LYME-OLD LYME — Claims by Rev. Steve Jungkeit in a number of recent press stories have sparked complaints from local parents, and sharp denials by school Superintendent Ian Neviaser.
In a profile, Jungkeit told The Day that he was collaborating with the district on an “educational initiative” to “teach the history of racism and slavery in the area.” Weeks earlier in a news story published by the Middletown Press, he made similar claims.
In response to a query, Neviaser replied, “No. It is not correct. We have no association with Mr. Jungkeit.”
One member of the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education reached out to CT Examiner to say that the board had received about a half dozen emails, all in opposition to the collaboration.
Neviaser said in an email to a number of local officials and parents that there is no connection between the schools and Jungkeit.
“Mr. Jungkeit has no role in the school system except for his role as a parent, nor are we collaborating with him or any member of his organization in any way on curricular decisions,” wrote Neviaser.
Neviaser also said that the school’s curriculum on civics and history remains grounded in “the fundamentals of our democracy and the role of the American citizen.”
“As a school system we do not support or teach one ideology over another, nor do we intend to. Our purpose is to provide students with information about different viewpoints and allow them to make their own decisions in regard to their personal political philosophy. We also recognize the separation of church and state and have no affiliation with any religious organizations or promote any religious viewpoints,” explained Neviaser.
Jungkeit, who holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University, and a B.A. from Messiah College, did not respond to requests for comment.