black suspects and that only white people can be racist. The teacher isn’t hiding her political beliefs. And she’s using public funding to forward a very specific agenda.
Pro-riot propaganda at a Seattle Public School
Near the end of the last semester, a middle school teacher at Catharine Blaine K-8 School in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood forwarded pro-riot propaganda to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.
Just days after weekend riots in Seattle on May 30 and 31, Rachel Shine offered a PowerPoint presentation titled, “Current Topics: Racism.” It instructed students on how to talk about the riots engulfing Seattle and the country.
Complaining of the media coverage surrounding the riots, the presentation bemoans the use of images showing violence and destruction. A slide argues the imagery “reinforces the ‘thug’ stereotype that supports white supremacy.” To that end, students received words they should and shouldn’t use.
A slide instructs students to “watch your words” when describing the riots. The source of the slide comes from Shift, a racial equity and gender equity consulting group.
Specifically, students should stop using the term “riots” when talking about the violent unrest. Instead, they should be referred to as an “uprising.” The rioters? In the context of the material, you shouldn’t say “thugs” (presumably that’s the word they think is being used to describe rioters). Instead, you should call the rioters “freedom fighters.”
Students taught everything is racist
The presentation explains that every institution is racist.
Using a quote from the so-called “Conscious Kid” on Instagram, students are told racism is “structural and embedded into all aspects of society.” The Instagram user blames “white supremacy” and “white culture” when posts are taken down for violating terms of service.
The presentation doubles down on claims of systemic racism, arguing “things in America have always been set up this way.” In order to combat the racism, the presentation asks students to listen to Black activists. But don’t “labor” them with questions or pushback. And, of course, you should follow #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter.
Action items push bail-fund donations, fringe politicians
Students received a laundry list of action items “to make change” on racial injustice.
For starters, students can “join a protest or walk out,” though probably only if the protest is in line with the school’s progressive ideology. But if you’d like to help out criminal protesters without attending an uprising of freedom fighters, the presentation asks you to donate to Black Lives Matter, the ACLU, and various bail funds to “help protesters get out of jail quickly.”
The Minnesota Bail Fund is included on a list recommended by the school. That bail fund has come under fire after money raised was used to bail out suspects accused of attempted murder, rape, and looting a liquor store.
I asked Shine if she sees anything wrong with asking young students to donate to these causes, especially in light of the news that the fund was used to release suspects unconnected to protests.
“I do not, because the justice system in this country has always been disproportionately harder on Black and Brown people,” she explained.
Students received social media accounts to follow. The list includes police abolitionist and fringe socialist politician Nikkita Oliver, Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Anti-Racist, and the Black Lives Matter account.
The presentation recommends Al Jazeera, AP, VOX and B-tch Media as reliable sources.
Shine did not confirm whether or not the presentations, found on the school district’s SharePoint account (here and here), were updated when she presented to her students. The links on the school’s website no longer work. The principal did not respond to requests for comment.
More activist training is coming
Shine tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that after this presentation, they “followed up with a second one-hour training last spring, and are continuing the work this year.”
The forthcoming lessons indicate the school will be more active in encouraging students to become social justice activists.
For example, Shine says 7th graders will be given “This Book is Antiracist,” by Tiffany Jewel. The book acknowledges it is “building a new lens to see yourself and the world around you.” It even tells students, “You can resist now. You can disrupt now,” and “Comfort will not end racism.”
At one point, the book even suggests students have a plan ready to possibly intervene when they witness police interact with Black people.
“You don’t want these two young Black men to become new hashtags and statistics,” she warns.
Jewel adds her action plan and it includes:
- “Stay in the car and shout out to the two being held by police, ‘I see this.'”
- “Stop other people walking by and ask them to stand witness too. (There is strength and power in numbers).”
Jewel acknowledges there’s risk here:
Some of your choices will require you to take risks. Some may not. Understanding your privilege and the power you have — or do not have — is important. It will determine how you approach everything. This situation with the police is one where, especially if you are white and cisgender, you can use your privilege to speak up.
I asked the teacher, Shine, how she ensures students who disagree with her position on the activist movement (or anything political) are comfortable speaking up.
“I intentionally create a culture in my classroom where students are able to voice dissent,” she explained.
But this book doesn’t utilize that mantra, often explaining pushback to the advice and positions in the chapter are fact.
Being racist against white people is not a thing … REVERSE RACISM IS NOT REAL. People will bring it up from time to time and you can remind them that personal prejudice is indeed real. However, institutions continue to misuse power to maintain a racist foundation against Black, Brown, and Indigenous folx. Therefore, the only people who benefit from that are white people. Contrary to the dictionary definition, racism is more than just the ‘personal prejudice’ part of the equation.
They’re not hiding their politics
The school’s lesson plans don’t hide the political agenda. It doesn’t even attempt presenting another viewpoint, particularly on how to separate violent riots and peaceful protests. Indeed, the presentation implies the violence is justified. This is, of course, a dangerous position to give to young and impressionable students.
A teacher’s role shouldn’t be to create activists. It’s not just an abuse of their position, but it shows how little confidence they have that an objective view of current events will lead these students to their side. And this isn’t happening in a bubble. Schools across the region — and country — are forwarding a very specific political agenda and world view.
Teachers may justify their actions by claiming they’re simply teaching kids how not to be racist. So if you call it out, you must be a racist, right? But it’s a dishonest position and in conflict with what they’re actually doing.
These teachers are playing the long game. They’re positioning current events with an objective: create social justice activists. When these students get old enough to vote, they’ll have an opportunity to put in powerful politicians to advance the teacher’s political views. They’re investing in the propagandizing of these students. Parents need to intervene.
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