Over the last year, teachers and staff at a North Texas school have been going against the district and teaching racist propaganda, creating division among students, parents, and staff.
Under the supervision of teachers, students are leading the charge in this growing division Keller ISD’s Timber Creek High School has been experiencing since the previous school year.
The 2020-2021 School Year
In February 2020, a student-created video that was circulating around social media was shown during video announcements at Timber Creek High School. The video was about equity and being “anti-racist.”
Parents were originally told that this was done without administrative approval, but open record requests from Keller parents show that this video was designed by students to be used during Black History Month, with approval from administration.
District administrators never seemed to give parents a clear answer on who approved the video. After filing multiple open records request, parents learned the administration was fully aware of the video’s contents.
“Once we received the open records request, we realized that administration knew about the video,” said one of the parents, who wished to stay anonymous. “It was frustrating that we could not get a clear answer without going through the open records process.”
Greg Janda, a journalism and student media teacher at Timber Creek, explained in an email:
As part of our Black History month discussion last month, I shared the following document with the students that had volunteered to be on the projects, this document was provided by the district and gave some guidance and provided links to resources on racial education. These resources were shared to Public Relations folks at each school and all came from Keller ISD’s Social Emotional Learning and new Culture of Belonging groups.
The term “anti-racist” has been described by psychologist Kendra Cherry as “a process of actively identifying and opposing racism. The goal of anti-racism is to challenge racism and actively change the policies, behaviors, and beliefs that perpetuate racist ideas and actions.”
Ultimately, there were no repercussions for the video.
The 2021-2022 School Year
The new school year has brought even more division at Timber Creek.
On August 24, the story broke of a Timber Creek teacher, Dan Grunewald, refusing to remove Black Lives Matter and LGBT+ flags from his classroom. The flags had been up since the fall of 2020. He was suspended for his refusal.
Grunewald told WFAA in Dallas, “There are rules. It was a directive to take the sign down, and by not, I’m going against that directive. But it’s wrong. It’s wrong of my school’s administration, my principal, and my district to side with racism.”
In reaction to the suspension, students planned a “black out” protest on August 27 to show support for “Mr. Grunewald’s decision to put his occupation at risk for equality,” as well as another protest on August 30, which was announced on a website called “TCHS Injust Issues.”
When asked for a statement on the incident, Keller ISD stated:
Keller ISD does not discuss individual personnel matters. District Board Policy EMB Local states that “teachers shall not use the classroom to transmit personal beliefs regarding political or sectarian issues,” and the District has routinely asked employees to remove items posted on classroom walls that are considered expressions of personal beliefs. Keller ISD and Timber Creek High School encourage our teachers to create a classroom culture that respects diversity of our school community through a culture of understanding, and it is our expectation that they do so without visual representations of their own personal beliefs on classroom walls.
In the midst of the social media storm over Grunewald, another issue erupted.
On August 27, 14 parents found out their names were put on a Twitter list labeled “#momswhohate” by someone suspected to be a teacher in Keller.
One of the posts stated, “Creep their FB page and it is sick. These mamas are haters to my girl’s teachers and it’s time to put them out there. If [you’re] their kids then teach to BE BETTER. If you’re a TCHS teacher know your enemies. They wanna be nasty, be nasty back!!”
Parents looking closely at the account determined the name of teacher. The account, @FWandPROUDMama, has since been made private.
“Not sure what the criteria was for the list, so it’s hard to respond when you don’t know the conditions or criteria,” said Pam, a parent who found herself on the list.
The district superintendent, Dr. Rick Westall, emailed the parents, saying “there was an investigation going on and HR would be handling it.”
One parent said, “All this means is they are going to sweep it under the rug.”
Another Keller parent stated, “Standing up for equality of all students does not make us ‘moms who hate.’ Politics and social issues do not belong in the classroom, and students should never know which way their teacher votes.”
“Teacher activism is one of the reasons I chose to continue homeschooling this school year,” said Kris Kittle, a Keller mom and education advocate. “Keller ISD is teaching [critical race theory]. Teachers are politicizing the classroom and doxxing parents who speak out about it. Something needs to change.”
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