During the Feb. 10 zoom conference, some teachers emphasized a need for White teachers to intervene when they saw systemic racism.
“My lovely White people,” says Beaverton school district teacher Stefanie Yelder, “be as bold as those idiot invaders, insurrectionists about storming that Capitol. Go about this change like them. They are wacky, but you know what to do, so have that same energy.”
The video, flagged by Parents Defending Education, also showed teacher Katherine Watkins suggesting that educators would be fired if they didn’t “evolve” with the “anti-racist” trends moving through the school system. At one point, she indicated opponents of anti-racist ideology should be punished like child abusers are in the school system. However, the school district distanced itself from both teachers’ comments.
“If you’re not evolving into an anti-racist educator, you’re making yourself obsolete in this field of profession,” said Watkins.
“Our district is only getting browner and browner with our children and so obviously you can’t change your melanin, alright? But you can change your mind so that you can actually function in a district that is full of BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, People of Color] children,” she added.
“So, if you’re being resistant, I understand that, but you’re going to have to eventually come to the light — because if you’re going to keep with those old views of colonialism, it’s going to lead to being fired because you’re going to be damage to our children, trauma. And so, as we fire the teachers who sexually abuse our children, we will be firing the teachers who do racist things to our children and traumatize them.”
The original video was made private by Thursday but PDE had captured some of the footage for its own video. The content of the program — titled “If Not You, Then Who?” — pressured participants to push the ideology of “anti-racism,” which many have compared to actual racism.
The school district confirmed that the district-wide summit was required for all licensed staff, encouraged for classified staff, and cost approximately $5,500.
In statements provided to Fox News, the Beaverton schools said both teachers didn’t speak for the district.
“Stephanie Yelder was not speaking for the district; she was expressing her own opinions,” said spokesperson Shellie Bailey-Shah. “The district does not condone the use of violence or destruction of property under any circumstances.”
The district also said: “Katherine Watkins does not speak for the Beaverton School District. All disciplinary or dismissal procedures are governed by state statute and our collective bargaining agreements with our unions, Beaverton Education Association (BEA) and Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA).”
They added that beyond “being a teacher in the district and a member of the planning team for this particular summit, she has no official role in the equity efforts of the district.”
When PDE asked about potential bullying of faculty, the school district maintained that it was trying to “become an anti-bias, antiracist school district. We promote an inclusive environment where we reject ‘bullying’ of all kinds.”
February’s incident was just the latest to raise concerns about what’s been portrayed as dogmatic activism spurred by ideas associated with critical race theory.
“The bullying by a teacher in Beaverton public schools against other educators reveals a growing problem in school districts as ‘equity warriors’ lay siege on our schools,” said PDE’s Asra Nomani.
“Teachers and staff who self-describe as ‘equity warriors’ harass colleagues until they submit to the new ideological indoctrination of critical race theory, the controversial philosophy that looks at all societal issues through a racial lens and pits people against each other. It’s dangerous and it’s destructive. Parents Defending Education investigated the case, and it’s appalling the school district simply told us that the teacher doesn’t have the authority to threaten the jobs of other teachers. The teacher’s threat should be publicly renounced by the school district.”