Schools Resent FOI Because They Have So Much To Hide

Chris Powell


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Connecticut state legislators who have introduced legislation to prevent disclosure of discussions teachers have with students about “sensitive subjects” are upset that schools are facing many more freedom-of-information requests.

Responding to these requests, the legislators say, can incur great expense in school staff time.

One of those legislators, Rep. Jennifer Leeper, D-Fairfield, complains, “There is a national movement that has led a lot of people to believe that our teachers are influencing kids in dangerous and insidious ways, which has had real-world impact even here in Connecticut.”

Does Leeper really think that suspicion about what schools are doing is without foundation? For Connecticut itself is full of cause for suspicion.

Schools treating students for gender dysphoria conceal this from their parents if the students don’t want their parents to know, even as state law forbids minors from getting tattooed without parental permission.

Some school systems refuse even the most legitimate freedom-of-information requests, as in Enfield, whose school superintendent refuses to disclose how the internationally infamous “pizza sex” assignment got into a middle school class a year ago and where it came from.

Connecticut schools long have refused to disclose teacher evaluations, and under the pernicious influence of the teacher unions, the General Assembly has enacted and maintains a law exempting such evaluations from disclosure, alone of all government personnel evaluations in the state.

School systems in Connecticut sometimes have been almost as corrupt as the Catholic Church in handling teachers caught molesting students, allowing them to resign quietly and take their teaching licenses with them to positions with other school systems.

Last year Project Veritas video-recorded an assistant principal in Greenwich admitting he refused to hire Catholics and political conservatives as teachers, the better to propagandize students with liberal politics — a secret school policy on personnel.

Also last year parents exposed a teacher at Southington High School who had distributed to students a packet titled “Vocabulary for Conversations about Race, Gender, Equality, and Inclusivity” that emphasized transgenderism and racism, topics that had no relation to material being taught in the teacher’s English classes. Asserting that students might be contributing to oppression of minorities without even knowing it, the packet was political propaganda and indoctrination. When it was exposed, Southington’s school superintendent begrudgingly admitted that distributing the packet had been improper.

Of course whenever anyone questions the age-appropriateness of a book in a school library, there are shrieks of “censorship,” as if a librarian’s judgment is always right even as the library itself already has “censored” millions of books by not including them.

Representative Leeper also complains that Fairfield’s school system has gotten FOI requests about teachers and schools unrelated to the requester’s own children.

But this complaint is doubly dishonest, first because everyone in Connecticut pays taxes that support all public schools in the state, and second because everyone has an interest in exposing mistakes or misconduct in education anywhere.

Leeper notes that there may be “bad faith” FOI requests. Some may even be meant as harassment. But these can be declined, and the state Freedom of Information Commission isn’t likely to advance them.

No, the real problem behind the explosion in FOI requests to schools in Connecticut is public education’s own lack of transparency and accountability and its political bias.

The propaganda and indoctrination that increasingly pop up in public education are always of the leftist kind, which is not surprising, since the national teacher unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, are aggressively left-wing political organizations. Who believes that all these union members leave their politics at the classroom door?

The assistant principal in Greenwich explained it well to Project Veritas last year. He was asked: “So it’s like you present everything in a way that’s subconsciously influencing the kids to vote liberal but not doing it in such an explicit way where the parents can actually get mad at you for it?”

He replied: “Right.”

Six months have passed since then. The investigations of the assistant principal that supposedly were undertaken by the Greenwich school system and state Attorney General William Tong still haven’t reported. Presumably the scandal is expected to fade away.