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  • Writer's pictureAletheia

Waunakee's Racism for 1st-Graders

And the stories from Waunakee just keep coming...


After providing insight into some of Waunakee Community School District's (WCSD's) ideologically based partnerships, which focus, almost exclusively, on race, gender, and division, we couldn’t help but wonder: How does the influence of these partnerships manifest in the district's classrooms?

We didn’t have to wonder long. Our inbox quickly filled up with messages from concerned Waunakee parents,* all expressing a common theme: WCSD is undergoing disturbing transformational change. These parents are disheartened that neither school administration nor elected officials are listening to valid concerns from the community about incremental but steadily more radical—reforms.

Those who contacted us provided many powerful examples of how ideological frameworks are being leveraged within their children’s WCSD classrooms. However, one stood out from the rest and merited a post of its own. This blog tends to provide factual information, often with a twinge of humor. However the video discussed in this post struck such a nerve that it was difficult to find a way to chuckle even wryly.

The "Problem" of 1st-Grade Racism

Anyone reading this post was, at one time, in first grade. Many readers might now have children that age—6 or 7 years old. Most will at least know children in this age group.

Such children are amongst the most innocent in our schools. They bubble over with excitement on Christmas Eve before Santa comes and magically puts gifts under the tree. They put the tooth they just lost under their pillow and run their little hands under, as soon as they wake up, in anticipation of confirming the Tooth Fairy’s visit. They are full of wonder, curiosity—blissfully unaware of most of the world’s atrocities. It’s a truly beautiful and short-lived period of time in the course of life—a time to be cherished and enjoyed to the fullest.

In life, facts and truths exist. Two plus two equals four. Zebras have stripes. There are only two genders. Facts and truths remain facts and truths, whether we like them or not. One undeniable truth is that racism is taught; it is not an inherent mindset that naturally propagates itself in people, let alone in children. Bearing that reality in mind, we submit for your consideration this 2-minute video shared in WCSD’s 1st-grade classrooms.

Take a second to let the video’s content sink in. We didn’t fully comprehend its magnitude at first glance either.

Via this video, WCSD has stolen the natural innocence of young and impressionable children.

The concept of racism is a real one, and discussion of it has a place in academia. However, that place is not in the 1st grade. The topic is heavy and complex; proper consideration of—and dialogue about—this topic requires a more developed comprehension of the world and society.

Prior to being forced to watch this video, WCSD 1st-graders almost certainly never thought about excluding or marginalizing someone based on superficial physical characteristics. That lack of concern is a beautiful thing. But then—*snap*—just like that, in two minutes, 6- and 7-year-old children in the Waunakee school district went from living in a world were they naturally viewed people based on the content of their character to having the divisive ability to judge people based on the color of their skin.

Innocence lost is never regained, and it is not the place of WCSD, or any school district, to rob children of this priceless gift.

That WCSD permitted this video to be force-fed to a vulnerable, captive audience is appalling. WCSD should be ashamed of its role in destroying the innocence and undermining the natural inclusiveness of a captive audience of vulnerable 6- and 7-year-olds.

The way this classroom “lesson” strives to remake children’s minds is criminal. That this video was permitted to be force-fed to such a vulnerable, captive audience is appalling.

Unsure whether your 1st-grader was exposed to this video? We regret to inform you that he or she has been. Below, you can download counselor update flyers from all three WCSD elementary schools, announcing that the video would be shown this past April, in conjunction with other related material aimed at all Kindergarten through 4th-grade students, because, as the flyers put it, "[i]n today's diverse classrooms, students need knowledge and skills in prejudice reduction and collective action."

Heritage Counselor Update April 2022 (1)
Download PDF • 542KB

Arboretum Counselor Update 2022
Download PDF • 391KB

Prairie Counselor Update April 2022
Download PDF • 604KB

As you'll see in the flyers, it wasn't just diversity programming the counselors announced. They also introduced identity-related materials, to help these small children "explore what makes them unique individuals." The fact that each young grade-level is provided with different "age-appropriate" materials is indicative of what's called "scaffolding"; the lessons presented in one grade level lay groundwork for the lessons presented to the next. It's an intentional cumulative effect they're aiming at. Your children are being remade.

Oh, and by the way, the identity-related book aimed at 2nd-graders? Red: A Crayon's Story, one of the books recommended by Origins Developmental Design, a key Waunakee DEI/CRT partnership I wrote about in my previous post.

Clearly WCSD counselors collaborated on this effort. Did they plow forward with this initiative on their own, or did have to have to get approval for something this insidious? These questions deserve real answers.

The Problem of Opting Out

Several vigilant parents found out about this ugly video prior to having their children subjected to its destructive content. They made an attempt to opt their children out. While WCSD ultimately did allow permit the opt-out, they did not make the process easy.

The shift to ideologically based lessons has made opting out an increasingly common desire among district parents. However, WCSD’s general response to parents wishing to have a say in their children’s education has more often than not been, paraphrasing: “Too bad these children belong to the state, and you have no options.” As Curriculum Director Tim Schellexplained during the recent June 6th WCSD Curriculum Committee meeting, all the district has to do is make sure controversial, inappropriate, and harmful content is labeled to fall within a category out of which the State of Wisconsin says parents cannot opt their children. In other words, WCSD administrative types are advising on ways to ensure your children can be indoctrinated whether you approve or not—whether you’re aware or not. You can here such advice coming straight from the horse’s mouth, starting around minute 18 and lasting through about minute 37 of this video-recorded Curriculum Committee meeting:

Schell’s approach is devious. Frankly, he seems to be a common denominator in a lot of troubling WCSD issues. While that fact may be just a coincidence, it may also be something of which Waunakee parents should take note.

Again, this video is simply one example of many received, all of which together must be assumed to represent a fraction of the totality of what is actually being taught.

What haven’t parents yet uncovered or stumbled upon?

How extensive are the problems at WCSD?

What does the complete picture look like?

Based on what we’ve seen so far, we doubt it’s good. In fact, based on interactions with now dozens of Waunakee parents, it’s our assessment that the vast majority of Waunakee parents are completely unaware of exactly what is going on in the classrooms. And where parents are unaware, a lot of bad can—and already appears to be—happening.

The public education system is the vessel by which the vast majority of America’s youth traverse the sea of childhood on their preparedness journey to adulthood. The hull of that vessel should be comprised of solid, foundational, factually accurate, and comprehensive academics. This educational journey is supplemental to the irrefutable rights of parents to instill in their children the morals, principles, and intrinsic human values that they deem appropriate.

However, the crew aboard this vessel—under the guise of “Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction,” for example—are drilling holes in the bottom of the ship. Through these holes, the toxic waters of inherent division, racial and gender ideologies, and oppressor/oppressed mentalities have been pouring in for some time, mostly unnoticed by the majority of parents.

The Problem of Going Along to Get Along

We conclude this post with a question to WCSD parents—or those whose children attend other school districts in our county, as the issues we’re raising are not isolated to Waunakee:

At the sacrifice of your child’s safety and wellbeing, how much water are you wiling to let WCSD take on board? How bad does it have to get before you get involved?

We are supposed to be one Nation, under God, indivisible. Most of us believe in and strive for liberty and justice for all. We cannot—and will not—attain this excellent vision if we continue to turn a blind eye, if we refuse to acknowledge the slow, steady, and methodical degradation of our public schools.

Individual actions are seeds that grow into motivated groups of like-minded parents—groups that drive change. Take the time to ask parents you know if they’ve seen any of the Dane Undivided posts about the Waunakee School District. If they have, seek their thoughts. If they haven’t, send them a link and ask them what they think.

Share your feelings with the school board in an email.

Please—attend a school board meeting. Board members are making decisions about your children in your name…and right now they mostly have a blank check, because parents and taxpayers aren’t showing up to say no.

We can assure you this: Doing nothing will only allow these issues to get worse. The worse things get, the more challenging they will be to fix. Our children’s futures are completely dependent on the actions we choose to take today.

* We cannot overstate our appreciation to the engaged parents that have reached out to us in the past few months, regarding a host of challenges they are experiencing within WCDS. It is your courage and determination, your willingness to say, “Not on our watch,” that will ultimately protect not just your own children but many, many others besides. Thank you for insisting on something better for the children of Waunakee. Thank you for loving your neighbor as yourself. We salute you.

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