I attended and also spoke at the April 26 Carmel school board meeting regarding the diversity, equity and inclusion program being promoted by CCS. It is interesting that some 150 parents, with only one day’s notice to attend the meeting, showed up. The school board itself seemed surprised that so many parents would come, which signals to me that they might be just a bit out of touch with their constituents, who were apparently also so misinformed as to the content of the proposed DEI curriculum. I found it comforting to hear from CCS DEI Officer Terri Roberts-Leonard that “…she believes most of the concerns presented at the meeting were based on misinformation.”
Whew! I’m so glad Carmel is different, because I have yet to find a DEI curriculum online or anywhere else that does not promote the very things Carmel parents expressed that they are concerned about.
Not one parent refuted the value of diversity, fairness or even inclusion in general. What 8 out of 10 parents said is that parents are the primary sources of those values and that it is not up to the schools to formulate or indoctrinate those values. Certainly, schools have a responsibility to practically execute diversity, equity and inclusion. No one should be made by school officials to feel less than anyone else due to their race, gender or identity, but that is really as far as the school’s responsibility goes. The school has no charter to force students to like each other or get along in any way other than to behave peacefully and generally courteously while involved with the school.
“The good thing about this evening was that most of what people were upset about is not true, so once we can get the truth out there, maybe some of that rage will subside,” Roberts-Leonard said.
I did not see rage — an interesting word choice — but I did see three or four parents who were upset. One woman detailed how her daughter was targeted by thousands of haters for not wanting to go into a bathroom with a transgender boy. Her daughter now gets hate mail from around the country, yet no one is protesting, raising flags or organizing to protect her rights. Diversity apparently does not include this girl. Equal treatment is not coming from the people calling for their own equal treatment, and she is not included in that community as a valued member. Doesn’t she have the equal right to be different? Vilification of one group by another group trying to protect itself from the same kind of treatment is simply vengeance.
What we don’t want to see with DEI is the onward march of this social vengeance, which comes from angry people with no other goal than to tear down others in order to make themselves feel better. That is a no-win game for everyone.
I look forward to seeing the curriculum proposed by CCS to be confident that our DEI will be different and better than all the other programs I’ve so far been able to look into. I have to say that I am skeptical, but I will try to keep an open mind.
Matt Rowe, Carmel