Every Wyoming parent and citizen concerned about children’s education should read this.
On Monday, the 10th of May, Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming entered our first legal action on behalf of families in Wyoming. Laramie County School District #1 (LCSD1) was set to administer a “Student Climate Survey” designed by the Metropolitan State University-Denver’s Western Educational Equity Assistance Center (WEEAC).
Thankfully, the same day the lawsuit was filed, the survey was postponed. An extraordinary number of you emailed school board members to thoughtfully express your concerns and ask them to not administer the survey. They listened to you; you have been heard. We want to thank the Board of Trustees for any influence they had over the postponement.
Let’s look into the events that led to this last-minute action.
Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming had been engaged with the issue from the very beginning. In late 2019, at a community meeting with LCSD1 staff about how to address issue of bullying and harassment in school, we objected to the district’s adoption of WEEAC’s programs that promote extreme ideology far beyond what was appropriate to address one incident by one student at McCormick Junior High.
As we mentioned last week, WEEAC provides teaching resources from:
- The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that has placed two highly respected organizations on its “hate list” and places them in the same category as Nazi skinheads and extremist groups.
- The Anti-Defamation League which has, over the last several years, promoted legislation that would target people of faith who hold to a scientific and biblical understanding of human sexuality.
- A list of 24 “anti-racist” books, including authors Ibrim X. Kendi and Robin Diangelo, which promote Critical Race Theory, a theory derived from Marxism. Kendi calls Capitalism and racism “cojoined twins” and attacks capitalism as racist. Diangelo asserts “only whites can be racist,” and “white identity depends on the oppression of blacks.”
- A resource list (under the heading of “LGBTQ+”) that recommends controversial gender ideology concepts like “intersectionality” and promotes LGBTQ+ activist groups.
Missing from the WEEAC resource list is any group that would provide a balanced worldview. For a number of years, LCSD#1 has used a peer-reviewed program from the Olweus Institute that has shown a steady and dramatic drop in bullying incidents over the past decade. Ignoring the Olweus program and survey, and touting the WEEAC survey, is more about promoting a political agenda than addressing the issue at hand.
Over the past year and a half, the district hired a “Diversity Coordinator” and advanced radically divisive ideas that would flabbergast the majority of residents in Cheyenne.
As parents saw the direction the new “equity and diversity” conversation was going, many turned to Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming to ask what could be done.
We submitted a Wyoming Public Records Act request asking to:
- See the Survey
- Look at correspondence leading to the selection of the WEEAC survey
- View the success of the Olweus anti-bullying survey already in use
- See the cost of the new diversity efforts
- View diversity training materials already given to teachers
In response to the first part of the request, LCSD1 told Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming that the “student climate survey” from WEEAC was proprietary and parents wouldn’t be able to see the questions before it would be administered. LCSD1 was largely unresponsive to the other four parts of our Public Records request, too.
The School Board had been assured that the parents would receive correspondence that would describe the survey and then they would have a chance to opt-out if they were concerned with the nature of the questions.
However, parental notification was a text message that said little and provided a link that would take a parent through a convoluted process to finally opt-out of the survey. The link was only available briefly, and the chance to opt-out ended a couple of weeks before the survey was to be administered. This process was not adequate for hard-working parents to make informed decisions about what their children are taught.
Late Thursday evening, we learned that when the survey was administered in Albany County, that school district provided an opportunity for parents to view the survey beforehand. So why couldn’t they provide it to Laramie County parents? Furthermore, it’s simply implausible to claim that a proprietary survey must be kept from the parents when the questions will be given to every student from 5th grade and up! At Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming, we believe that nothing taught to students should be withheld from parents.
After learning this, we engaged a lawyer to stop the survey at least until parents could look at the questions. This was a last resort after LCSD1 ignored months of polite requests, and our official and mandatory request for public records was treated capriciously. While the survey has been postponed for the moment, we believe it is largely because of the pressure of many concerned citizens and the intervention of certain conscientious members of the school board. We recognize that the underlying concern with LCSD1’s lack of transparency will remain as we seek to learn where and how deeply radical ideology has moved into Cheyenne Schools.
Please share information you may have related to these concerns with us when you have it. Know that Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming will be standing with you. Most importantly, continue to pray and stand for truth.